eNews: InterNetzo – December 2023

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Season’s greetings!

I hope you enjoy this edition of InterNetzo, filled with both seasonal and evergreen Walden goodies.

We are very excited to be hosting Walden holiday parties (New Year’s parties?!) in January. Please read on to find details about these wonderful events, and to RSVP!

We are so grateful to the many donors who have already given generously to support Walden’s 2024 summer programs through contributions to Walden’s 2024 Annual Fund. Will you support Walden today with a year-end contribution?

Applications for Walden 2024 are open, and so far this year, we have received a record number of applications for both of our programs! Our next application deadline is February 1, and there are several Young Musicians Program (YMP) information sessions coming up. Please spread the word, and I hope to see you (or your family member, friend, teacher, student, colleague, neighbor, etc.) in Dublin in June!

This edition of InterNetzo also features a profile of Tessie McGough and Solon Snider Sway, two YMP alumni who recently joined Walden’s Board of Directors, along with a roundup of competitions and calls for scores, and some exciting community news.

I wish you a very Happy New Year, and I hope to see you at a Walden event soon!


Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director

Walden Holiday Parties

Warm up with Walden holiday parties!

Walden community members will be gathering for holiday potlucks in cities throughout the country in January. So far, we have three confirmed dates:

  • New York City: Friday, January 5, from 6 to 8 pm
  • Portland, Oregon: Saturday, January 6, from 3 to 5 pm
  • Seattle: Sunday, January 7, from 3 to 5 pm

These events are open to Walden and Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumni, faculty, staff, artists, donors, and board members, as well as friends and family. Please save the date and help us spread the word!

RSVP by email or call (415) 587-8157. When you RSVP, please let us know what you would like to bring, and we will send you the address.

And if you are interested in hosting a party in your area, please email us. We are so grateful to this season’s hosts and the many volunteers who have hosted Walden holiday parties over the years.

Year-End Giving

Thank you to the many generous donors who have made year-end gifts to Walden! Your contributions will help us offer life-changing musical experiences next summer to 100 students across our two programs, including critical student scholarships and inspiring artist residencies.

It’s not too late to make a contribution! Make a donation online, or see below for more ways to give. Gifts postmarked on or before December 31, or online gifts made before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 31, can be counted toward the 2023 tax year.

Donate Today

Thanks again to our loyal and generous donors for empowering our students to pursue their love of music and creativity. Your gifts keep Walden flourishing for generations of creative musicians to come.

Ways to Give

  • Send a check payable to The Walden School at 7 Joost Avenue, Suite 204, San Francisco, CA 94131. If your check is postmarked on or before December 31, 2023, your gift will count in the 2023 tax year.
  • Give onlineYour gift made online by 11:59pm Eastern Time on December 31, 2023, will count in the 2023 tax year.
  • Arrange a matching gift from your employer.
  • Make a pledge. Contact us for more information.
  • Make a gift of stock shares.
  • Donate your car through Donate for Charity.
  • Join the David Hogan Society by including Walden in your estate plans. Contact us for more information.

Contributions to The Walden School, a 501(c)(3) organization, are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.

For more information, call (415) 587-8157 or email us.

Give the Gift of Walden

Bring some summer magic to the holiday season and support Walden School programs and initiatives with your order of Walden merchandise.

For the Holiday Season, enjoy 30% off of all merchandise orders through January 31.

We have shirts, baseball caps, canvas totes, stickers, mugs, magnets, keychains, pens, pencils, and more.

See what’s available and fill out an order form here.

Orders can be placed by check or money order, or via credit card/PayPal. Please contact Mindy Williams, Walden’s Administrative Manager, or call the Walden office at (415) 587-8157 if you have any questions.

Call for Memories and Photos

Attention alumni! We are renewing a call for treasured memories and photos from your time at Walden or the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), to be included in a 50th/70th-Anniversary memory book.

Please aim to keep your reflections to a maximum of 250 words.

Alumni are also invited to share up to five treasured photos with the community to be included in the memory book.

Please send your memories and photos to us at alumni@waldenschool.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Apply for Walden 2024

The winter-round deadline is February 1

The winter-round deadline to apply to the Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) is February 1. We encourage you to share the news with your friends, family, colleagues, students, and teachers.

Walden’s 2024 programs:

  • Young Musicians ProgramJune 29 – August 4, 2024, Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire (for pre-college musicians, ages 9-18)

Application materials for both programs are available on our website.

Write to us at applicants@waldenschool.org with any questions.

Apply Today

Young Musicians Program (YMP) Online Information Sessions

Join us to learn more about the music camp that changes lives.

Do you know a student who writes songs or arranges music? Or a young improviser who wants to strengthen their musicianship and meet like-minded peers? Or a music teacher who might like to learn about Walden’s unique curriculum?

Join us at one of our online interactive information sessions, featuring presentations and Q&A with Walden’s Executive Director, Seth Brenzel, alongside YMP leadership, faculty, staff, and students.

All YMP Info Sessions are held on Zoom and begin at 7 pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific.

Learn more and register for one of the info sessions below:

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Thursday, March 21, 2024

These events are open to prospective students, music teachers, and anyone else who would like to learn about Walden’s flagship program for musicians ages 9 to 18.

Competitions and Calls for Scores

Featured opportunities for composers

Walden encourages the sharing of opportunities and resources for composers, including competitions and calls for scores that may be of interest to our community. We maintain a searchable list of competitions, awards, and calls for scores on our website. Opportunities are often posted in Walden’s community Facebook group as well.

Here are some opportunities we are highlighting this month:

Walter Beeler Memorial Composition Prize

The Ithaca College School of Music, Theatre, and Dance invites composers to submit original compositions for wind ensemble/concert band. The winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000. There may also be the opportunity to perform the winning work with the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble in the following academic year, with travel and accommodation support of up to $1,000 for the winning composer. Apply by January 8, 2024. 

Heartland Symphony Composition Competition

Heartland Symphony Orchestra is a 50-piece volunteer, nonprofit, community orchestra located in and serving the central Minnesota area of Brainerd, Little Falls, and the surrounding rural communities. HSO invites composers nationwide to submit original orchestral compositions. Winners will receive a $1,000 monetary prize, an opportunity to work with HSO and its conductor, and a recording of the concert. Apply by January 21, 2024.

The Robert Avalon International Competition for Composers

Through this competition, Foundation for Modern Music honors its late Artistic Director Robert Avalon. The competition is open to submissions of solo and chamber music (up to 5 performers) composed by junior, high school, college and professional composers, with awards for first and second place in each category. Apply by January 30, 2024.

Eight Strings & a Whistle Composer Competition

Held every two years, the Eight Strings & a Whistle Competition invites composers of all ages enrolled in an accredited degree program at the time of application to submit a work composed for flute, viola and cello. Eight Strings & a Whistle will perform the World Premiere of the winning composer’s work in the Fall of 2024. The winning entrant will also receive a working rehearsal with Eight Strings & a Whistle, a featured interview on the Eight Strings & a Whistle website and a stipend of $300 to help defer travel expenses. There is a $12 application fee. Apply by February 1, 2024.

If you’re aware of an opportunity that Walden students, alumni, faculstaff, and friends should know about too, please contact us.

In the Spotlight

Tessie McGough and Solon Snider Sway

Tessie McGough

In the midst of last summer’s Young Musicians Program (YMP), Walden’s Board of Directors held its annual summer meeting on the campus of the Dublin School. For two days in July, this group of dedicated volunteers met to work on plans for Walden’s long-term growth and sustainability.

Walden is very grateful to Christine Dokko and Loring Catlin, Jr., who both rotated off the board after completing their board terms. Both Loring and Christine made numerous contributions to the work of Walden’s board during their service to Walden, and we look forward to staying in touch for many years to come!

Two new directors joined the board at its July meeting: Tessie McGough and Solon Snider Sway. Both YMP alumni, Tessie and Solon are currently the youngest members on the board, and we are excited to profile them in this edition of InterNetzo. Tessie attended YMP from 2005 through 2007, and Solon attended in 2011 and 2012. Below, they share their reflections on Walden and the perspectives they bring to their new roles on Walden’s board.

How did you first get involved with Walden?

Photo: Tessie as a YMP student (right) with Freya Waley-Cohen

Tessie: My mom somehow found out about Walden and suggested that I should apply. This is when I was 11, and I thought it sounded great. And thanks to Walden for providing a lot of generous financial aid that made it possible for me to attend, and to come back for a second summer after that. Then when I got to high school, I moved on to other things, but I had three incredible summers at Walden.

Solon: I did a lot of music growing up, mostly performance-based music study, but then decided that that wasn’t the path I wanted to go down and heard about Walden from a close friend and about its amazing programming and community and decided to try it out, and I immediately fell in love with everything about it. I went back again for my last two years of high school. I wish I had discovered it earlier because I would have gone more, but it totally changed my trajectory in terms of my relationship with music and also my career path in so many ways.

Do you have any favorite memories from your time at Walden?

Photo: Solon as a YMP student (left) with Ted Moore, Tyson Laa Deng, and Meade Bernard

Solon: My first “Apple” dance, hearing my teachers play that song and sing it, and just being around so many friends that I felt really comfortable with—that was one of my first moments of feeling true community through music. I immediately sensed how much that song meant to people at Walden, even though it was my first time hearing it. I think that’s a really good example of what Walden can be, community through music, that song and the whole spirit and energy of Walden dances. I felt so included at those events and nobody was alienated. I feel like it was a space where people felt really comfortable and free to express themselves. It’s kind of like taking all the stuff we learn about how to make music in the classroom and putting it in a social space or a dance hall.

Tessie: I remember getting to Walden and thinking, “Oh my God, everyone’s older than me,” and then immediately these older girls—Morgan [Kusmer] and Danielle [Oberdier] and Cara [Haxo] and Lydia [Shaw]—they all immediately welcomed me. And we all hung out on the swing for a while and I remember thinking, “They don’t even know me, why are they being so nice to me?” They just had an incredibly generous spirit. That kind of encapsulates Walden. Even today, I think like all the people I’ve met are just kind of similar in that respect, the minute you say, Walden, then it’s like “you’re one of me!”

Recently I was at a friend’s place for Diwali, and we were watching a lot of Bollywood music videos. One of them came on and I said, “Wait a minute, I recognize this”—because of Walden! One of the specialty classes I took involved pop music from around the world, and I impressed a lot of people. And it was just an amazing moment that showed much I was exposed to at Walden.

What are you engaged in currently, and what are you excited to bring to Walden’s board?

Solon: I teach music mostly. I have a youth choir, 6th through 12th grade, and I teach college. Since leaving Walden, I’ve taught all the way from kindergarten up to age 80, and I’ve been hugely influenced by everything I learned at Walden. It’s one of the main motivators for how I approach teaching music: encouraging people to think about what music is on the broadest level when they start their relationship with music. And I try to carry what Walden taught me, which is that you can create your own path through music, by improvising and composing, figuring out what music means to you and finding your own language. I found that to be extremely useful as a teacher and as a student. As I’ve gotten involved with more and more organizations, and continued to realize how important Walden was to me, I thought joining the board might be a good way for me to give back to Walden.

