Walter Burle Marx

Walter Burle Marx was was a pianist, conductor, musical promoter, and composer. Born on July 23, 1902 in São Paulo, Brazil, his musical contributions included performing as a pianist, conducting many of the world’s great orchestras, promoting interchange of music across the Americas, and composing “a richly varied output” which includes four symphonies, a cello concerto, two concertinos for piano, choral works, and a variety of chamber works ranging from string quartets to solo guitar to voice and piano.

Although he gained much attention and adulation during his earlier years as a pianist and conductor, he was less known as a composer — certainly less known than his long-time friend Heitor Villa-Lobos, with whom he traded dedications in multiple compositions, or Andres Segovia, who considered Walter “the greatest living composer for the guitar.”

Walter was perhaps closest to his brother, Roberto, who attained notoriety as a landscape architect in his 40s and is world-famous to this day. Even though they were separated by continents, they wrote to each other often, supported and critiqued each other, and shared passion for Brazil and social/environmental justice.

Walter died in 1990 in Akron, Ohio, United States of America, still a Brazilian citizen in his adopted country, leaving a legacy of music that is being rediscovered today.