Sally Walker


Known for impeccable technical skill, musicality and versatility, Australian flute soloist Sally Walker performs on modern flutes and piccolo as well as historical flutes and recorders and has appeared in the London Proms, Salzburg, Lucerne, Tanglewood and Edinburgh Festivals. Grand-finalist in the Leonardo de Lorenzo International Flute Competition (Italy), and prize-winner in the Friedrich Kuhlau International Flute Competition (Germany) she was awarded scholarships from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange for postgraduate study in Germany), Ian Potter Cultural Fund and the Queen’s Trust. Earning a doctorate in music from the University of Sydney, Sally is also Senior Lecturer in Classical Performance (Woodwind) at the Australian National University School of Music

Sally has toured and recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestras, is a former Principal Flute of the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss, was a member of Kölner Kammerorchester and has performed as Guest Principal Flute with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, NDR Radio Philharmonie Hannover, Kammerakademie Potsdam, Manchester Camerata. Within Australia, she is regular Guest Principal with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, also having performed in this role with the Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Increasingly in demand as a concerto soloist, Sally has appeared in this role with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra (on both flute and piccolo), Orchestra Accademia I Filarmonici di Verona, and the Klassische Philharmonie Bonn as well as several Australian orchestras. She recently toured with Omega Ensemble performing Kats-Chernin’s ‘Night and Now’ concerto (in reduced ensemble format) at Sydney Opera House Utzon Room, Newcastle’s inaugural New Annual festival, and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Regular guest artist for Canberra International Music Festival, Sally curated and performed in the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ 150th Anniversary concert, toured with the ACO for ‘The Crowd and I’ and the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra. The 2023 season included Adelaide’s Illuminate Festival with Klassik Underground, Four Winds Festival, Canberra International Music Festival and the Australian Flute Festival; with Salut! Baroque, Bowral Autumn Music Festival and Elder Conservatorium’s Lunchtime Series (with pianist Vivian Choi Milton), concerts with harpist Emily Granger, and the celebrated release of a flute and harp album called ‘Something like this…’ (AVIE records) acclaimed by critics as “intoxicatingly beautiful” (The Australian, 2024).

2024 engagements include a return with Salut! Baroque for concerts in Sydney and Canberra, a critically acclaimed national tour as Regular Guest Principal Flautist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in its Mahler – Song of the Earth with tenor Stuart Skelton and mezzo soprano Cath Carby, Albury Chamber Music Festival and the highly anticipated release of a new album of flute chamber works by Boccherini (AVIE) featuring some of Australia’s most renowned musicians.

Inspired by social justice and outreach initiatives, in addition to her performances, Sally directs 1:1 Concerts in Australia, a concept of performance with one musician and one listener, two metres apart, in a wordless exchange. Created in Germany by flautist Stephanie Winker, set designer Franziska Ritter and cultural mediator Christian Siegmund, it is inspired by the work of performance artist Marina Abramović’s “Listening differently” (2019) and its many accolades include winning Germany’s Health:Angel award in the 2021 Health Media Awards. Responsible for bringing this unique concept to Australia, and its proliferation from Newcastle and Sydney to Canberra, Melbourne and showcased by Adelaide Festival in 2021, Sally continues to spearhead research into and the ongoing development of 1:1 Concerts locally, supporting Freelance Artist Relief Australia during the pandemic. She is also Ambassador of Symphony For Life Foundation, a not-for-profit organization (influenced by El Sistema) providing instruments, and the chance to learn and play music in a group, to disadvantaged children in Western Sydney.

Sally devotes herself to both Early and Contemporary Music, having performed with Early Music ensembles such as Das Neue Orchester Köln, Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum and the Leipziger Kammerorchester and Contemporary Music ensembles such as Halcyon. She is deeply committed to chamber music and has collaborated with colleagues across various art forms and styles, including Tamara Anna-Cislowska, Aiko Goto, David Greco, Steven Isserlis, Afro Moses, Ian Munro, Simon Tedeschi, Dénes Várjon, and the Shanghai string quartet.

