Thomas Walker, Jr., began classical guitar lessons at ten years old. He was captivated by the music of Leo Kottke a couple of years later and continued studies at MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis with Jack McNally. This led to an interest in jazz as well as a renewed interest in classical music; in college, he studied music theory and classical guitar. He studied jazz independently by extensively transcribing the solo work of Joe Pass.
In college Thomas became interested in Renaissance and baroque music as well; this led by degrees to an interest in the lute some years later. He bought his first lute in 1992 and started studies with Phillip Rukavina shortly thereafter. With Phil as mentor, he graduated from student to colleague and has since performed in the Twin Cities with local lutenists Rockford Mjos and Paul Berget, as well as Phil, in various lute ensembles. Additionally, Thomas has performed solo and with the Venere Lute Quartet, the Rose Ensemble, Consortium Carissimi, Ensemble Polaris, members of the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Carrie Henneman Shaw, and many other accomplished baroque and Renaissance specialists in the Twin Cities.
Thomas’ ongoing emphasis as soloist and accompanist is on Italian music of the first half of the 17th century for lute, archlute, and chitarrone, although his performances have ranged from Spinacino to Weiss. He has two solo CDs exploring the Seicento, Toccata released in 2006 and Stile Moderno, Stile Antico in 2010. Additionally, he has a CD of lute duets recorded with Phillip Rukavina, Due, which is a survey of Continental and English lute duets from the 16th to the early 17th century.