John R. S. Walko
A native of Cleveland Ohio's Western Reserve region, John attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland Music School Settlement, Julliard School of Music, and Huntingdon College. He studied French horn with Martin Morris of the Cleveland Orchestra, piano with Annette Trofimov Freeze, Andrius Kuprevicius, Tatiana Tsukanova and Liliane Quéstel, organ and harpsichord with Dr. Harald Rohlig and Gene Jarvis of Montgomery Alabama, and organ with John Balka at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.
A recipient of San Francisco Focus and Cable Car awards, John wrote and performed a revue of Harold Arlen's music in Amsterdam and the U.S. He performed on location with the symphony orchestras of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Havana, Cuba in performances of the five-hour epic silent film Napoleon under the baton of Carmine Coppola, to audiences of 30,000 people. He worked with director Francis Ford Coppola in the preparation of film scores, and performs with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in the Oscar-nominated film Godfather III. John played the American premieres of such diverse works as the long lost score to F.W. Murnau's film Faust (1926), and recently discovered works by 18th century French composer Michel Corrette.
John serves on the Executive Committee for the San Francisco chapter of the American Guild of Organists, is a member of the Organ Historical Society, and was featured in four AGO recitals. John accompanies Diablo Choral Artists, the San Francisco City Chorus, and San Francisco Boy's Chorus. He is currently organist at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, where he has served as the artistic director of the Lenten Organ Recital Series since 1993. In 2001, John toured Eastern Europe with the FPCB Chancel Choir and performed an organ transcription of Dvorák's New World Symphony in Prague. He has performed solo organ recitals in Paris, Prague, and on the famed Riga Dom organ in Latvia. In 2009 he was selected as the sole American adjudicator for the London Bank District English/American Organ Festival Playing Competition.