Walker Williams

 
Faculty of Arts
Berkeley Springs
United States
Killam Doctoral Scholarships
 
I knew I wanted to pursue graduate studies at a university with a strong choral program, and where I could study with a composition teacher who specializes in choral music. Since choral composition is a relatively small sub-field within composition, there were only a handful of universities that offered what I was looking for, and UBC ended up being the best fit for me.
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I have always enjoyed being a part of an academic environment; the ability to work closely with and learn from others in my field, and in other fields, is a large part of why I decided to pursue doctoral studies after finishing my master's degree.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I have always had a particular interest in choral music, and after finishing my bachelor's degree in music composition, I knew I wanted to pursue graduate studies at a university with a strong choral program, and where I could study with a composition teacher who specializes in choral music. Since choral composition is a relatively small sub-field within composition, there were only a handful of universities that offered what I was looking for, and UBC ended up being the best fit for me.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

Choral writing is a specialized skill within the field of composition, and being able to work with Dr. Stephen Chatman in the composition department and Dr. Graeme Langager in the choral department is one of the primary reasons I chose to study at UBC.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Green College is an interdisciplinary graduate residential college on UBC campus which hosts both formal and informal interdisciplinary talks and events. I was mostly unaware of it during my master's work, but almost on a whim, I decided to apply for resident membership when I started my doctoral studies. Since then, being a part of the community at Green College has become one of the most significant components of my academic life.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I real advantage I have as a composer is lived experience performing with a variety of ensembles. Both before and during my bachelor's degree, I performed with choirs, vocal jazz ensembles, concert bands, chamber ensembles, and orchestras; having those experiences from the player's perspective is an invaluable asset when it comes to writing for those ensembles and players.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

When I've got downtime I read just about any fiction I can get my hands on. I've always got a few instruments on hand that I'm teaching myself, with the banjo being the current project. I'm also a huge board game geek with a special place in my heard for deck-builders.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

It's easy to get caught up in your studies and work and not realize the opportunities for experiencing UBC and Vancouver until it's too late. Go to the UBC botanical garden or Nitobe memorial garden, visit the museum of anthropology, see a VSO concert, get out of the city and go hiking, whatever your interests are, make time for them; treat your degree like a marathon, not a sprint, and pace yourself.

 
 
 

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