June 2011 eNews: InterNetzo

  • Never have I seen such an amazingly thorough, enlightening, and fun learning situation as I experienced at Walden.

    – Jennifer Higdon, composer


Table of Contents

Message from the Executive Director
Walden Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Arts
Lexington Symphony/Walden School Commission
Concert Series Preview
Walden’s Online Auction is starting soon!
Walden goes to Smith: Creative Musicians Retreat Preview
Events roundup
Walden receives New Music Educator Award from the American Music Center
Community News and Goods
Opportunities & Organizations Listing
Now Hear This! Works by 2010 Walden Participants

Message from the Executive Director

I send you greetings from Northampton, Massachusetts, where Walden’s first-ever Creative Musicians Retreat is about to begin. The program’s faculty and staff has gathered a few days prior to the program start and are readying Lawrence House here on Green Street at Smith College. The facilities are lovely, our contacts at Smith helpful, and so far the food is really good. The music building, Sage Hall, looks like it will be a perfect place for what promises to be an exciting week. On Saturday, we will welcome 24 participants from around the world, Russell Pinkston, our composer-in-residence, along with members of ICE, who will also be in residence with us for a concert on Monday night and two composers forums. Read more about the program here.

All of us at Walden are excited that a long-held vision at Walden, to offer a “mini-Walden” program for adult musicians is coming to fruition this year. As a result and for the first time ever, Walden will serve more than 100 participants during its three programs in summer 2011. We are excited about the future possibilities of our newest offering, and we believe the Creative Musicians Retreat will be a wonderful complement to our flagship Young Musicians Program and now nearly 10-year old Teacher Training Institute program.

On June 25, 56 young musicians, ages 9-18 from across the world will descend on Dublin School’s campus for the 39th season of our flagship Young Musicians Program. They include nearly 30 students who are returning for their 2nd or 5th or 10th summer of creativity and community; they include students from Peterborough and Lithuania and India and Los Angeles; they include drummers and singers and violinists and pianists and trumpeters and harpists. We can’t wait to welcome them in just two weeks. Our faculty and staff, comprising many alumni of both our Teacher Training Institute and Young Musicians Program, are a terrific group of mostly returning team members.

On August 3, 40 music teachers from around the world will join our stellar Teacher Training Institute faculty to participate in a weeklong intensive of courses in Walden pedagogy: musicianship, choral singing, computer music, jazz, solfege and rhythms and more. This program is a unique professional development opportunity for music teachers of all kinds, and there are still openings for this summer’s retreat. I hope you will join me in spreading the word!

Throughout the summer, The Walden School, in partnership with numerous ensembles and presenters, will offer 23 concerts, Composers Forums, open rehearsals and presentation, all of which open to the public, in Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as Keene, Dublin, Peterborough and Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The 2011 Concert Series begins on June 12 at Smith College with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and concludes on August 5 in Dublin, New Hampshire, with Dave Eggar. It is a wonderfully diverse, eclectic and exciting series, and I hope to see many of you at one or more of these events.

There is much to celebrate at Walden these days, with our School being honored with the 2011 American Music Center’s New Music Educator award, an NEA grant and our being named a finalist in the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program awards. All of these honors are built upon the incredibly hard work of Walden’s dedicated faculty, staff, board and administration. I want to offer my sincere appreciation to each of these individuals who work tirelessly during the summer and throughout the year to ensure Walden’s continued strength.

Finally, I want to draw your attention to an exciting commission opportunity for our alumni composers. The Lexington Symphony in Massachusetts has partnered with Walden in identifying an alumnus/alumna (of any of Walden’s programs!) to compose a piece in celebration of the city of Lexington’s 300th anniversary. This is a wonderful opportunity for Walden alumni who are young composers (under the age of 25). Please pass along the news.

Have a creative and musical summer! Hope to see you soon.

Seth Brenzel
Director, Young Musicians Program
Executive Director

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Walden Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has recognized the vital importance of Walden’s Young Musician Program by awarding it a $35,000 grant. The 2011 grant marks the fourth NEA grant received by The Walden School in 10 years. The NEA is an independent agency of the federal government that advances artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The Walden School is one of 229 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations recommended for a grant as part of the federal agency’s Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth grant support program, providing more than $7.4 million in funding.