Tessie: After Walden, I went to Harvard and studied economics, and I also played in the Pops Orchestra and the Mozart Society Orchestra, which is smaller chamber orchestra. That was really fun. After graduating, I worked at the Brattle Group in Boston for three years as an economics consultant. Now I work at Meta as a data scientist. I finished my MBA at Chicago Booth in 2022 and now I work supporting the VR devices team. In joining the board, I’m really excited to have an opportunity to contribute back to Walden after Walden gave me so much. And hopefully some of my tech experience will be useful. I want to appreciate the flywheel that is Walden and help support it as much as possible.

Community News

Laura Cocks included in Top 30 Musical Professionals of 2023

Flutist Laura Cocks has been named by Musical America as one of the Top 30 Professionals of the Year, a distinction awarded to musicians, administrators, and educators whose unique efforts “ensure the health of the artform and its essential value in our lives, now and for generations to come.” Cocks has been a visiting artist at Walden in multiple roles: as a member of The Walden School Players, and with TAK Ensemble and the International Contemporary EnsembleMusical America’s profile highlights Laura’s accomplishments as a performing flutist and commissioner of new repertoire for flute, as well as the activities and collaborative ethos of TAK , of which Laura is Executive Director. In addition to performing and commissioning new music, TAK also has a record label focused on emerging composers, and a podcast featuring interviews with composers and performers.

Riley Ferretti’s Dona Nobis Pacem performed by the Washington Master Chorale

A choral work by CMR alumna Riley Ferretti, originally composed for Walden’s Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) last summer, was given a Washington, D.C. premiere on December 10 by the Washington Master Chorale under the direction of Thomas Colohan, who served as choral director at CMR for the past six summers. Ferretti’s Dona Nobis Pacem was premiered in June by the CMR chamber chorus. The work was included on the Washington Master Chorale’s program “Sweet was the Song” alongside a program of Christmas carols and other holiday repertoire.

Audiobook by Alicia Jo Rabins released

The audiobook version of Even God Had Bad Parenting Days, by YMP alumna Alicia Jo Rabins, was released this month. Rabins, who read the audiobook herself, describes the book as “a series of micro-essays, many of them quite personal, about how Jewish traditions can support us through the difficulties and joys of pregnancy, birth and raising little ones.” Rabins is a writer, musician, composer, performer, and Torah teacher based in Portland, Oregon.

Felix Jarrar named Resident Artist Coach at Opera Naples

Felix Jarrar, a CMR alumnus, has been engaged as the Resident Artist Coach at Opera Naples in Florida for winter 2024. He will spend two months coaching in the company’s young artist program and serve as principal rehearsal pianist for its production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Felix is a pianist, coach, and composer who recently contributed the art song Sun of the Sleepless to soprano Laura Strickling and pianist Daniel Schlosberg’s 2024 Grammy-nominated album 40@40.

Osnat Netzer circle portrait

Osnat Netzer releases debut portrait album

Osnat Netzer, a veteran faculty member at both of Walden’s programs, has released her debut portrait album on New Focus Recordings. Dot : Line : Sigh features performances by past Walden visiting artists Ensemble Dal Niente and Mivos Quartet, among other performers. Netzer’s music engages with various abstract concepts, including cognitive linguistics and the experience of physicality.

We want to hear from you!

What’s been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

Reflections on the 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP)

Reflections on the 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP)

From Seth Brenzel, Director of YMP and Walden School Executive Director

I had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family here in San Francisco, and I hope that for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, you enjoyed a peaceful time with loved ones, as well. This is a wonderful time to reflect on all of the things for which I am grateful, and one of the things for which I am most appreciative this year is the amazing 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP). We had a terrific session in Dublin on the gorgeous campus of the Dublin School. 56 students from around the United States, China, and Belgium joined 23 faculty, staff, nurses, and administrators for five outstanding weeks (and in some cases three weeks!) of creative music making.

We had exciting residencies with Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses; an opening concert given by percussionist and this summer’s Technical Director, Ross Karre; TAK Ensemble, led by Laura Cocks, which performed student works as well as faculty commissions; members of the International Contemporary Ensemble; and The Walden School Players, who this year were composed of Mabel Kwan (piano), Chris Wild (cello), Erica Dicker (violin), Zachary Good (clarinets), Dennis Sullivan (percussion), and Kyra Sims (horn).

Kari Francis was back for her second year as Walden’s Choral Director, and our choral concert was a wonderful success, featuring music by Veljo Tormis, Simon & Garfunkel, Lili Boulanger, Reena Esmail, Meredith Monk, and Billie Holiday, among many other wonderful composers and songwriters. Faculty members Nate Trier, Theo Trevisan, Francesca Hellerman, Lukáš Janata, Luke Schroeder, and Emi Ostrom assisted Kari in conducting choral ensembles and leading a summer filled with singing.

We were blown away and so very fortunate to have Nicole Mitchell as Walden’s Composer-in-Residence at YMP. In addition to her artistry and her own amazing music-making that she shared with our community, we were delighted by the way in which she worked with our students, providing insight and leading constructive dialogue with each YMP composer. She joyously interacted with the students, faculty, and the whole community, and indeed became a Walden community member herself during her seven-day residency. We all hope that our paths cross again sometime soon!

The summer was replete with fun—swim trips, Halloween-in-July featuring a haunted house, and beautiful mountain hikes, including the pinnacle trek up to the top of Mount Monadnock. We had an optional, non-denominational-holiday-in-July gift exchange. And we enjoyed dancing along to the music of Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses in their now-annual appearance on the “FAB-io,” the patio just outside the Fountain Arts Building on the Dublin School campus. This concert is a wonderful collaboration between Dublin School, The Walden School, and the Monadnock Folklore Society. Walden made its annual pilgrimage to MacDowell, the country’s preeminent artist residency program, in Peterborough (just 10 minutes from Walden!) to meet with and learn from composers Ashkan Behzadi and Aubrey Johnson. Thanks to Ashkan, we had the opportunity to visit one of the artist studios, outside of which the visiting students, faculty, and staff from Walden launched into spontaneous singing of one of our choral concert selections. On the walls of the artist studio, it was fun to see the names of past residents, including several Walden faculty members and artists-in-residence!

Some of you may have heard about the tornado that struck our campus during Festival Week, right in the midst of the Musicianship Demo for parents, guardians, and family members. Thank goodness we were all together and inside when the tornado touched down, and luckily very few of the buildings were damaged; most of the damage that the campus experienced were downed trees. The tornado certainly rattled our nerves, and yet the community came together to support one another during this time. We were grateful that nobody on campus or in the Walden or Dublin communities was injured, and all of us were grateful for how Dublin School responded to make sure the Walden community was safe. The David Hogan memorial tree that had been planted on the quad nearly 20 years ago was destroyed during the tornado, and we’ll be working with Dublin School to replace that tree.

A parent of two 2023 Young Musicians Program students writes: “Rarely a day goes by without my children rehashing how much fun they had at Walden last summer. I can’t thank you and the entire Walden community enough for making it possible for them to be a part of what I believe has been a life-changing experience. They’re discovering their own inner musical voices. It’s as if a spark has been lit in them.”

We hope to see you (or your student or cousin or neighbor or child) at Walden 2024, for which applications are now open. We can’t wait to light more sparks and help more eager Walden students find their musical voices!

Reflections on the 2023 Walden/Junior Conservatory Camp Reunion

Reflections on the 2023 Walden/JCC Alumni Reunion

From Noah Mlotek, Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Over the weekend of August 4 to 6, 2023, The Walden School hosted a weekend of events to celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program. Dozens of Walden alumni and their families gathered in the Monadnock region to reconnect with friends, make new connections, and experience a bit of the Walden/JCC magic once again.

On Friday, alumni began arriving on the campus of the Dublin School, Walden’s summer home for the last 40 years. We enjoyed an outdoor reception and barbeque dinner, workshops by veteran Walden faculty and alumni Caroline Mallonee (“Composing with Scordatura”) and Ted Moore (“Introduction to Modular Synthesis Using VCV Rack”), and Evening Music led by YMP faculty members and alumni Francesca Hellerman and Theo Trevisan. The evening concluded with Goodnight Music and a reception in Gillespie Hall.

On Saturday, alumni had the option of hiking Mt. Monadnock or Gap Mountain, swimming in Dublin Pond, or exploring nearby Keene or Peterborough. More musical workshops were offered: Chorus, led by former YMP choral director Sarah Riskind, and Musicianship, led by Walden faculty member and CMR alumnus Lukáš Janata. Saturday evening brought a wonderfully festive 50th-anniversary dinner, with balloons and cake for Walden’s big birthday. We then enjoyed a breathtaking solo piano recital by Mackenzie Melemed, a YMP alumnus, who inaugurated the beautiful historic Steinway piano recently donated to Walden by Dublin resident and Walden supporter Tuck Crocker, who was profiled in the September edition of InterNetzo. After gathering in our final Goodnight Music circle of the reunion, alumni were treated to a special photo show filled with cherished memories from 70 years of Walden and JCC history.

On Sunday, we watched a video prepared by former JCC faculty member Ron Nelson with priceless photos and footage from the history of JCC, enlivened with commentary from Bob Weaver, the “dean” of the reunion, who first attended JCC in 1956. We also heard an update on the amazing successes of Walden at 50 from Executive Director Seth Brenzel. The reunion concluded with a Composers Forum moderated by veteran Walden faculty members Lukáš Janata and Tamar Bloch, featuring nine compositions by alumni of CMR and YMP, and incredible performances by our reunion guest artists: David Friend (piano), Thea Mesirow (cello), Laura Cocks (flutes) and Ellery Trafford (percussion) of TAK Ensemble, and Joshua Rubin (clarinets) of the International Contemporary Ensemble (clarinets). Four of these five visiting artists are past performers at Walden.

From Sanctus to Black Socks, from Earth Goddess to My Old Brown Earth, from Jumala siunaa to sol-sol-la-sol-ti-do, from “come let us sing” to “we won’t be singing till then,” it was a rich celebration of Walden and JCC and 50 and 70: a shared ethos, community, musical language, and spirit of open-mindedness that is as strong as ever. In words by the poet Wendell Berry that will be familiar to many alumni: “Again, again we come and go, changed, changing. . . . Only music keeps us here.”

Thank you to all the alumni and family members who made the trip from near and far for this special reunion. And a huge thank you to the hard-working reunion staff, led by Director of Operations Sammi Stone, and the workshop leaders who made it such a fun and memorable occasion.

. . . till then . . .



Noah Mlotek
Director of Development and Alumni Relations

This item was originally published in the November 2023 edition of InterNetzo, Walden's online newsletter.

In the Spotlight: Tuck Crocker and Walden’s fabulous new Steinway


Tuck Crocker and Walden’s fabulous new Steinway

Just in time for Walden’s 50th anniversary—and our 40th summer in residence on the beautiful Dublin School campus, in Dublin, New Hampshire—we were surprised with a wonderful gift that will enrich both the Walden and Dublin communities for years to come.

Augustus T. Crocker, Jr. (known as Tuck), a lifelong Dublin resident, has donated his family’s beautiful Steinway piano to The Walden School. The instrument is a Steinway A3 from about 1915 that has been incredibly well cared for by the Crocker family for generations. Tuck made this special gift in loving memory of Lyneham and Mary Crocker and Augustus Thorndike Crocker, M.D. This instrument will greatly enhance Walden’s Concert Series, presented free of charge every summer in the Dublin School’s Louise Shonk Kelly Recital. Dublin School has agreed to store the instrument and will use it for special occasions during the year.

