Walton, Ortiz Montaigne age 76, passed away peacefully after a long illness at his Berkeley, CA home on July 29, 2010. Walton, born in Chicago, IL, was trailblazing, widely recognized contrabassist, distinguished sociologist and author. His music career included appointment, as first African American, to the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1957-1962); membership in the Hartford, CT, Buffalo, NY (Assistant Principal) and the Cairo, UAR (Principal) Symphony Orchestras. He performed in a number of critically acclaimed solo recitals, including New York City's Merkin and Carnegie Halls; in addition, to performances in Chicago and San Francisco. He also recorded classical works for the bass violin with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London and in Paris. Walton studied music at Tanglewood, Hartt and New York's Mannes Schools of Music. He earned B.S. in psychology at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL; and Masters and Ph.D in sociology from University of California at Berkeley, where he taught, in addition to campus at Santa Cruz, CA. During his life, he authored two books on music, Coronation of the King: Contributions by Duke Ellington to Black Culture, and a sociological survey of American music, Music: Black, White and Blue as well as numerous articles on music and sociology. Walton is survived by his loving wife, Carol Kara and his brother, Peter (Helen) Walton, his son, Omar (Judy) Walton, his grandchildren, Harmony, Elon and Jahlil, and many cousins, friends and music associates. Private services have been held. A memorial service in California will be announced at a later date.
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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Aug. 29, 2010