From a kid’s first inspirations at the piano to a composer’s honed instinct, students of all kinds come to Walden (and often return) to immerse themselves in a fun summer of quality mentorship, musical exploration, and lifelong artistic community.

Every student at the Walden School has an unparalleled opportunity to exercise his or her creativity in a warm, supportive environment. Creating one’s own music in this kind of community instills self-confidence, discipline, a sense of belonging, and the pride of accomplishment: things that stay with participants regardless of where their lives take them.

A message from the Executive Director, Seth Brenzel

“Summer is coming…and we hope you’ll spend part of yours with us in the beautiful Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Beginning first in 1952 as the Junior Conservatory Camp, and now since 1972 as The Walden School, musicians have been gathering each summer in New England for creative inspiration.

What makes Walden special and what draws students back, summer after summer? Perhaps it’s the unparalleled artist and composer residencies, featuring the likes of Claire Chase, Ensemble Dal Niente, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Marcos Balter, and Mivos Quartet, among countless others? Maybe it’s the gorgeous boarding school campus setting of the Dublin School? For others, it’s the unique artistic community that so warmly blends nurturing and challenge, camaraderie and individual expression. For still others, it’s our unique approach to learning about and creating with musical materials through Walden’s Musicianship Course, first conceived of by our founder Grace Newsom Cushman? Maybe it’s the constant singing – on top of the mountain, before meals, during chorus, and before bed?

For most, it’s some combination of all of these elements. For more than 65 years, Walden has drawn 100s of creative musicians from across the globe to a unique musical community. Each summer, Walden offers two programs. The Young Musicians Program for students, ages 9-18, is a five-week musical immersion. The Creative Musicians Retreat for lifelong learners (18+) is a nine-day workshop for composers, performers, music educators, and choral singers. Walden also presents a FREE Summer Concert Series, enriching the lives of our community as well as providing musical inspiration for our program participants. This summer, we’re also inviting alumni back to join us on campus July 20-22 for what promises to be a wonderful reunion of old friends, the chance to meet new friends, and a precious opportunity to see Walden in action once again.

Thank you for visiting our website. I invite you to read, listen, watch, and learn more about what composer Joan Tower calls “one of America’s greatest hidden treasures.”


LISTEN TO THE SOUNDS OF WALDEN

Nearly all Young Musicians Program students compose at least one piece during the course of the summer, and many compose two or three. Our signature Musicianship Course encourages students to use the materials they study to create improvisatory works and original compositions. At Walden, composition interacts with the input of professional performers, peers, teachers, and visiting composers-in-residence. Students discover and develop their own individual voices and creative ideas.

At the Creative Musicians Retreat, all participants may (are encouraged to) write new music for the artists-in-residence in advance of the festival. The pieces are workshopped and rehearsed during the week, and are premiered on the three Composers Forums moderated by the composer-in-residence. Each work is followed by a discussion between the composer, performers, and audience.


LISTEN TO THE SOUNDS OF WALDEN
Young Musicians Program

 

Nearly all students compose at least one piece during the course of the summer; many compose two or three. Our signature Musicianship Course encourages students to use the materials they study to create improvisatory works and original compositions. At Walden, composition interacts with the input of professional performers, peers, teachers, and visiting composers-in-residence. Students discover and develop their own individual voices and creative ideas.


Creative Musicians Retreat

 

All participants may (are encouraged to) write new music for the artists-in-residence in advance of the festival. The pieces are workshopped and rehearsed during the week, and are premiered on the three Composers Forums moderated by the composer-in-residence. Each work is followed by a discussion between the composer, performers, and audience.