The piano arrived just before the start of our 50th-Anniversary Walden/Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) Alumni Reunion. Mackenzie Melemed, a Walden alumnus, gave a breathtaking solo recital, and the piano was also used in our Alumni Composers Forum. While these events were enjoyed by Walden alumni, a public inaugural event is being planned for next summer—stay tuned!

Below, Tuck Crocker shares more about the piano, its history, and his hopes for the instrument’s future at Walden and Dublin.

Above: Mackenzie Melemed performing on the Steinway during this summer’s Walden/JCC Alumni Reunion

How old is the piano, and how did it first come into your family?

The piano was made by Steinway in New York in 1914 or 1915. It was sold as one of a matched pair by Steinert of Boston to my great-grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Augustus Thorndike, as an engagement gift to my grandparents, Lyneham and Mary Thorndike Crocker, in 1915. It has stayed in the family since it was purchased.

Who in your family played it? What is its significance to you?

The piano was played by my grandparents, my father, Augustus Thorndike Crocker, MD, and his siblings, Eunice (Wold), Evelyn (Querfurth), and Marianne, their uncle, Amory Thorndike, my uncle, Peter M. Hewitt, my brothers, my cousins, and myself, along with people like Louise Shonk Kelly and William S. Palmer, MD.

The piano has always been special to me as a family heirloom and as something that connected my father’s family through music—including three professional musicians (an aunt and two cousins). It’s also special to me because of so many childhood memories: my father playing in the evening when we were going to bed, my father playing four-handed piano with his sisters, long laughing lessons with my father and my uncle Peter Hewitt, family recitals, talented house guests like Louise Shonk Kelly playing with my father, and teaching myself to arrange music and to read charts.

How did your relationship with Walden begin, and why did you think of Walden for this special gift?

My relationship with Walden began when I met Seth after one of the Walden performances at Emmanuel Church in Dublin. My wife and I have supported The Walden School and enjoyed various performances. Due to illness, I’m no longer able to play the piano or to arrange music, and nobody in my family is able to “take on” the instrument. I’m grateful to The Walden School and Dublin School for being able to make use of this special instrument.

What are your hopes for the piano’s future at Walden and Dublin School?

I hope that it makes chamber music at Walden and Dublin School sound great, and that it is useful as a training and learning instrument for serious musicians. My family and I continue to hope that we can enjoy hearing the lovely sound of this instrument in its new home played by talented people who enjoy it!


“It was a pleasure to inaugurate the arrival of a new Steinway to the Walden School campus and into the Walden family. This sensitive and dynamic instrument will not only complement the existing Yamaha and allow for two-piano and larger ensemble collaborations, but it will also provide students with a fantastic opportunity to perform on a world-class instrument. Steinway is truly the gold standard. As a Steinway artist myself, I am thrilled to see that one has been generously donated to Walden and installed in Dublin!”

eNews: InterNetzo – August 2023

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear Walden friend,

Greetings from San Francisco! I have returned home after another incredible Walden summer filled with camaraderie, creative musicianship, and many, many Composers Forums—170 world premieres!—along with hikes, dances, open mics, and so much more. From our Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) to our Young Musicians Program (YMP) and our joyous 50th-anniversary Alumni Reunion, it was a summer that honored the best of Walden’s traditions while reaching new heights in community building and artistic expression.

I hope you enjoy this edition of InterNetzo, with reflections from CMR Director Caroline Mallonee on this summer’s Creative Musicians Retreat and recaps of our successful summer fundraising events. Watch out for future editions of our newsletter to find retrospectives of this summer’s Young Musicians Program and our wonderful 2023 Alumni Reunion.

As Walden continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary—as well as 70 years since the founding of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program—I am filled with gratitude for our entire Walden/JCC family. The dedication to creativity and community shown by generations of Walden and JCC students, faculty, staff, visiting artists, and board members has made Walden and its transformative programs stronger than ever. In the coming months, I look forward to sharing more information with you about our ongoing commemoration of this milestone anniversary—and our exciting plans to usher in the next 50 years of Walden’s history.

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director

Reflecting on the 2023 Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR)

Carrie MalloneeFrom Caroline Mallonee, Director of CMR

The Walden School held another successful Creative Musicians Retreat this year. We were thrilled to return to Brewster Academy, whose stunning buildings in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, overlook Lake Winnipesaukee. Almost 40 participants between 19 and 89 years old enrolled in the retreat and joined together to form a warm community.

We performed music by Pauline Oliveros indoors and out, and we sang every day in the boathouse under the direction of Thomas Colohan. We heard 37 world premieres on Composers Forums, which were moderated by the amazingly talented and generous Amy Beth Kirsten. Our curriculum was as robust as ever (thanks to D. J. Sparr, Osnat Netzer, Renée Favand-See, Sam Pluta, and Alex Christie), and included pedagogy and musicianship classes, seminars on contemporary topics, and four different electronic music classes. There was more chamber music at CMR than ever, including music by György Kurtág and Igor Stravinsky, as well as faculty members Sam Pluta and Caroline Mallonee and past Walden composer-in-residence George Lewis.

Above: The amazing 2023 CMR faculty and staff
Above: The amazing 2023 CMR faculty and staff

Please save the date for our next alumni reunion! This summer, The Walden School is hosting a weekend of events to celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program.

Chorus in the boathouse with Thomas Colohan
Chorus in the boathouse with Thomas Colohan

A Composers Forum moderated by Amy Beth Kirsten and Caroline Mallonee
A Composers Forum moderated by Amy Beth Kirsten and Caroline Mallonee

We welcomed back veteran artists-in-residence David Friend (piano), Bonnie Whiting (percussion), and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble Josh Modney (violin) and Dan Lippel (guitar). And we were happy to welcome three members of the International Contemporary Ensemble to Walden for the first time: Rachel Beetz (flute), Jacqui Kerrod (harp), and Nicolee Kuester (horn). In addition to performing pieces on the Opening Concert and the Composers Forums, these incredible performers coached chamber groups, offered private lessons, and gave workshops. We were glad to have Teresa McCollough give two workshops on extended piano techniques. Participants even learned how to make their own “bows” for bowing inside the piano!

The 2023 CMR Artists-in-Residence
The 2023 CMR Artists-in-Residence

Some people said it was the best CMR ever! (Some people say this every year.) Director of Operations Sammi Stone and her amazing staff team (Francesca Hellerman, Luke Schroeder, Paul Zito, and Technical Director Ted Moore) ensured that everything ran smoothly. There were epic ping-pong matches, memorable fireside sing-alongs, and wacky and wonderful open mic performances.

We started CMR so that people of all ages could enjoy the unique musical community that Walden offers, and we are so happy to have realized that dream once again. I can’t wait for next year!

Renée Favand-See leads a Musicianship class
Renée Favand-See leads a Musicianship class

Students in an Electronic Music class
Students in an Electronic Music class

With best wishes,

Caroline Mallonee
Director, The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat

Fundraising Events

A recap of Walden’s July celebrations

Last month, Walden hosted two successful fundraising events during our Young Musicians Program (YMP).

On our July 25 online Giving Day, Walden friends near and far tuned in to our Facebook page as we shared videos of classes and choral rehearsals, interviews with students and faculty, a rehearsal of a student composition, and the first Composers Forum of our 2023 YMP Festival Week. We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did! Our goal was to raise $5,000 in honor of Walden’s 50th anniversary. With your support, we raised $7,156—143% of our goal. If you didn’t have a chance to see the videos on Giving Day, they will remain available here.

Donate today
Students holding a "Thank You" sign

On July 29, Walden held a 50th-anniversary celebration and fundraiser in New Hampshire. The afternoon began with a breathtaking solo recital by acclaimed violinist Miranda Cuckson, who has been visiting artist at Walden, both as a recitalist and as a member of The Walden School Players, Walden’s professional ensemble-in-residence during YMP. Cuckson performed works by a diverse selection of composers, ranging from J.S. Bach to Walden-affiliated composers Caroline Mallonee and Lei Liang.

The celebration continued at Windy Knowe, the home of Ellen and Ed Bernard in nearby Harrisville. The Bernards opened up their barn for a warm reception, featuring delicious drinks and bites and wonderful Walden community. Thank you, Ellen and Ed!

Donate today

Anne Haxo, an educator, member of Walden’s Board of Directors, and parent of Walden alumna and faculty member Cara Haxo, spoke movingly of how Walden has shaped her daughter’s life, both as a musician and a as person. Walden is a place where “everyone is brought into the circle,” and each student’s differences and unique contributions are celebrated—with lifechanging results. Thank you, Anne, for sharing your beautiful reflections on Walden.

We are so grateful to our host committee and all our event donors for their generosity. With their help, we raised $13,275 as part of this event.

Donate today
Anne Haxo speaking at the New Hampshire fundraiser
Anne Haxo gives remarks at the New Hampshire fundraiser

If you would like to support Walden’s 50th-anniversary season, it’s not too late! You are welcome to donate online or send a check to The Walden School at 7 Joost Avenue, Suite 204, San Francisco, CA 94131. You can support Walden’s 2023 summer with your gift by September 30, the end of our fiscal year.

Upcoming Community Event

A concert of new music in Denver, co-presented by The Walden School

Join members of Walden’s faculty, administration, and board for a special concert at First Universalist Church in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, September 30, at 2:30 pm Mountain Time.

Five Walden-affiliated composers will have works performed by the Wild Beautiful Orchestra, a dynamic collective of professionals and youth. The concert will also feature Kim Robards Dance, a professional modern dance touring company based in Denver.

Graphic promoting Walden concert in Denver on September 30

The Walden composers represented on this concert are Loretta Notareschi (YMP alumna and YMP and CMR faculty member), Bob Bassett (CMR alumnus member of Walden’s Board of Directors), Michael Frank (CMR alumnus), Chase Jordan (CMR alumnus), and Brandon Joung (YMP alumnus). Noah Mlotek, Walden’s Director of Development and Alumni Relations, will also represent Walden at the concert.

All ages are welcome. Tickets are $20 for adults, free for kids. First Universalist Church is an accessible venue with a dedicated parking lot. For tickets, navigate here.

We hope to see many Walden friends for what promises to be a magical musical afternoon, with a delicious reception sponsored by The Walden School. Come and bring your friends who are interested in learning more about Walden and hearing some fascinating new music!

Community News

John Weaver at the organSecond annual John Weaver Memorial Organ Concert presented in Portland, Maine

An organ concert celebrating the late John Weaver, a Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumnus and faculty member, was performed on the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine, where John concertized annually for half a century. The concert was performed in August by Grammy-award-winning organist Paul Jacobs, a former student of Weaver’s, who now chairs the organ department at the Juilliard Conservatory.

"Luminous" album cover

Nnenna Ogwo releases new album

Pianist Nnenna Ogwo—a YMP and CMR alumna, past YMP faculty member and visiting artist, and former Walden board member—has released a new album of solo piano performances on MSR Classics. Luminous features works by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Ulysses Kay, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Bach-Brahms, and Ogwo herself. The album was released as part of Ogwo’s Juneteenth Legacy Project and dedicated to the memory of her mother, Carmen Hague.

Davey Hiester with a bassoon

Davey Hiester wins concerto competition

On Thursday, July 6th, after a three-round competition over multiple weeks, conductors Kazem Abdullah and Kraig Allan Williams named YMP alumnus Davey Hiester as a winner of the 2023 Jan and Beattie Wood Concerto Competition at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. On July 30, Davey performed the first movement of Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto, including his own cadenza, with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra, the festival’s professional ensemble. Congratulations, Davey!