In other recent news, on May 5 The Walden School was named one of 50 finalists for the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NYHYP) by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Out of 471 nominations from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, Walden was named a finalist and is in contention for a $10,000 one-time grant and an invitation to attend the White House awards ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Lexington Symphony/Walden School Commission Opportunity for Alumni

The Walden School has been selected by the Lexington Symphony (Massachusetts) to partner with it in selecting one of the School’s alumni to compose a new work for orchestra in celebration of the town of Lexington’s 300th Anniversary. This is a great honor, and we at Walden are excited about this exciting new collaboration. The performance of the new work, scheduled for September 2012, will also coincide with celebrations planned for Walden’s 40th Anniversary.

The Walden School invites alumni of its programs, under the age of 25 as of July 1, 2011, to apply for the commission. The selected composer will write a 10-15 minute work for orchestra (overture, tone poem, etc.) by January 1, 2012, and will receive a $1,000 commissioning prize, up to $500 reimbursed in travel and score preparation costs, a performance of the work on the Lexington Symphony’s concert season in September 2012, a professional recording of the performance of the work and opportunities to participate in the rehearsal and preparation of the work for performance. Travel to and from the performance and rehearsals will be at the expense of the selected composer, as will copying and score/parts preparation expenses.

To apply, please write to Seth Brenzel, Executive Director, The Walden School, with the following information no later than July 11, 2011:

Date of Birth:
Address / Phone / Email:
Year(s) attending The Walden School:
Walden School program(s) attended:

In addition, short answers to each of the following questions should be provided.

  1. Why do you want to receive this commission? How will it fit into your development as a composer?
  2. What are your plans for the commission? What is your intended project?
  3. What experiences do you have writing for orchestra and/or large chamber forces, if any?

Please include up to three (3) scores and recordings (if available) of representative works. These will NOT be returned to you. Please also include a resume or CV.

A committee of Walden faculty will select several finalists who will be recommended to the Lexington Symphony for final selection during July. We will notify all applicants of the results no later than July 31, 2011.

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Concert Series Preview

Walden’s 2011 Concert Series will feature an eclectic and exciting mix of artists, including a concert of cutting edge contemporary music by the International Contemporary Ensemble, a performance and Q&A session with the acclaimed composer/performer/improvisor Pamela Z, student and faculty commissions by the fantastic Firebird Ensemble, and much more. As always, Walden’s Festival Week will see the world premieres of more than 50 new pieces by Young Musicians Program Participants, with this year’s Festival Forums moderated by composer Paul Morevec. The full concert schedule, along with more information about each performance, is available here.

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Walden’s Online Auction is starting soon!

This summer, Walden is holding an Online Auction, seven weeks of musical period-themed shenanigans and community fun to support our programs. The auction will be held June 25 through August 14, 2011, with different items to bid on each week corresponding to a different musical period. We’ve got some great items already: tickets to the San Francisco Symphony; a painting by Mike Stevens; and a chance to meet Nora, the piano-playing cat!

We need many more items to make the auction fun and successful, so we hope you’ll consider donating – and soliciting – goods and services. Ask your favorite restaurant, spa, bookstore, or pottery painting studio if they ever donate gift certificates for nonprofit auctions. Or consider what you might donate yourself – a customized poem or musical composition; 3 hours of babysitting; two nights at a timeshare someplace warm? If you are interested in donating, you can use this form. We want to have all items in hand by June 15, if possible, so if you’ve got something to donate, let us know today!

In other news, Walden has been added to greatnonprofits.org, and it would be incredibly helpful if you could write a review of our organization. If you haven’t supported Walden yet this year, or if you would like to again, there are many ways to do so in the coming months: make a donation by check, make a donation by credit card by calling us at (415) 648-4710, or make a donation online at www.waldenschool.org/donate. Every gift, no matter the size, helps make Walden possible. Thank you!

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Walden goes to Smith: Creative Musicians Retreat Preview

From June 11-19, Walden will present its first-ever Creative Musicians Retreat. Participants from 10 U.S. states, Japan, Portugal, Israel, and Canada will come together on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts for an inspirational week of creative music-making. Highlights of the week’s activities will be a concert by the acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and two Composers Forums, during which new works by participants will be performed by members of ICE. Our composer-in-residence, Russell Pinkston, will moderate the discussions with the composers, performers, participants and audience members following each piece.

The Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) was conceived to offer training and development opportunities for the well-rounded musician (ages 18+). Caroline Mallonée, Director of the program, has been associated continuously with the Walden School since 1987, her first year as a student in Walden’s Young Musicians Program. Carrie writes, “I am thrilled to see come to fruition several years of planning efforts on the part of the many Walden community members who supported the creation of this program. I have already been in frequent touch with each of this year’s participants as we prepare for the week’s events – they are without exception a wonderful group of diverse, talented people – and I can’t wait to see how the community develops and learns from itself over the course of the Retreat. The CMR Faculty and Staff are eagerly awaiting the chance to work with them, and I know the week will be a rewarding and inspiring experience for all involved.”

