Alan Walker, Doctor of Music, F.R.S.C., university professor and writer, was born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England on 6 April 1930. He was educated at the Guildhall School of Music and at Durham University, where he specialized in piano, theory, harmony and counterpoint. In his early career, he lectured at the Guildhall School of Music from 1959 to 1961, and at London University from 1954 to 1970.
Walker was a producer at the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1961 to 1971, and has contributed to programmes at the BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music at City University in London from 1984 to 1987 and has been a Professor of Music at McMaster University since 1971, where he was Chairman of the Department from 1971 to 1980 and again from 1990 to 1993. Walker is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Hungarian Liszt Society Medal in 1980, the American Liszt Society Medal in 1984, and the Pro Cultura Hungaria Medal in 1995. He was awarded an honorary doctorate, D. Litt (honoris causa), from McMaster University in 2002. In January 2012, he received the Knight's Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, one of Hungary's highest honours.
He is the author of A Study in Music Analysis, 1962, An Anatomy of Musical Criticism, 1968, Franz Liszt, 1971, Robert Schumann, 1976, Franz Liszt: Volume One, 1983, (for which he won the James Tait Black Award in 1983, and Yorkshire Post Music Book of the Year Award in 1984), Franz Liszt: Volume Two, 1989, Franz Liszt: Volume Three, 1996, and The Death of Franz Liszt, 2002. He co-authored, with Gabriele Erasmi, Liszt, Carolyne, and the Vatican: The Story of a Thwarted Marriage, 1991, and was the editor of Symposium on Chopin, 1967, Symposium on Liszt, 1970, Symposium on Schumann, 1972, The Diary of Carl Lachmund: An American Pupil of Liszt, 1995, and Hans von Bülow: a life and times, 2009. He has written over 100 articles for learned journals including a major entry on Franz Liszt for the latest edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001. His biography, Fryderyk Chopin, was launched in October 2018 to much acclaim and has subsequently been translated into numerous languages.