Walter Ross, whose works have been performed in over 40 countries, is perhaps best known for his compositions featuring brass and woodwinds. Raised in Nebraska, he became a professional orchestral French horn player by the age of seventeen and went on to gain more performance experience in college as a member of the University of Nebraska symphonic band, and as a flute player with a baroque ensemble. Currently he plays bass in the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra. After four years of engineering and astronomy, he switched to music, receiving much of his early compositional training under Robert Beadell. While working on his doctoral degree at Cornell (where he studied under Robert Palmer and Karel Husa), he received an Organization of American States Fellowship to study composition privately under Alberto Ginastera in Argentina.
The influences of his own extensive performance background and his musical training under composers who stressed bright orchestration and rhythmic excitement can be heard in many of Ross' over one hundred works. He likes to write music that musicians enjoy performing and audiences enjoy hearing. Many of his recent works are representative of his current interest in neo-modal, pandiatonic composition.
Ross has already written a number of major orchestral concertos including ones for oboe and harp, bassoon, clarinet, piano, flute and guitar, trombone, tuba, double bass, and violin. He is currently writing a Concerto for 'Cello and Orchestra. He prefers the concerto form to that of the symphony because of its more varied possibilities for artistic expression in contrasting the solo against the orchestra. Three of his concertos are featured on his latest CD and five more have been recorded and will be released soon.
In 1997 he wrote a cantata featuring the poetry of Rita Dove, American Poet Laureate. She sang as the soloist at the premier with the Charlottesville Oratorio Society. Recent choral works include Evensong and Lux Aeterna. Written to honor the victims of 9/11, Lux Aeterna has been performed at Ground Zero among many other locations
Ross has received a number of awards and prizes and many significant grants and fellowships. His work is widely performed, and many of his compositions have been published and recorded. Currently a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, he has served as president of the Southeastern Composers League and served as a judge at international composition symposia. He has been a visiting composer at the Aspen Music Festival and a featured composer at several universities and forums and on national and international radio broadcasts, and a member of the board of the Capital Composers Alliance.