Nicholas Lell Benavides

Opera by Nicholas Benavides previewed in San Francisco

Dolores, a new opera with music by Teacher Training Institute (TTI) alumnus Nicolás Lell Benavides, was presented in an hourlong orchestra preview in San Francisco on August 13. The opera, with a libretto by Marella Martin Koch, follows the story of labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, focusing on the period around the assassination of her friend and ally Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Benavides is a cousin of Huerta, and he spent time with her to learn her story in preparation for composing the opera. Dolores was commissioned by West Edge Opera and will have a rolling premiere in 2024/25.

"Set" album cover

Dana Jessen releases solo album

Bassoonist Dana Jessen, a past YMP faculty member, past visiting artist as part of Splinter Reeds, and past member of The Walden School Players, has released her latest solo album, Set, featuring compositions by composer and electronic musician Taylor Brook. Set presents a collaborative album-length electro-acoustic work that combines through-composed and improvised sections. The album was released on New Focus Recordings, an artist-led collective label cofounded by guitarist Dan Lippel, a Walden visiting artist as member of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Arte Warren

Arté Warren begins graduate studies in education

Arté Warren, a YMP alumnus who has also been a staff member at YMP and CMR, has graduated from Morgan State University with a B.A. in music and will earn his M.A. in teaching from Morgan State next year. His accomplishments were highlighted in a newsletter from the Baltimore Bridges proram, which has supported him and other Baltimore students in attending Walden’s YMP. Arté credited Bridges with introducing him to Walden, which gave him “a circle of connections and peers.” At Morgan State, Arté played marching and symphonic bands, was a member of a national honor band fraternity, and served as a music education intern at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, his alma mater.

Wendy Griffiths

Wendy Griffiths premieres new work 

CMR alumna Wendy Griffiths premiered a new work, Watching Birds, along with her band Changing Modes in Brooklyn. Wendy is a keyboard player, singer, and bassist in the band, which “leap[s] from one radically dissimilar style to another with gusto, guile, and a tunefulness that won’t quit” (Lucid Culture). The concert, a double billing with the ensemble Double Entendre, was held at Soapbox Gallery on Wednesday, August 30. The livestream of the concert will remain available on the Soapbox website for two more days.

Joel St. Julien

Joel St. Julien featured on KQED Sunday Music Drop

CMR alumnus and YMP parent Joel St. Julien was featured on Bay Area radio station KQED’s Sunday Music Drop. The radio and online feature explored the song “Masking Two” from St. Julien’s album Masking, released in June 2022, which is “is a collage of samples that incorporate his voice, guitar, and synthesizer” (KQED). In the feature, St. Julien describes his inspirations and intentions for the song, including the process of healing and the natural beauty of the Bay Area.

Steve Messner welcomes grandson

CMR alumnus and Walden School Board member Steve Messner welcomed his first grandchild on July 14. Congratulations to Steve and his family, and welcome to baby Ari!

We want to hear from you!

What’s been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – April 2023

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear Walden friend,

As warm weather returns, we at Walden are warming up for an incredible season of creative music making and celebration!

I invite you join us at two upcoming benefit concerts marking Walden’s 50th anniversary:

New York: Sunday, May 7, from 4 to 6 pm

Washington, DC: Saturday, May 13, from 4 to 6 pm

Read on for more details about these celebrations, featuring two great pianists in spectacular venues!

We are also busily planning our Walden/Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) Alumni Reunion over the weekend of August 4–6. We hope you will make plans to join us at this very special gathering of the Walden and JCC communities in Dublin, New Hampshire.

There are just a few spots left in our 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR). Applications are being considered on a rolling basis, so apply now and spread the word to any creative musicians who may be interested in learning more about Walden! Read on for more information.

I hope you enjoy this edition of InterNetzo, with updates on exciting Walden events and lots of community news. Plus, Tamar Bloch shares her reflections in anticipation of this summer’s Walden/JCC reunion. A luminary of both Walden and JCC, Tamar’s brilliant teaching and generous spirit have made a lasting impact on generations of students.

I hope to connect with you at a Walden program, fundraiser, or reunion soon!

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director

Community Events

Join us for a Walden/JCC alumni reunion: August 4–6!

Attendees at the 2018 Walden/JCC reunion
Attendees at the 2018 Walden/JCC reunion

Please save the date for our next alumni reunion! This summer, The Walden School is hosting a weekend of events to celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program.


During the weekend of August 4–6, 2023, dozens of alumni and Walden friends will gather on the Dublin School campus to experience a bit of the Walden/JCC magic once again. We hope you will make plans to join us!

Registration will be available soon on our website, but we encourage you to email us now at alumni@waldenschool.org to let us know of your interest or to ask us any questions you might have as you begin to make your plans to come to New Hampshire in August!

Nicole Mitchell celebrated with portrait concert

Nicole Mitchell
Nicole Mitchell (photo by Caitlin Ochs, courtesy Miller Theater)

Acclaimed composer, flutist, and poet Nicole Mitchell was the subject of a Composer Portrait concert presented by the International Contemporary Ensemble at Columbia University’s Miller Theater on March 30. Mitchell, whose music defies classification and celebrates contemporary African-American culture, will be joining the Walden community as Composer-in-Residence at this summer’s Young Musicians Program (YMP). A review in I Care If You Listen stated that “each work was a masterful display of composition and musicality.” Several past Walden visiting artists were among the featured performers, including Isabel Lepanto Gleicher (flute), Joshua Rubin (clarinets), Mazz Swift (violin), and Clara Warnaar (percussion). Congratulations to all on a wonderful performance and discussion! We at Walden are incredibly excited for our YMP students to have the opportunity to learn from Nicole Mitchell this summer.

International Contemporary Ensemble performers, including Isabel Lepanto Gleicher (flute), by Rob Davidson (photo courtesy Miller Theater)

Fundraising Events

Spring events infographic

Two exciting Walden celebrations—join us and invite your friends!

As we celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary, our season of in-person benefit events is in full swing. If you are in or around New York or Washington, DC, please join us for these exciting Walden fundraising events, featuring music, refreshments, and Walden community in spectacular venues. And spread the word to any friends, family members, or other contacts in these cities who might be interested in learning about and supporting Walden!

New York City

Salmagundi Club Skylight GallerySunday, May 7
4 to 6 pm

Acclaimed jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, a Walden alumnus, will perform in the Skylight Gallery at Salmagundi Club, a historic arts club south of Union Square. Don’t miss Walden’s first in-person fundraiser in New York in three years!

DACOR Bacon House exteriorWashington, DC

Saturday, May 13
4 to 6 pm

Join us for a very special performance by pianist Pedja Mužijević, a former Walden faculty member and current Artistic Administrator of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York. Pedja will perform a richly varied program, ranging from Haydn, Schumann, and Chopin to Morton Feldman and George Crumb. This event will be held at the DACOR Bacon House, a private club and historic residence located near the White House.

For more information or to RSVP, email donors@waldenschool.org or call (415) 587-8157.

Donate today

Summer 2023 Programs

Apply to Walden today!

Students clapping at an outdoor concert

There are still a few spots available in our 2023 summer programs. We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until the spots are filled:

Creative Musicians Retreat: June 10 – June 18, 2023, at Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (for musicians ages 18–98)

Young Musicians Program: June 24 – July 30, 2023, at Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire (for pre-college musicians, ages 9–18)

Application materials for both programs are available here.

Spring application deadline: April 5

Write to us with any questions.

Walden is Hiring!

Join our teamStudent and staff member at outdoor concert

Walden is hiring for two exciting positions. We are seeking new teammates to join our creative community, and we hope that you might help spread the word about these opportunities to your friends and colleagues.

The positions currently open are:

2023 Young Musicians Program Camp Nurse (June–July, 2023; Dublin, NH)

Administrative Manager (full-time, year-round position in our San Francisco office)

Read the job postings to learn more! Please direct any questions and inquiries to us at jobs@waldenschool.org. All positions are open until filled.

In the Spotlight

Tamar Bloch on Walden/JCC reunions

Tamar Bloch

Tamar Bloch was a student during the last four summers (1969–1972) of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), the predecessor program to The Walden School. Tamar went on to teach at Walden for many summers between 1975 and 2004, and she has also attended Walden’s Teacher Training Institute (TTI). Tamar is a longtime champion of JCC and Walden’s distinctive pedagogy, and she is a beloved presence in the lives of generations of Walden students. She lives in Rhinebeck, New York, with her husband, musicologist Peter Laki.

Here, Tamar shares reflections on Walden and JCC while looking forward to the Walden/JCC reunion that will be held the weekend of August 4–6 in Dublin, New Hampshire. This reunion will celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the founding of JCC by Mrs. Grace Newsom Cushman. Join us this summer to reconnect with Tamar and other wonderful Walden and JCC alums!

On her experience at JCC and Walden

I was a student in the last four summers at JCC. Going to JCC and teaching at Walden laid the groundwork for a lot of things in my life. It really informed my approach to teaching and listening, and it opened my ears to new music. When I was 16 or 17 at JCC, we analyzed Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children, which today might not seem so radical. But in the early 70s, that was radical. We were weirdos in high school; I was interested in Schoenberg. At JCC I found my people. That’s what Walden and JCC are about, finding your people and this way of teaching that opens you up.

From left to right, Andrea Loukin, Ellen Hoffman, Georgia Cushman (holding ferns), Humphrey Evans, and Tamar Bloch at JCC (photo courtesy Tamar Bloch)

On relationships formed at JCC and Walden

There’s also the social aspect; dealing with people who you might have differences with. And there’s a mentoring aspect to the relationship with students, which is a 24-hour relationship—except when you sleep! There’s a deep level of caring and respect. There are so many people who were my students, and then they were my colleagues, and now quite a few of them have become very successful professionally. It’s very heartwarming to see that.

I’m still in touch with many of the people I knew from JCC: Ellen Hoffman (my husband, Peter, and I just took a class with her via Zoom and it was just fabulous); my former roommates Robin Seto, in Hawaii, and Sheree Clement, in Jackson Heights, New York; Jeff Cohen, who’s in Paris; and Matt Hunter, who is a violist in the Berlin Philharmonic. And Marilyn Crispell lives 20 minutes from me, so we see each other. I think it’s extraordinary that that these friendships still continue through the decades. When I lived in Hungary, Walden was home for me when I would come back to teach in the summers. And I think a lot of people feel that way.

Walden student Shayla Cheeks with Tamar at Walden

On Grace Newsom Cushman, the founder of JCC

Mrs. Cushman (at right) after a forum at JCC (photo credit: Dr. Edward Max)

To me, it’s just amazing that one woman started this all in the 1950s. She just loaded these kids on a bus from Baltimore and went up to Vermont. How crazy is that? No one did that. And the curriculum she wrote is just phenomenal. It’s open enough so that the curriculum stays fundamentally the same, but it can be changed. Which is incredibly hard to do. She really was quite revolutionary. I’ve always thought she could be the subject of a book or dissertation.

What Mrs. Cushman created at JCC is now an intentional community at Walden. The same gestalt lives on. The idea of having a beautiful place to live away from the hubbub of the city is part of it. You’re up here for a certain number of weeks out of the summer.