To learn more about the Creative Musicians Retreat, please visit www.waldenschool.org/retreat/. If you missed the chance to participate in this year’s retreat, look out for future summers! If you are in New England, please join us for our concerts and forums in Earle Recital Hall, which are free and open to the public:

International Contemporary Ensemble Concert, Sunday, June 12 at 7:30
Composers Forum I, Wednesday, June 15 at 7:30
Composers Forum II, Friday, June 17 at 7:30

We’d love to see you there!

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Events roundup

On a sunny spring day in the lovely Baltimore home of Lucy and Jack Henningfield, more than sixty friends of Walden gathered to celebrate the School and listen to a stunning piano recital by jazz great and Walden alumnus Cyrus Chestnut. Board member and YMP alumna Laura Mehiel, along with her mother and aunt, provided delicious food, and Cyrus performed a genre-bending program including a jazzy take on Chopin, a Joplin rag, and originals. He also walked the audience through an exercise he learned from YMP teacher Cindy Harkum, who just happened to be in attendance, and incorporated the sound of the ringing house phone into one of his improvisations. Cyrus also spoke to the importance of creativity and the influence that his Walden experience had on his own music-making.

Walden and JCC alumni had another chance to meet up at two performances by PRISM Saxophone Quartet (Visiting Ensemble ’93, ’94, ’99, ’05). On June 3 and 4 in New York and Philadelphia, the group performed a program of premieres, including “The Giving Tree,” a work by Cara Haxo (YMP ’04-09), most recent winner of the annual PRISM/Walden School Young Composer Commissioning Award.

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Walden receives New Music Educator Award from the American Music Center

Dear Friends of Walden,

On May 2 we traveled to New York City to stand with Seth Brenzel, Walden’s Executive Director, as he accepted the American Music Center’s 2011 New Music Education Award on behalf of the entire Walden community. It was a proud moment for everyone involved with Walden.

For nearly 40 years The Walden School has been advancing innovative, creative, and highly effective methods to help people of all ages express themselves through original improvisation and music composition. We have helped generations of students discover, develop, and fully claim their personal creative voices. In the last ten years we have published two texts documenting our activity-based methods and thorough curriculum, and we have developed a Teacher Training Institute, which serves a broad spectrum of the music education community.

Now the word is out. Walden is taking its place on the national stage!

In August music teachers from all over the country will once again converge in Dublin, New Hampshire, to engage in an experience that is part music immersion, part professional development, part refreshing retreat. There will be young teachers, just starting their careers. There will be seasoned college professors. There will be public and private school teachers, studio teachers, and composers who primarily teach through residency programs. It is always a highly eclectic group comprising some of the most forward thinking, creative musicians in the country.

We invite you to ride the tide of creativity, enthusiasm, and recognition! Please consider the musicians and music educators whom you know. Invite them to consider our 2011 Summer Teacher Training Intensive, August 3-10, in Dublin. We are still accepting applications and would love to work with YOUR friends and colleagues.

As Seth noted in his acceptance speech in New York, The Walden School envisions a world with a higher concentration of people who approach life creatively, collaboratively, and with conviction. Artists of all kinds lead the way in such an endeavor, and Walden has long specialized in offering educational tools that empower musicians to be leaders in the quest.

The word is out. Will you help us spread it?


Patricia Plude
Director, The Walden School Teacher Training Institute

Pamela Quist
Co-Founder, The Walden School
Assistant Director, The Walden School Teacher Training Institute

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Community News and Goods

The Walden School welcomes news and information from members of the Junior Conservatory Camp and Walden School communities to include in our print and online newsletters. News may be sent via mail or email. We will publish your contact information only if you specifically request that we do so. Please send info to alumni@waldenschool.org or The Walden School, 31A 29th St., San Francisco, CA 94110. We reserve the right to edit submissions and regret we cannot publish all information provided. For upcoming event listings, go to www.handoverhand.org.

Deena Ball, mother of Erica Ball (Young Musicians Program ’06-07) reports new artwork, festival participation, upcoming classes and more. Read more at www.deenasball.com.

Marshall Bessières(Faculty ’03-11, Teacher Training Institute ’08) new piece “Winter” was premiered by Choral Chameleon on Sunday May 22nd in New York City. Marshall performed the electronics with the group live on the iPad. Read more at marshallbessieres.com/music.