She enjoys collaborating with composers and has premiered works by Australian composers: David Banney, Marian Budos, Andrew Chubb, Andrew Ford, Sally Greenaway, Daniel Rojas, Paul Stanhope as well as Coco Nelegatti (Argentina), Afro Moses (Ghana) and Knut Müller (Germany).  She has a long-standing collaborative relationship with composer Elena Kats-Chernin and in 2015, commissioned Kats-Chernin to write her a flute concerto. With assistance from the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, “Night and Now” Flute Concerto was premiered with the Darwin Symphony conducted by Matthew Wood and has been performed a number of times subsequently, including at both the Australian and Swedish Flute Festivals. The appeal of this concerto continues in its new arrangement with string quartet, premiered by Omega Ensemble.

Sally has featured on the ACO’s Beethoven and ARIA award-winning Mountain albums, Heroines with Nicole Car, Mozart’s Last Symphonies, Omega Ensemble’s Unexpected News (2020) with Nico Muhly and Phillip Glass, and ABC Classics’ Women of Note series. She has recorded three albums of flute and piano repertoire with pianist Philip Mayers, was featured on Sally Whitwell’s Aria-nominated CD, “I was Flying”, Cyrus Meurant’s CD “Monday to Friday” and on recordings with Halycon, and other orchestras.

Alongside her performing career, Sally has presented academic research papers at conferences such as the Performing Wellness and Musicological Society of Australia conference, given pre-concert talks for the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Musica Viva and, being fluent in German, has worked as a German translator/interpreter.

Born in Canberra, Sally began her earliest musical training with Judith Clingan on recorder through the Kodály method and singing in Gaudeamus choral ensembles.  She was accepted into the ANU School of Music at the age of twelve and completed the ANU Preparatory Course Diploma learning flute with Vernon Hill and Virginia Taylor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Sydney studying flute with Geoffrey Collins and undertook private study with Timothy Hutchins in Canada. She completed Postgraduate study in Germany, receiving the Artist’s Diploma from the Hanover Hochschule für Music und Medien as a student of Prof. Andrea Lieberknecht and her Masters at the Munich Hochschule für Musik und Theater as a student of Prof. András Adorján. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts with the Early Music Unit of the University of Sydney, exploring a modern Flautist’s Perspective on the Process of Learning Early Flutes and their Literature, supervised by Neal Peres Da Costa, Alan Maddox and Hans-Dieter Michatz.

Latest News

Guest Principal Flute with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sally earned widespread praise for her performances in its national Mahler’s Song of the Earth tour in May 2024, including “divinely played” (Australian Stage) and “A standout moment was the ‘duet’ between Catherine Carby and flautist Sally Walker, a moment of sheer beauty and mutual musical respect, vocal and instrument sublimely interwoven..” (Eastside FM, 13 May 2024). Read more here.

Sally Walker’s stunning new album ‘Something like this…‘ (AVIE) with harpist, Emily Granger, released to critical acclaim: read more here.
“…splendid new album by two Australian musicians… intoxicatingly beautiful” […] There is only one word for the performances: seraphic. The phrasing and articulation are meticulously poised and delivered in a beautifully natural way, especially the movement from Bach’s G minor sonata …. As an antidote to life’s stresses, this music, calming and cheering, should be on high rotation” [4.5 stars]
The Australian, 2023 ( ‘Something like this…’ album review)

“Sally Walker has an extensive list of credits in Europe as a virtuoso baroque flautist. The concert concluded with J S Bach’s well-loved Overture and Badinerie from the Orchestral suite No.2 in B minor which is virtually a flute concerto, likely written much later than often thought, around 1739. Walker was masterly in her performance at a rapid tempo of the fiendish divisions, at times adding delicious ornamentation to the familiar roulades beloved of jazz arrangers and vocal scatters.”
Sounds Like Sydney, 2024 (Salut! Baroque live review, Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney)

Sally Walker is an Ambassador for Symphony for Life, supporting the organisation’s aims to provide an opportunity for children in Western Sydney to learn a string instrument and make music in a highly engaging community setting. Read more here.

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