On Walden/JCC reunions

I’ve been to three or four reunions. At the last one I attended, there were some wonderful classes. I remember Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy did an impromptu workshop on Indian music and dance. The dances were great, and the Composers Forums—I actually moderated one or two. But it’s mainly the music making and camaraderie that are so special.

I also enjoyed meeting people from JCC that I’d never met because I was in the last bunch. It was great to talk with the previous generation of JCCers who had the same memories of Mrs. Cushman as I did. At the Zoom reunion a couple of years ago, I remember we talked about how none of us has ever thrown out anything which Mrs. C sent to us—a lot of which I’m finding now that I’m clearing out my apartment. So there’s a real connection. And I don’t know that that exists at all summer music programs.

Tamar Bloch, David Drucker, and Flora Cushman at the 2007 Walden/JCC reunion (photo courtesy David Drucker)

Remembering those we’ve lost

At a reunion, it’s also important to honor the people who have died, like Lance Reddick, whom I was really looking forward to seeing. Lance was a student and colleague at Walden. I knew him when he was a teenager. There’s David Hogan, there’s Flora and Georgia Cushman, Lynn Taylor Hebden, Paul Nauert, and John and Marianne Weaver. And more recently we lost Peter Krag.

Humphrey Evans III was a student and on faculty at JCC, and he sadly died in 1982. He was my teacher and mentor and just an off-the-charts musician. I found an analysis we did together of the Eroica, and his handwritten manuscript was just gorgeous. Now there’s someone named David Victor Feldman who’s gathering Humphrey’s recordings and scores and documenting his life. I recently did an interview with him about Humphrey. It’s important to remember these extraordinary people.

Why you should come to the Walden/JCC reunion!

The Walden School sign at the Mountain School, Walden’s home campus from 1976 to 1982

It’s a milestone reunion for Walden and for JCC. And it could also be the last time that some people might be able to make it there. Because you know, there’s not a reunion every year. So I think it’s very important to connect. And it’s always different in person than on Zoom; it’s multidimensional in person. I hope people from near and far will make the trip to celebrate this landmark and to share memories and experiences. I think it’s very important.


Community News

Lisa Bielawa and Nicole MitchellNicole Mitchell and Lisa Bielawa honored with Guggenheim Fellowships

Nicole Mitchell and Lisa Bielawa were among the ten composers awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships. Lisa Bielawa (upper photo) was Composer-in-Residence at Walden’s 2020 Online Creative Musicians Experience (OCME). Nicole Mitchell (lower photo) will be Composer-in-Residence at the Young Musicians Program (YMP) this summer. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awards fellowships in 48 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields. Fellowships are awarded on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. Congratulations to these two inspiring artists!

Stacy Garrop

Stacy Garrop and Walden at the San Francisco Symphony 

On a series of concerts in April, the San Francisco Symphony performed Spectacle of Light by YMP alumna and former faculty member Stacy Garrop. The concerts also featured the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, which includes several Waldenites: YMP faculty member Lukáš Janata, Executive Director Seth Brenzel, administrative assistant Elizabeth Susskind, bookkeeper Brielle Neilson, and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) alumnus Drew Kravin. Congratulations to all! A new work by Stacy Garrop, Terra Nostra, will be premiered in San Francisco by the San Francisco Choral Society on April 29.Annie Gosfield

Annie Gosfield awarded OPERA America Discovery Grant

Annie Gosfield was one of eight exceptional composers selected as recipients of 2023 Discovery Grants from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Composers program. Gosfield has been Composer-in-Residence at Both of Walden’s programs. The grant will support the development of a new opera by Gosfield entitled Peggy and Jackson, which explores the relationship between art collector Peggy Guggenheim and the iconic painter Jackson Pollock. Among the panelists who selected the grant recipients was CMR alumna Laura Jobin-Acosta.

Aurora Nealand

Aurora Nealand featured on new album

Multi-instrumentalist Aurora Nealand is featured on an adventurous album by a newly formed trio alongside saxophonist Tim Berne and cellist Hank Roberts. On Oceans And, Nealand contributes accordion, bass clarinet, and voice. Nealand is a former YMP faculty member, a CMR alumna, and a frequent visiting artist at Walden, where she will return during this summer’s YMP for a popular outdoor concert of New Orleans jazz.

Lukas Janata

Lukáš Janata releases videos of recent performances

YMP faculty member Lukáš Janata has released a video recording of the premiere of his work Silver Lining, for cello and percussion. The unique performance took place in February in Helsinki, Finland, in the Vapaan Taiteen Tila, a resonant former bomb shelter that is now used as an arts space. And in March, Lukáš presented his piece Mezi Horami, for piano, violin, and cello, and voice, at the San Francisco Conservatory, with Lukáš playing the piano part and singing. A video of the performance is available hereMezi Horami received its premiere at Walden’s YMP last summer as part of the School’s Faculty Commissioning Concert. Lukáš will return as a faculty member at YMP this summer.

Cara Haxo

Choral work by Cara Haxo premiered

A new work by Cara Haxo was premiered on April 2 by the Cleveland Chamber Choir as part of a collaboration with the Cleveland Composers Guild. A review at clevelandclassical.com stated that Haxo’s Sea Grass and another work by Inna Onfrei “made fine impressions and additions to the choral repertory.” Cara Haxo is a YMP alumna and a former YMP faculty member and academic dean.

Andrea Grody

Andrea Grody nominated for Olivier Award 

YMP alumna Andrea Grody was nominated for an Olivier Award for her work on the critically acclaimed musical The Band’s Visit. Grody was the music director, music supervisor, and additional arranger for the musical’s Broadway production, which won 10 Tony Awards. The Band’s Visit is now playing in London’s West End. The Olivier Awards are Britain’s most prestigious theater awards.

Eric Wubbels

Eric Wubbels joins Peabody composition faculty

Composer and pianist Eric Wubbels has been appointed to the composition faculty at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, joining current Walden faculty member Sam Pluta and former faculty member Sky Macklay at one of the most sought-after composition programs in the world. Wubbels has been a visiting artist at Walden for several summers, both as a member of The Walden School Players and with the Wet Ink Ensemble, of which he is the co-director and which also includes Sam Pluta.

Paul Moravec

Paul Moravec’s The Shining featured in Opera News

The Shining, an opera with a score by Paul Moravec, was performed by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in March. The production was lauded by Opera News, which praised Moravec’s “dazzling, sophisticated score.” The opera, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, will be reprised by Opera Parallèle in San Francisco from June 4–6. Paul Moravec is a past Composer-in-Residence at YMP.

We want to hear from you!

What's been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – February 2023

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear Walden friend,

I hope your 2023 is off to a wonderful start! As the hours of sunlight grow longer, we are dreaming of long, bright summer days at Walden, filled with music and joy.

This year is the 50th anniversary of Walden’s founding. I am excited to celebrate that milestone with all of you at events throughout the year, including an Alumni Reunion in Dublin, New Hampshire, during the weekend of August 4–6! Stay tuned for more details about what is sure to be a memorable gathering of the Walden and Junior Conservatory Camp communities.

We are still accepting applications for our 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR). Read on for information about program dates and locations, the application deadline, and upcoming YMP info sessions. And please spread the word to any creative musicians who may be interested in learning more about Walden!

I hope you enjoy this edition of InterNetzo, which features an interview with YMP alumna Ofurhe Igbinedion and her mother, Rita Lewis, both of whom are longtime donors to Walden. I am inspired by their support for Walden and by the lasting positive impact Walden has had on their family.

I hope to see you at a Walden event or program soon!

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director

Join us for a Walden School/Junior Conservatory Camp Alumni Reunion!

Save the date: August 4–6, 2023

We are delighted to invite you to save the date for our next alumni reunion! This summer, The Walden School is hosting a weekend of events to celebrate Walden’s 50th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program.

During the weekend of August 4–6, 2023, dozens of alumni and Walden friends will gather on the Dublin School campus to experience a bit of the Walden/JCC magic once again. We hope you will make plans to join us!

Registration will be available soon on our website, but you are welcome to email us now at alumni@waldenschool.org to let us know of your plans to attend.

The Dublin School campus
The Dublin School campus

Summer 2023 Programs

Apply to be part of Walden 2023!

We are still accepting applications for our summer 2023 programs:

Creative Musicians Retreat: June 10 – June 18, 2023, at Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (for musicians ages 18–98)

Young Musicians Program: June 24 – July 30, 2023, at Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire (for pre-college musicians, ages 9–18)

Application materials for both programs are available here.

Spring application deadline: April 5

Write to us with any questions.

Upcoming Fundraising Events

Saturday, March 11: A Walden 50th-Anniversary Celebration in San Francisco

Del Sol Quartet

Join The Walden School as it celebrates 50 years of lives transformed through experiential music education. To honor its legacy and support its future, Walden is hosting a reception and concert in San Francisco that will raise funds for student scholarships and the School’s world-class artist residencies.

Del Sol Quartet, a past Walden visiting ensemble, will perform music by Chen YiPamela Z, and Michael Gilbertson—composers who have taught, performed, or been in residence at Walden—among others. Hailed by Gramophone as “masters of all musical things they survey” and two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Del Sol Quartet champions music by living artists, exploring social change, technology, and artistic innovation.

Join us for refreshments, music, and community at this very special Walden benefit event! For more information, email donors@waldenschool.org or call (415) 587-8157.

Donate today

Plans for additional spectacular Walden benefit events are in the works, so stay tuned for more updates!

Walden is hiring

Join our summer team

A class at the Young Musicians Program

Walden is hiring for 2023 summer positions at our programs in New Hampshire. We are seeking new teammates to join our creative community, and we hope that you might help spread the word about these opportunities to your friends and colleagues.

The positions currently open are:

  • Faculty Member—Young Musicians Program (June–July, 2023; Dublin, NH)
  • Staff Member—Young Musicians Program (June–July, 2023; Dublin, NH)

Please direct any questions and inquiries to us at jobs@waldenschool.org. All positions are open until filled.

Community Events

A Walden holiday party in New York

On January 22, Walden held a wonderful winter get-together in New York—our first Walden holiday party since 2020! Executive Director Seth Brenzel and Development Director Noah Mlotek were joined by Walden alumni, faculty, staff, board members, parents, and artists for a festive potluck gathering. Thanks to all who attended for an afternoon full of Walden community, delicious food, and spontaneous group singing! And a special thank you to Yvetta Fedorova and Scott Menchin for hosting us.

Attendees at the Walden holiday party in New York

Walden at the International Contemporary Ensemble Gala

A group from Walden’s administration and board were honored to attend the International Contemporary Ensemble’s 20th anniversary gala on January 23 in New York. The spectacular event celebrated the Ensemble’s founder, Claire Chase, a past visiting artist at Walden, and its Artistic Director, George Lewis, a past Composer-in-Residence at both of Walden’s programs. There was also a moving tribute in memory of Ryan Muncy, an Ensemble member, a breathtakingly talented saxophonist, and a beloved member of the Walden community, where he was a visiting artist during multiple summers at both the Young Musicians Program and the Creative Musicians Retreat. There were many Walden alumni, friends, and supporters who attended this celebratory evening, and all of us at Walden are honored to be part of the International Contemporary Ensemble community.

