Thomas Walker is a Scottish tenor based in Glasgow. Having originally studied in the brass department of The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama as a tuba player, and gaining a BMusHons, he continued his studies as a singer, studying with Ryland Davies at the Royal College of Music, London, and as a postgraduate gained an MMus.
Thomas has sung for all the major Opera Houses in Great Britain, and enjoys a successful career both on the operatic stage and concert platforms worldwide.
Plans this season include further performances of the title role in Rameau Platée for Stuttgart Opera and also for: Staatstheater Nürnberg; Britten Les Illuminations with the Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa and with The Scottish Ensemble; Haydn The Seven Last Words with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Bach Easter Oratorio with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Frans Brüggen; First Elder in Handel Susanna at the Spitalfields Festival, London, with the Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn; Bach Cantatas at Konzerthaus Wien with the Claudiana Ensemble; Bach St Matthew Passion (arias) in London and Handel Messiah in Birmingham, with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, The Academy of Ancient Music and Stephen Cleobury; and St Matthew Passion (arias) with the Gabrieli Consort and Players in Poland, and with the Dunedin Consort in Edinburgh.
For me independence is an important opportunity to create a better and fairer society. It’s about empowerment, equality, and ultimately taking responsibility for the nation in which we live. I am fiercely independent as a person, and in my career I have to be. It’s me on the stage; I have no one else to take responsibility for what I do, and that’s a wonderfully liberating feeling, if a little scary at times. So the notion of being in any union where we have very little real control frustrates me. Unexplored possibilities, missed opportunities, the concept of ‘If only I/We had been brave enough’ infuriates me. This is about growing up, being an adult and taking control of your destiny as best you can. This is the most exciting and important political period Scotland has seen for centuries. It’s an amazing opportunity, and it’s happening in our lifetime, right now. We are so lucky to be able to be a part of it.
With any change comes fear. No rational person leaps blindly into the abyss and wishes for the best. But that isn’t what we are being asked to do. We have been managing our country, within the constraints we have, successfully since 1999. This is our time to take the reigns, and we know it!
What is a nation without culture?”
That’s the question I asked myself not so long ago. All too often ‘creative’ people (I have a problem with the word creative used in this context – everyone is creative, we all create in everything we do) are sidelined in political debates. We are seen all too often as a luxury item, not practical, and certainly non essential. Most horrifying is we are always the easy, first port of call for funding cuts.
A nation without culture is not any nation I want to live in, and that’s why I joined National Collective. If the journey to independence is about carving the nation I/we want to live in, then what better way than to join with those who have a similar ideology.
Self-determination and self-expression go hand in hand.”
I am attracted to the ideological, the inspirational aspects of life and people, and always have been. This ‘ideological approach’ was what originally attracted me to the SNP, and turned me away from the more main-stream political parties. But this independence campaign is about much more than party political leanings. It’s about working together for a combined goal, so being part of a collective that are not party affiliated is immensely beneficial.
Culture is an integral part of every society and creates a feeling of belonging and togetherness among the people of that society. It encompasses various aspects of communication, attitude, etiquette, beliefs, values, customs, etc. Every society has a different culture, which gives it an identity and uniqueness. ‘Identity and uniqueness’ – a better/truer sense of our national identity is one of the most important things we will gain with independence.
In spite of the vast cultural diversity worldwide, there are certain elements of culture that are universal to all nations: art and music are foremost in these, along with religion of course, but religion has art and music as an integral part of it.
I travel frequently for my job, and I see countries and people the world over who are very proud of what they have created, and invested in. Lets not beat around the bush here. I am a product of my nation, we all are. Our nation forged who we are; from the attitudes we have, the work ethic we enjoy, to the accent that immediately tells you where we hail from. It also poured money into me at different stages of my career, and to a certain extent still does. It nurtured the talent I have. So it is now my job to be an ambassador for that nation, and those people. What I see in other countries is a great sense of ownership of the arts, and arts professionals. The taxpayer knows he/she funds this, and is proud of that. That’s the way it should be, proud of what we produce.
My past and culture made me who I am, but I am not my past, none of us are, we are the future, making decisions today that create tomorrow.”
In order to think about the future we need to build our present by knowing who we are and where we come from. That’s why culture is so important in our society.