James Walker

Professor of practice


Jim Walker, professor of practice, winds and percussion, graduated with honors from the University of Louisville and went on to play in the United States Military Academy Band at West Point. He subsequently studied with Harold Bennett and eventually won the associate principal flute position with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1969. Eight years later, he became principal flutist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and began working simultaneously in the recording studios for jazz/pop sessions, television and motion pictures and can be heard on over 600 soundtracks. In 2002, he performed with Paul McCartney at the Academy Awards. In 1980, Walker formed Free Flight, a jazz/classical quartet, resulting in four Tonight Show appearances, 16 recordings and annual tours.

He is a member of the SmartMusic Board of Advisors, a Burkart Performing Artist and a master teacher for the New World Symphony. His flute ensembles and quartets are published and sold through Flute World, and he is the writer and creator of the Young Artist Series for Flute (Alfred Music Publishing). Walker founded the annual Beyond the Masterclass in 2007, and his students hold numerous positions in orchestras around the world. In addition to being coordinator of flute at the Thornton School, Walker travels extensively, giving clinics and master classes around the world.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:

  • Founder/Flutist with “Free Flight”, 1980-present
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic- Principal Flute, 1977-1985
  • Session Flutist, Los Angeles Motion Picture/TV Studios, 1985-2010
  • Pittsburgh Symphony, Associate Principal Flute, 1969-1977
  • Louisville Orchestra- Piccolo/Assistant Principal Flute, 1966

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award from National Flute Association, 2008
  • Recipient, Mellon Mentor Teaching Award form USC, 2009
  • Recipient, Most Valuable Player Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1985, 1986
  • Recipient, Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Louisville, 1991

Music Festivals:

  • Master Teacher, New World Symphony (1991-Present)
  • Founder and Faculty Member, Beyond The Masterclass (2008-Present)
  • Faculty Member, ABRAF- Campinas Brazil (2010)
  • Guest Artist, Strings in the Mountains (1995-2006)


  • Music of Mike Mower, 2010
  • A Free Flight Christmas, 2004
  • Suite for Flute & Jazz Trio by C. Bolling, 2003
  • Dancing Hearts, 2003


  • Flute Ensemble Series (Arranged and Published by Jim Walker, 2011)
  • The Music of Free Flight (Alfred Music Publishing, 1997)
  • Young Artist Series: Flute (Alfred Music Publishing, 1995)

Academic degrees

Studied with:

Sarah Baird Fouse, Francis Fuge, James Pellerite, Claude Monteux, Harold Bennett