Top: Walden Executive Director Seth Brenzel, Alex Johnston, Board member Kate Valenta, and Development Director Noah Mlotek Bottom: George Lewis and Claire Chase
Top: Walden Executive Director Seth Brenzel, Alex Johnston, Board member Kate Valenta, and Development Director Noah Mlotek; Bottom: George Lewis and Claire Chase (Photos courtesy of International Contemporary Ensemble)

Young Musicians Program (YMP) Information Sessions

Join us at one of our online interactive information sessions led by Walden’s Executive Director, Seth Brenzel, alongside YMP faculty and staff members.

Learn more and register for one of the info sessions below:

Tuesday, February 28, 2022, at 7 pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 7 pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific

These events are open to prospective students, music teachers, and anyone else who would like to learn more about Walden’s award-winning Young Musicians Program—the music camp that changes lives.

Young Musicians Program info session graphic

Walden on the Road

Walden faculty, staff, and administration members will be participating in two upcoming conventions, spreading the word about Walden’s award-winning programs:

The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference is being held in Cincinnati, February 22–25. Look for Walden’s Director of Operations, Sammi Stone, at booth #114 in the Duke Energy Center Grand Ballroom. Kari Francis, Choral Director at the Young Musicians Program (YMP), and Sarah Riskind, who formerly held that role, will also be at the booth for part of the conference.

The Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Conference will be in Reno, Nevada, at the Nugget Casino Resort, March 25–29. Look for Executive Director Seth Brenzel and Director of Operations Sammi Stone at booth #612.

If you’re planning to attend one of these conventions, stop by and say hello! And please spread the word to any choral directors or music teachers who might be interested.

In the Spotlight

Rita Lewis and Ofurhe Igbinedion

Rita Lewis and Ofurhe Igbinedion

Ofurhe Igbinedion attended the Young Musicians Program (YMP) from 1999 through 2001. She recently completed a PhD in Geography at the University of California at Davis and works as a transportation planner for the Oakland Department of Transportation.

Her mother, Rita Lewis, has worked as a Registered Nurse for 30 years. She lives in Emeryville, California.

Veda Igbinedion, Ofurhe’s brother and Rita’s son, also attended YMP for one summer. He works as an attorney in the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

Rita and Ofurhe are longtime donors to Walden, and they both have set up recurring gifts through Walden’s online donation platform.

How did you and your family first get involved with Walden?

Ofurhe: My first year at the Young Musicians Program (YMP) was 1999. My brother, Veda, had gone the year before me. I remember being impressed when Veda came home from Walden with a piece of music that he wrote. I just thought it was like the coolest thing. I didn’t realize that was something you could do, you know?

I did piano and ballet, and I had been to Interlochen in my fourth-grade summer. And then I went to Walden the summer after that. I went to Walden for three summers. In high school I ended up going to boarding school in Vermont, not far from the Dublin School. So I feel like Walden kind of prepared me for boarding school.

Our summers were always filled with academic camps. Coming from a family with a single mom who was working, we had to do something in the summers. And I’m a nerd. I love school, but over the summers I got to choose which subjects I wanted to spend more time with. And I can’t spend enough time playing music.

Rita: I first learned about Walden by seeing a poster at the former Tupper & Reed music store in Berkeley. When my son, Veda, went, he was the youngest kid there at age ten. He had a wonderful time and came home with his first composition. His first week at Walden he went to the music store, and the first CD he bought was of Thelonious Monk in Paris, and I thought: I have the coolest kid! That’s what first established our family’s relationship with Walden.

I also want to mention that Walden has always been very generous with us and given financial aid. I was a single parent with two kids, and I feel very, very grateful and responsible to pay that forward to the extent I can. I just can’t say enough about how Walden has augmented my children’s musical education, especially in giving them choral singing experience. Veda was involved in choral singing from a very young age and went on to sing in a cappella groups in high school and at Williams College, which has a wonderful music program. And when Ofurhe was at the University of Chicago, which can be cold and grim at times, she was in the choir. I went to visit her there and saw the room that they practice in. It’s this beautiful old wood-paneled room with leaded glass ivy in the windows. And I just thought how wonderful it was that she could do this every day. I feel like that gift was very much established from her experience at Walden, not to mention the friendships that she made.

Ofurhe: That’s totally true. Pretty much all of my college social life was from Motet Choir. When I went to audition, being able to say that I had experience with movable-do solfege from Walden, I was able to breeze through the audition. I had to sight-read something, and when I made a mistake, the director told me I could actually go through it using solfege. And then I was able to sing through it, because I knew the intervals. All of my musicianship that has stuck with me is from what I learned at Walden.

Rita Lewis, Veda Igbinedion, and Ofurhe Igbinedion

What are some highlights of your time at Walden or of Walden’s impact on your life?

Ofurhe: One of the biggest things about Walden, aside from the musicianship, is the friendships. My two best friends there were Hamilton Sims and Marguerite Ladd. They were the best, and we were pretty inseparable when we were there. We took all our courses together and would spend all our time together. And between summers, we would e-mail and use AOL Instant Messenger. So just like Walden musicianship made me a good musician, I feel like my friendships from Walden made me a good friend. They taught me to navigate friendships across the country. That was really tricky and I think we got pretty good at it, and that’s something that has been really helpful for me.

Rita: With both my kids, Walden helped them have this comfort level with being away from home and cultivated their independence. Anyone I know with a kid who’s like musically inclined, I tell them to check this out. I’m always telling people Walden has been the greatest thing for our family. My kids went to boarding school. They went away to college, and they’re such good travelers. I just can’t say enough good things about Walden to people I encounter, and in fact just the other day I forwarded the info sessions that are coming up to several people. And I’m very fond of Seth and Malcolm. I’ve known them for a long time.

Ofurhe: I remember we helped them stuff envelopes for Walden fundraising appeals.

Why do you give to Walden, and why give a recurring gift?

Ofurhe: We got a lot of financial aid, and I want to be able to pay that forward. I did a lot of academic camps, I just finished a PhD at UC Davis, and so I’ve had a lot of school and I get a lot of alumni giving appeals, and I don’t always pay them much attention. But when Walden comes around, I feel like I need this institution to survive. It was really important to me, and I want other people to have that.

Rita: I just feel so warm and fuzzy about Walden, and I’m a little jealous that I never got to go there. I hope that we will go as a family sometime to experience Walden together. So I just have nothing but fond feelings, and I feel so fortunate that I happened to see that poster at Tupper & Reed, which isn’t even there anymore.

Community News

Marcos Balter and Amy Beth KirstenMarcos Balter and Amy Beth Kirsten receive Koussevitzky Foundation commissions

Two recent Walden Composers-in-Residence have won commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation, operated by the Library of Congress. The commissions are granted jointly by the foundation and by the performing ensembles that will premiere each work. Marcos Balter, who has been Composer-in-Residence at both the Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR), has been commissioned to compose a work for the New York New Music Ensemble. Amy Beth (A.B.) Kirsten, who was the Composer-in-Residence at YMP last summer—and who will reprise that role at CMR this year—was commissioned to write for Sandbox Percussion. Congratulations, Marcos and A.B.!

Caroline Mallonee

Carrie’s carols

Caroline Mallonee, director of Walden’s Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR), has written six new Christmas/winter/solstice pieces in the last two years, including three Christmas pieces premiered this winter. Two of them (One Silver Star and Christmas Comes Again) were commissioned by the San Francisco Choral Artists, for which Carrie serves as composer-not-in-residence. (She lives in Buffalo, where wintry inspiration is more easily found.) And The Kings They Came was premiered by the Vocalis Chamber Choir, in which Carrie sings. More about Carrie’s winter music, which is available from J.W. Pepper, can be found on her website.

Michael Poll holding a guitar

Michael Poll joins Cornell music department as postdoctoral fellow

Past YMP visiting artist Michael Poll, a conductor and classical guitarist, has joined the music department at Cornell University as a fellow after receiving his doctorate from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. At Cornell, he conducts the 60-voice university Chorale. Congratulations, Michael!

New work by Freya Waley-Cohen premiered in the Netherlands

A new work by Young Musicians Program (YMP) alumna Freya Waley-CohenVariation on Sellenger’s Round, was premiered by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta in a series of concerts across the Netherlands from February 10 through 17. A recent conversation with Waley-Cohen, touching on her musical inspirations and career highlights, can be found here.

Michael Gilbertson’s music featured on GRAMMY-winning album

An album featuring the music of former YMP faculty member Michael Gilbertson won the GRAMMY award for Best Choral Performance. The album, Born: Music of Edie Hill and Michael Gilbertson, was performed by the chamber choir The Crossing and conductor Donald Nally. It includes Gilbertson’s compositions Born and Returning, both commissioned by The Crossing. Congratulations to Michael and all involved! You can hear Michael’s music at the March 11 Walden fundraising event in San Francisco. See above for more details.

Stacey Philipps releases Gathering Rounds

CMR alumna Stacey Philipps has released a new collection of original rounds and canons for choirs. Gathering Rounds, available on her website, offers a round or canon for each week of the year featuring poetry and prose by women. Philipps is a multi-instrumentalist and lifelong singer currently in the alto section of the Oregon Repertory Singers, as well as the Composer-in-Residence for the ​Oregon Repertory Singers Youth Choir.

Bob Bassett chamber work premiered

A new work by Walden Board member and CMR alumnus Bob Bassett was premiered by the Front Range Chamber Players: Ivy Street Ensemble. Quintessence, which was commissioned by the ensemble, was performed in Denver on February 11, and will be played again on February 28 in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Denise Ondishko work premiered in Wales

A new saxophone quartet by Denise Ondishko was premiered by the UK-based Laefer QuartetStar Cluster was performed on November 25 in Dora Stoutzker Hall at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff. Denise is a YMP alumna and a former Walden staff member, faculty member, and Board member.

Ted Moore featured on two new albums

Composer, improvisor, and intermedia artist Ted Moore is featured on two new albums from Mother Brain Records: Live in London (released December 2022) and Nuclear Sonic Fusion (released January 2023). Ted contributes improvised electronics to both albums. A former faculty member at both YMP and CMR, Ted will return to Walden this summer as Technical Director for CMR.

Chris Wild conducting an orchestra

Chris Wild appointed conductor of Wabash Valley Youth Symphony

Cellist and conductor Chris Wild, a many-time member of The Walden School Players, has begun a new position as conductor of the Wabash Valley Youth Symphony (WVYS). Based in the growing city of West Lafayette, Indiana, the WVYS serves students throughout central Indiana’s Wabash River valley, including the communities surrounding Purdue University. Chris led his first concert with the orchestra on February 12. Congratulations, Chris!

Josh Modney premiere livestreamed

Firelight, a new piano quintet by Josh Modney, was premiered on December 30 in a livestreamed program sponsored in part by the Queens Council on the Arts. The performance can be viewed here. Josh is a frequent Walden visiting artist, most recently at YMP in 2022 with the International Contemporary Ensemble. The performers included other past Walden visiting artists Mariel Roberts and Cory Smythe.

Michael Kropf headshotMichael Kropf starts university teaching position

Michael Kropf has recently been appointed as a Lecturer in Music Theory at the Eastern Michigan University School of Music and Dance. This semester, he is teaching Analytical Techniques. Michael will return to Walden as a faculty member and academic dean at YMP in 2023.

Lukáš Janata delivers talk at San Francisco Symphony

YMP faculty member and CMR alumnus Lukáš Janata, a Czech composer who lives and works in San Francisco, gave a pre-concert lecture at the San Francisco Symphony on February 12. The concert was an all-Czech program of Dvořák and Jan Václav Voříšek, conducted by the Symphony’s Conductor Laureate, Herbert Blomstedt. Lukáš was honored to meet and talk with the 95-year maestro.

