Rick Walters 1956-2024

Rick Walters 1956-2024

Hal Leonard Mourns the Passing of Long-Time Vice President of Classical & Vocal Publications.

Walters, a key figure at Hal Leonard for 39 years, began his journey as a keyboard editor and ascended to the role of VP of Classical & Vocal Publications. In 2011, he pioneered the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, the industry’s first all-YouTube contest for vocal students. This groundbreaking initiative earned widespread respect and propelled numerous students into successful singing careers. Rick’s dedication was evident as he personally reviewed tens of thousands of videos until the competition concluded with his retirement in 2023. Even after retiring, he continued to make a difference in the music community, particularly with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, where he served on the board and mentored budding composition students.

Hal Leonard Chairman Larry Morton stated, “Rick’s impact on the world of classical and vocal music publishing was immense. His unwavering passion and commitment to preserving and presenting repertoire for students and their teachers have left an indelible mark. No vocal competition or audition happens without singers using materials Rick helped create with our editorial teams. He closely worked with some of the greatest musical theater composers of all time, including his close, personal relationship with the late Broadway icon, Stephen Sondheim.”

Rick’s many iconic projects include the Singer’s Musical Theatre Anthology series, the Hal Leonard Vocal Library series, Schirmer Performance Editions series, a new edition of 28 Italian Songs & Arias of the 17th & 18th Centuries, and collections of music by Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Stephen Sondheim, and even Mel Brooks.

Memorial service plans are pending.

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Source: musicinstrumentnews.co.uk