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), directed by Claire Chase (Visiting Artist ’05-09), have a busy summer ahead of them, including a free ICElab concert at New York’s (le) Poisson Rouge featuring premieres from composer and percussionist Nathan Davis (Visiting Artist ’01-07, ’09), a residency at MCA Stage in Chicago, and two parties to benefit the ICElab program. Read more at iceorg.org.

Clogs (Visiting Artists ’03) returned to London in May for several shows celebrating Steve Reich’s 75th birthday at the Barbican Centre’s Reverberations Festival, performing with musicians including Shara Worden, Nico Muhly, Lisa Kaplan and the New London Children’s Choir. More details at clogsmusic.com.

Miranda Cuckson (Visiting Artist ’08, ’11) played several exciting concerts in May, including a performance of Perez Velasquez’s piece for violin and electronics, “Un ser con unas alas enormes”, and an appearance with her group counter)induction at Tenri Institute, featuring works using new electronics spatialization software from VRSonic. Concerts this summer include counter)induction performing at Bargemusic on June 3, and solo appearances at the Bard Festival and the quirkily named “Nono, MuchMore Warped” festival. For details, visit www.mirandacuckson.com.

Natacha Diels (Teacher Training Institute ’09) performed at the Cal Berkeley Center for New Music and Audio Technologies with Ensemble Pamplemousse on May 5. Read more about the event, and about Ensemble Pamplemousse.

Stacy Garrop (Young Musicians Program ’87-88, Faculty ’96) appeared on Cedille Records Day on WFMT 98.7 FM this month. Selections from The Book of American Poetry were performed at the DePaul Concert Hall in Chicago, and her new CD, “In Eleanor’s Words: Music of Stacy Garrop” was given a great review by critic Jay Harvey of the Indianapolis Star. Read the review here, and learn more about the cd here.

Evan Johnson (Young Musicians Program ’09-10) met 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner Zhou Long at the Pulitzer ceremony, where Evan’s father, Mark Johnson, was also receiving a Pulitzer prize. Zhou Long and his wife Chen Yi, both composers, have long been supporters of Walden, and Zhou Long visited Walden with Chen Yi in 1997.

The Nief-Norf Summer Festival chose Caroline Mallonée (Young Musicians Program ’88-92, Teacher Training Institute ’07, Faculty ’96,’98-00,’02-’11) as a winner of its first annual call for scores. Her 2009 piece, North South East West, for four percussionists in four corners, was performed in June at Furman University in Greenville, SC. She was in residence during the festival to work with the performers. Here’s the press release.

An EP by Aimee Bayles produced by Nat Osborn (Young Musician Program ’00-03) has just been released. Nat is also finishing up a short film called “Maybe She Dies Like This” by a film-maker named Jo Henriquez , samples of which can be heard on his website, natosborn.com.

Kelli Pearson (Teacher Training Institute ’10) reports that she has a new website, www.smartfirstgraders.com, for parents, teachers, homeschoolers, grandparents, and anyone else who is helping to raise smart first graders. It has tips for helping with math and reading, learning games and activities, experiments, etc.

The PRISM Saxophone Quartet (Visiting Artists ‘05) recently presented number of concerts. First were two concerts celebrating the release of their new CD, Dedication, in Philadelphia and New York City. They followed this with two concerts of world premieres, including a work by Cara Haxo (Young Musicians Program ’04-09). Cara had a nice profile published in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Alicia Rabins(Young Musicians Program ’88-93) band Girls in Trouble has new tour dates up for June. This tour celebrates the release of their new album, Half You Half Me, which was released on May 17th.

Alan Shewmon (Junior Conservatory Camp ’63-69, Young Musicians Program ’72) presented a concert on May 28th featuring works by Bartók, Ginastera, Ravel and Stravinsky, including the Stravinsky-Shewmon transcription of excerpts from Pétrouchka that he performed this past winter at Walden’s San Francisco Alumni Composers Forum.


Major Life Events in the Walden/JCC Family

The Rev. Joseph Lafayette Giles, former senior pastor of University Baptist Church and longtime Walden friend and supporter, passed away on May 2 at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville, at 81. Here is a link to the Baltimore Sun obituary.

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Now Hear This! Works by 2011 Walden Participants

The Walden School 2010 Young Musicians Program Festival Forums presented the world premieres of more than 50 pieces, including Lenny Kloser’s Medicine Bottle, performed by Lenny on guitar, with Sam Pluta on live electronics.

(note: depending on your operating system, this link will either open your media player and play the track, or save the track to your computer)

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