Eric Huebner praised for performance with Blomstedt

In other Walden-Blomstedt news, pianist Eric Huebner was singled out in the New York Times as “strong and unflappable” for his playing in a concert with the maestro. Eric provided “pounding clusters . . . and shimmering plucks and strums of the strings inside his instrument” in the New York Philharmonic’s February 2 performance of Ingvar Lidholm’s Poesis, a work that Blomstedt premiered in Stockholm 59 years ago. Eric was a visiting artist at Walden for many summers.

We want to hear from you!

What's been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – December 2022

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear Walden friend,

The holiday season is upon us, and we are gearing up for another wonderful Walden year in 2023.

I’m thrilled to announce that applications are now open for our 2023 Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR). Read on for information about program dates and locations, application deadlines, and upcoming YMP info sessions. And spread the word to any creative musicians who may be interested in learning more about Walden!

This edition of InterNetzo also features competitions for young composers, along with plenty of exciting community news. Plus, Walden merch is on sale, so if you’re looking for a great holiday gift, be sure to check it out.

I wish you all the best this holiday season, and I hope to see you at a Walden event or program soon!

Best wishes,

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director

#GivingTuesday Success

Thank you to the many generous supporters who collectively contributed $3,345 to Walden’s Annual Fund on #GivingTuesday, far surpassing our goal of raising $2,023 for Walden’s summer 2023 programs!

#GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity, supporting our communities and the organizations we love. Walden’s amazing donor community keeps us thriving—THANK YOU.

It’s not too late to support Walden this holiday season. Any day is a good day to give the gift of music!

Summer 2023 Programs

Apply to be part of Walden 2023!

We are now accepting applications for summer 2023. We hope you (and your friends, family members, acquaintances, and neighbors!) will apply to join us at one of our programs next summer.

Creative Musicians Retreat: June 10 - June 18, 2023, at Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (for musicians ages 18-98)

Young Musicians Program: June 24 - July 30, 2023, at Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire (for pre-college musicians, ages 9-18)

Application materials for both programs are available on our website.

Application deadlines:

Early Round: Applications due December 21
Regular Round: Applications due February 1
Final Round: Applications due April 5

Write to us with any questions.

Walden Holiday Parties

The holiday season is just around the corner! Walden community members will be gathering for holiday potlucks in cities throughout the country in December and January. Look for an email announcement of dates and cities soon, and if you are interested in hosting a party in your area or want to learn more in the meantime about these upcoming gatherings, please email us. We are so grateful to the many volunteers who have hosted Walden holiday parties over the years.

Currently, we have one party scheduled, with more to come:

New York: Sunday, January 22, 2023, 3-5 pm

RSVP by email or call (415) 587-8157.

Give the Gift of Walden!

Walden branded t-shirtsThere are two great ways to bring some Walden-y summer magic to your holiday season while also supporting our programs.

Order Walden merchandise before December 15 for 10% off and delivery by Christmas. We have logo shirts, hoodies, hats, keychains, decals, and more.

Check out Walden’s discography on Bandcamp, which includes a wealth of summer program recordings available to stream and purchase for download.

Young Musicians Program (YMP) Online Information Sessions

Young Musicians Program info session graphicJoin us at one of our online interactive information sessions led by Walden’s Executive Director, Seth Brenzel, alongside YMP faculty and staff members.

Learn more and register for one of the info sessions below:

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at 7 pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific

Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at 7 pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific

These events are open to prospective students, music teachers, and anyone else who would like to learn more about Walden’s award-winning Young Musicians Program—the music camp that changes lives.

Competitions and Calls for Scores

Young composer at the piano

Walden encourages the sharing of opportunities and resources for composers, including competitions and calls for scores that may be of interest to our community. We maintain a searchable list of competitions, awards, and calls for scores on our website. Opportunities are often posted in Walden’s community Facebook group as well.

Here are some opportunities that were recently shared with us:

  • Emerging Composer Completion Grants: The San Francisco ARTZenter Institute and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players offer these grants to young composers currently enrolled in a degree-granting program of study in composition. The grant program offers $3,000 completion grants to six winners, who will then have the opportunity to participate in a three-day open rehearsal workshop. The workshops will culminate in a recorded “open work-in-progress rehearsal” of the six works. Applications are due January 20, 2023.
  • New Voices Project: San Francisco Choral Artists is soliciting new works for chamber choir from composers under 30. Composers are encouraged to submit new and creative settings of poetry for consideration for a June 2023 concert set entitled Shakespeare & Friends.  The first-prize winner receives a $500 cash prize, and all winners receive a professional-quality recording of the performance. Applications are due March 1, 2023.
  • Biennale College Musica 2023: The Biennale College Musica 2023 will take place at the 67th International Contemporary Music Festival in Venice, Italy, and will feature a program of research, creation, and residency for ten musicians between the ages of 18 and 30. The theme of the festival is “Micro-Music,” focused on the processing and diffusion of digital sound. The interdisciplinary program will include four two-week residencies in Venice, supervised by mentors from the world of digital music. Applications are open until January 31, 2023.
  • NIH Community Orchestra (NIHCO) Call for Scores: The NIHCO, a community orchestra in Maryland, has announced a new competition for composers aged 30 or younger, especially those studying or based in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC. Composers are invited to submit a new work 8-10 minutes in length that is inspired by the theme of “Reflection and Rejuvenation.” The winner will receive a $3,000 honorarium and a video-recorded premiere in June 2023. Up to three honorable mentions may be named. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2023.

Community News

Walden at the GRAMMY awards

Recordings by past Walden visiting artists and ensembles were among the 2023 GRAMMY nominees:

Dave EggarDave Eggar was a featured performer on two GRAMMY-nominated compositions by Paquito D’Rivera and Pascal Le Boeuf. A former member of The Walden School Players, Dave has brought his artistry to numerous Walden events. Most recently, he performed at our benefit concert in Washington, DC, last May.

Hub New Music group photoHub New Music was the featured performing ensemble on Carlos Simon’s Requiem for the Enslaved, which was GRAMMY-nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. This powerful work honors the lives of 272 enslaved people sold to pay the debts of Georgetown University, where Simon is an assistant professor of music. Hub’s recording of the work was released in celebration of Juneteenth this year. Hub New Music was the ensemble-in-residence for Walden’s YMP Faculty Commissioning Concert in 2021.

Del Sol String Quartet group photoDel Sol String Quartet was the performer on Huang Ro’s A Dust in Time, one of the albums for which Judy Sherman was nominated for a GRAMMY as Producer of the Year, Classical. The album-length composition traces a meditative journey inspired by Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas.

Congratulations to the nominees!

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy appointed to faculty chair in India

UCLA ethnomusicology professor Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, a JCC alumna, has been named the inaugural holder of the Bakë-Jairazbhoy Chair for Indian Ocean Studies at the Pocker Sahib Memorial Orphanage College in Kerala, India. The chair was created to recover and preserve the musical culture of the Muslim community on the Malabar coast. Catlin-Jairazbhoy will have the songs digitally re-mastered and archived, and she plans to transcribe and translate the lyrics into English. She credits JCC founder Grace Newsom Cushman with encouraging her interest in the music of different cultures.

Windswept album coverLoretta Notareschi composition featured on new recording

Veteran YMP and CMR faculty member Loretta Notareschi’s composition Moon Jazz: River on the Moon was recorded on the album Windswept Vol II: Modern Chamber Music for Winds by the New London Chamber Ensemble, from Navona Records. The album was released in June, and Loretta’s piece has been aired on several local radio stations.

Amy Beth KirstenAmy Beth Kirsten Joins Juilliard Composition Faculty

Amy Beth (A.B.) Kirsten, who was YMP Composer-in-Residence in 2022—and will fill the same role at CMR in 2023—has been named to the faculty of the Juilliard School’s music composition department. A.B. is known for her multiyear multimedia theatrical collaborations, and her body of work spans 18 years. She has been recognized with numerous awards and fellowships, including from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the John S. Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently working on Jacob in Chains, a present-day Christmas ghost story commissioned by Alarm Will Sound.

Michael Kropf headshotPrizewinning composition by Michael Kropf premiered

A new work by YMP faculty member Michael Kropf was premiered at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) on November 1. Sweet Baby Movie Child was the winning composition in the school’s annual Hoefer Prize competition. Kropf won every prize available in the composition department while completing his master’s degree at SFCM. His new piece is a collaboration with fellow SFCM student and poet Patrick Smith, who wrote the text for the piece, and it was sung by soprano Erin O’Meally, another SFCM graduate. A video of the premiere performance is available here.

Augusta Cecconi-Bates headshotAugusta Cecconi-Bates interviewed

Composer Augusta Cecconi-Bates, a CMR alumna, was interviewed on The William Pace Show, broadcast from Dayton, Ohio, and available on YouTube here. The interview traces Augusta’s life story and varied musical career, including her numerous operas and cantatas on historical and humanistic themes.

Mivos Quartet playing Steve Reich album coverMivos Quartet records Steve Reich

The Mivos Quartet, a past Walden visiting ensemble, has released a new album on Deutsche Grammophon featuring a trilogy of works by Steve Reich. The album, titled Steve Reich: The String Quartets, includes Reich’s Different Trains, Triple Quartet, and WTC 9/11. The Mivos players worked closely with Reich to develop their interpretations of the works, and the composer himself supported the project from start to finish. The album is available digitally, on CD, and on vinyl. A limited number of LPs including art prints signed by Reich are also available.

Ruth FranklinRuth Franklin speaks on prestigious lecture series

On November 2, YMP alumna Ruth Franklin, the author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, was a featured lecturer at the University of Rochester’s Plutzik Series, a long-running reading series featuring leading contemporary literary artists. Franklin is a book critic and former editor at The New Republic. Her book on Shirley Jackson won numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. Franklin has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography and a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography.

Ned McGowanQuarter-tone piece by Ned McGowan premiered

Former YMP visiting artist Ned McGowan’s Three Pieces for Quarter-tone Extended Clarinet was premiered on November 27 at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, where McGowan lives. The pieces were written for clarinetist Gregory Oakes. The concert also featured former YMP visiting artist Ere Lievonen on the Fokker Organ and McGowan on flutes. An excerpt of the piece, along with the score, is available on YouTube.

Issachah Savage and Seth Brenzel
Issachah Savage and Seth Brenzel

Walden friends at the San Francisco Symphony

Tenor soloist Issachah Savage, who gave a memorable recital at YMP in 2008, was featured in the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under conductor Xian Zhang in early December. Several other Walden friends performed as part of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus: Walden Executive Director Seth Brenzel, CMR alumni Drew Kravin and Malcolm Gaines, Walden bookkeeper Brielle Morgan Neilson, former development associate Chung-Wai Soong, and several Walden donors. The chorus, led by David Xiques (himself a Walden supporter!), was praised for its “full-bodied and eloquent sound.”

Mary Fineman chamber suite premieredMary Fineman

Suite from the Faraway Pavailion by Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumna Mary Fineman was premiered in November in San Francisco and Belmont, California. The performance can be viewed here. The suite, for Pierrot ensemble, includes a piece titled “Watercolor” that Fineman originally wrote for piano at the age of 16 with her beloved teacher Shari Fleming, a JCC alumna and faculty member and the composer of “Goodnight Music.” The piano version of the piece was performed by Yarn/Wire at Walden’s online Alumni Composers Forum in 2021.

We want to hear from you!

What's been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – July 2022

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear friend,

Summer is here, bringing with it Walden’s 50th season! After wrapping up a phenomenally successful Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR), we are now in the second week of our Young Musicians Program, where nearly 50 students are spending another transformative summer composing, improvising, singing, and building a lifelong creative community.

I hope you enjoy this July edition of InterNetzo, which includes reflections from Caroline Mallonee on this summer’s CMR, an announcement of our July 25 Giving Day and our fabulous fundraiser on July 30 in New Hampshire, and plenty of exciting community news.

Plus, read a fascinating interview with Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumnus Bob Weaver, and watch a video made by JCC faculty member Ron Nelson with priceless footage from Walden’s predecessor program.

Stay tuned throughout the summer for announcements of our free, public, livestreamed concert series. I wish you a fun-filled and creative summer, and I hope our paths cross soon!

Best wishes,

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director
(603) 563-8212

Reflecting on the 2022 Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR)

From Caroline Mallonee, Director of CMR

Carrie MalloneeIt all seems a bit of a dream. The Creative Musicians Retreat feels like Walden in fast-forward. Nine quick days of music-making in New Hampshire, including all the salient elements of Walden: composition, improvisation, electronic music, musicianship, chorus, Composers Forums, concerts, lake swimming, a mountain hike...

We held CMR in a different place this summer, on the campus of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. It proved a stunning setting for the Retreat: There were views of Lake Winnipesaukee from every building! Tom Colohan led choral rehearsals in the boathouse, a gorgeous space with a vaulted ceiling, from which we could gaze at the blue water.

Tom Colohan leads CMR choral reherasal

Brewster boathouse
Photo credits: Stephen Woltosz

There were world premieres of nearly 40 works, including five new choral pieces performed by the CMR Chamber Choir, led by Thomas Colohan. The three Composers Forums and two concerts featured amazing performances by our artists-in-residence, Kyle Flens, David Friend, Tyler J. Borden, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (Teagan Faran, Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, Dan Lippel, and Emmalie Tello,) as well as many talented participants.

Composer-in-Residence Lei Liang gave an illuminating talk on his own music, moderated the three Composers Forums, and hosted two master classes. What a kind and inspiring presence!

CMR forum performance
Photo credit: Caroline Mallonee

One cannot say enough about Sammi Stone and the Walden staff (Kittie Cooper, Anastasia Baker, Arté Warren, and Luke Schroeder), all of whom had worked at Walden previously. Such pros! They ensured that the week was smooth. Our faculty was also entirely made up of veteran Walden teachers: Alex Christie, Renée Favand-See, Osnat Netzer, Loretta Notareschi, Sam Pluta, and me (Carrie Mallonee). The classroom demo showcased their inspired teaching and deep expertise, as well as their creativity and sense of humor.


Seth, Sammi, Lei and Carrie
Seth Brenzel, Sammi Stone, Lei Liang, and Caroline Mallonee (photo credit: Seth Brenzel)
Sam Pluta CMR classroom demo
Sam Pluta leads a classroom demonstration. (photo credit: Stephen Woltosz)








Our participants came from seventeen states plus Canada, and they ranged in age from 19 to 88! We welcomed 13 CMR alumni back. This year, more than ever, the group felt like a huge family, supporting and learning from each other. There were nightly fire pits where we toasted marshmallows and roasted weenies, and a final CMR open mic which, for at least the fourth time, ended in dancing. The Walden magic is strong. I can’t wait for next year!

Caroline Mallonee
Director, The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat

CMR group photo

Upcoming Events

TONIGHT: YMP Faculty Commissioning Concert featuring Warp Trio

Friday, July 8, 7:30 pm Eastern
Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall
Dublin School, Dublin, New Hampshire (and online!)

A concert of world premieres by YMP faculty members, performed by this summer’s YMP commissioning ensemble, Warp Trio.

As Walden’s concerts are open to the public, we are asking all audience members, including Young Musicians Program students, to wear a mask while attending any of our events that take place indoors.

Warp Trio

Described as “a talented group that exemplifies the genre-obliterating direction of contemporary classical music” (Columbia Free Times), Warp Trio is an internationally touring cross-genre chamber music experience. Reflecting the combination of Juilliard-trained members juxtaposed with members steeped in rock and jazz styles, the one-of-a-kind trio (which even has a fourth member!) can be seen performing classical works in prestigious halls on the same tour where they headline a standing-room-only show at a rock venue. In addition to their electrifying public performances, they have gained a reputation for their innovative educational workshops with students from grade school through university level.

Featuring music by Walden YMP faculty composers Emi Ostrom, Cara Haxo, Kittie Cooper, Rebekah Griffin Greene, Lila Meretzky, Terry Greene II, Lukáš Janata, Michael Kropf, Nate Trier, and Loretta Notareschi.

Watch the livestream here.

July 25: Giving Day

On July 25, we will be sharing live video updates from our Young Musicians Program in Dublin, New Hampshire. Join us online as we share the joy of music and community with Walden friends near and far. Stay tuned for more information about this opportunity to experience and support Walden!

July 30: New Hampshire Fundraiser

Mackenzie Melemed

Save the date for a fabulous Festival Week celebration at the end of our 2022 Young Musicians Program. The event will feature a performance by award-winning concert pianist Mackenzie Melemed, a YMP alumnus and 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient.

For details or to RSVP, contact Noah Mlotek, our Interim Development Manager, by email or at 415-587-8157.

In the Spotlight

Bob Weaver

Anne and Bob on Manadnock

Bob Weaver is an alumnus of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), the predecessor program to The Walden School, and has been a participant at Walden’s Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR). Bob and his wife Anne, a fellow JCCer who is a physician as well as an accomplished musician and choral director, are longtime Walden donors and active members of the JCC/Walden alumni community. Bob is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Computer Science at Mount Holyoke College. He is a published composer, particularly of hymns and anthems, and an avid choral singer. Bob and Anne live in a retirement community in Needham, Massachusetts.

Bob began attending JCC in 1956. Anne started in 1962, which is when they first met.

How did you first get involved with the Junior Conservatory Camp, and what has been your involvement with JCC and Walden since?

My brother John, a concert organist, composer, and teacher, started as a teenager at the JCC in about 1952. My family and I, from Baltimore, visited camp at Manor Vail in Lyndon Center, Vermont, for a couple of days in summer 1955, and I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this friendly and supportive community and to study with Mrs. Grace Cushman. So I started there the following summer and continued coming to camp for eight years—right through college. I was on the dishwashing crew and later served as boys’ counselor. Many will remember that the dish crew filled the kitchen with wonderful vocal harmonies and resolving seventh chords while we scraped and loaded the dishwasher.


Mrs. Cushman teaching at JCC, with Alan Shewmon at the piano (photo credit: Edward Max)
Anne Conley (Weaver) at JCC (photo credit: Edward Max)







For my last two summers at camp, Anne Conley attended, and we were married when she graduated from Wellesley College in 1967. Later, when we were living in western Massachusetts, we saw an article in our local newspaper, the Greenfield Recorder, announcing a concert to be given by JCCer Nansi Carroll at The Walden School. Not wanting to miss that, we made our first trek up to Dublin, New Hampshire. We were immediately impressed that the warmth and supportive atmosphere that we had known at JCC, years earlier, was most palpably present at Walden in a way that brought back vivid memories of our camp experience. We have since attended all of the JCC/Walden reunions at the Dublin School, and some of the Composers Forums, and we have taken part in fundraising and committee work for the school. Several years ago, I attended the Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR), a week full of inspiring musical events and superb faculty and fellow attendees.

Many JCC folks will remember singing the hymn tunes that I wrote while at camp (“Dear Lord and Father” and “Lord, Thy Glory Fills the Heavens”). Over the years, and especially since I retired from teaching at Mount Holyoke College, I have continued composing and have written a number of other hymn tunes, setting some beautiful texts by my friend, William Pasch, of Atlanta. Together, Bill and I have expanded these tunes into choral anthems and have published with Augsburg Fortress Publishers and the St. James Music Press.


Edward Max - 05.Ron Nelson_ forum
Ron Nelson at a Composers Forum (photo credit: Edward Max)
John Weaver (Bob’s brother) and Reynaldo Reyes on a hike (photo credit: Edward Max)







I understand you have a video of JCC that you’d like to share with us. How did the video come together, and what does it show?

In 2007, we attended the JCC/Walden reunion in Dublin. Dr. Ron Nelson, who had been a JCC faculty member and composer-in-residence for a number of years, was unable to be there but made a video to share. It was a silent video with footage from JCC that Ron had taken in 1960. Last spring, I rediscovered the video and worked with Ron to edit it and add some of Ron’s original compositions in the background. You can watch the video here. Ron is now living in Arizona in retirement from the music department of Brown University.

Why do you give to Walden? Do you have any hopes for Walden’s future as we embark on its 50th summer?

Anne and I know how profoundly the Junior Conservatory and Walden have affected and enriched our lives. We contribute to the school in the knowledge that the Walden experience (in both of its forms, YMP and CMR) can have the same positive effect on others who want to learn and compose and share interests. This is a precious program that must be preserved and extended into the future. I urge everyone to give generously to Walden.

Do you have any stories of Walden/JCC connections that you have made and maintained over the years?

So many of the people whom we knew in our summers at JCC have remained our valued friends to this day. We hear of their musical accomplishments, we remain close through email, Zoom, letters, and visits in person. We were so pleased when Walden arranged for a Zoom gathering of JCC alums this past year. That was a real treat that got many of us together for a wonderful virtual sharing of memories.

And here is a “small world” anecdote. At the 2018 Walden reunion at the Dublin School, Anne and I were chatting with a group and mentioned that we are living at the North Hill Retirement Community in Needham, near Boston. Former JCCer Tom Terwilliger said that his mother had lived at North Hill. At that moment, Solon Snider, who was himself a Young Musicians Program alumnus and attending the reunion, overheard us and interjected: “North Hill—my grandparents live there.” It turned out that his grandparents, Stanley (now deceased) and Mary Ann Snider, were fellow residents whom we knew and had visited with over dinner.

Not long ago, I happened to meet a gentleman, Jim Snider, who was reading in one of the lounges at North Hill, and we struck up a conversation. He said that he has a son, Solon, who is very much into music. I immediately recognized that name and said, “I've met your son!” He looked puzzled until I said it was at the Walden School! And yes, Jim knew all about Walden and its wonderful programs.

We all have heard that your brother John and his wife Marianne both passed away in 2021. They had a profound effect on the sacred musical scene in this country, and both are remembered for their many years at JCC.

Yes, John graduated from the Curtis Institute and remained a fixture at JCC as a faculty member and as Assistant Director of the camp, except for the years when he was drafted into the Army. For his Army service, he was named the organist and choir director of the Post Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Later, when John’s teacher, Alexander McCurdy, retired from Curtis, John was recruited to replace him in the Organ Department there. Also the organist of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, he happily commuted to and from Philadelphia by train—his favorite form of transportation. Some years later, the Juilliard School asked him to chair their organ department, which he did while continuing at Curtis for many years until his retirement in 2005.


Bob, Flora, Ms. Spraggs, Grace and John
Bob Weaver, Flora Cushman, Elizabeth Spraggs (a family friend of the Cushmans), Mrs. