• Without fanfare, The Walden School takes musically inclined children for five weeks each summer and gently guides them to be composers.

    – Associated Press

Seth Brenzel, Executive Director & Director, Young Musicians Program
Alex Christie, Director of Composers Forums
Caroline Mallonée, Director, Creative Musicians Retreat & Academic Dean, Young Musicians Program
Sam Pluta, Academic Dean, Young Musicians Program & Director, Electronic Music


Seth Brenzel

Executive Director
Director, Young Musicians Program

Seth Brenzel has been associated with The Walden School for more than 25 years. He was fortunate to be a student at Walden for six magical summers (1985-1990), and since 1994, has served the School as a staff member, faculty member, Director of Operations, and as the Associate Director from 1996 to 2003, when he became the School’s Executive Director. Since 1995, he has sung tenor with the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and is currently a professional member of that ensemble. He currently studies voice with Ruth Rainero.

Seth serves as the co-clerk of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Friends School, and in the past, he has served on the boards of The Walden School, Swarthmore College, and Earplay, a San Francisco-based new music ensemble. Seth received his B.A., with degrees in Music and Political Science, from Swarthmore College, where he served as President of the College’s Alumni Association. He received an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, with a focus in non-profit management and marketing; he has also served on the Haas School’s Development Council. He is a 2012 graduate of Leadership San Francisco, where he has also served as an alumni advisor.

Prior to becoming Walden’s first full-time Executive Director, Seth worked part-time for Walden during the year and held positions as a senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting, in marketing and public relations at the San Francisco Symphony, and most recently led both the marketing and the enterprise sales teams for an internet software company, now part of Adobe. When not at Walden, Seth lives in San Francisco with his partner, Malcolm Gaines, and their daughter, Cora.

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Alex Christie

Director of Composers Forums, Young Musician’s Program

Alex Christie is a San Francisco Bay Area composer, performer, and improviser of acoustic and electronic music. His work is the hybridization of hyper-intellectualized contemporary music theory and a childish obsession with explosive sound and bright, flashing lights. Alex holds a BM from the Oberlin Conservatory in Composition and TIMARA (Technology In Music And Related Arts) and an MFA from Mills College in Electronic Music and Recording Media. He frequently collaborates with choreographers and dancers and has been commissioned by Cleveland-based dance company GroundWorks Dancetheater and Seattle-based choreographer K.T. Niehoff. Alex performs as a laptopist in several veins of music, ranging from experimental improvisatory noise to electronic dance and also performs free jazz and freely improvised music as a saxophonist. He recently released an album of solo electronic music entitled “In The Blink” on Khalija records and currently teaches composition, electronic music, and music theory at Santa Clara University.

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Caroline Mallonée

Director, Creative Musicians Retreat
Academic Dean, Young Musicians Program

Caroline Mallonée, Academic Dean, Director, Composers Forums & Director, Creative Musicians Retreat has been on the faculty of The Walden School since 1998. Her work has been performed in New York City at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Bargemusic, Tenri Cultural Center, Town Hall and Tonic, as well as at the Tribeca New Music Festival, Long Leaf Opera Festival, Carlsbad Music Festival, Bennington Chamber Music Conference, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, 21st Century Schizoid Music, on the New Music New Haven series and at Boston’s Jordan Hall.  Her music has been performed in the U.S., the Netherlands, Wales, England, Iceland, Japan, Italy and Mexico, and has been broadcast several times over National Public Radio on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Several of her choral pieces, including The Carolers At My Door, are published by Boosey & Hawkes.  Carrie holds degrees from Harvard University, The Yale School of Music and Duke University, and she was a Fulbright scholar to the Netherlands in 2004.

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Sam Pluta

Academic Dean, Young Musicians Program & Director, Electronic Music

Known internationally for his laptop performances with groups like Rocket Science, Wet Ink Ensemble, and The Peter Evans Quintet, New York City-based composer/improviser Sam Pluta, Academic Dean and Director of Electronic Music, is one of the most compelling electronics performers of his generation. As a composer, he has been commissioned and premiered by Mivos Quartet, Yarn/Wire, ICE, Timetable Percussion, RIOT Trio, So Percussion, Dave Eggar, and Prism Saxophone Quartet and has performed internationally as a laptop soloist and chamber musician, with appearances at the Donaueschingen Festival, the Moers Festival, Bimhaus, Porgy and Bess, and the Vortex, amongst other international venues and festivals. A devoted pedagogue, he directs the Electronic Music Studio at Manhattan School of Music and is Academic Dean and Director of Electronic Music at the Walden School. Sam’s music is released on quiet design and Carrier Records, a label he runs with Jeff Snyder and David Franzson, and his performances can also be found on More Is More, Tzadik, and hat[now]ART. Sam holds a Doctorate in Music Composition from Columbia University.

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Past Administration

Anne Deane Berman
Amy Bryan
Stephen Coxe
Kate Davis
Lindsay Edwards
Audrey Enriquez
Bradley Evans
Malcolm Gaines
Tanja Shipman Gubser
Thomson Guster
Lynn Taylor Hebden
Morgen Jahnke
Esther Landau
Deborah Katz

Amelia Lukas
Laura Mehiel
Jefferson Packer
Patricia Plude
Pamela Layman Quist
Brendon Randall-Myers
Thomas Serene
Benjamin Smith
Chung-Wai Soong
Andrew Thams
Randy Thomas
Peter Thompson
Leo Wanenchak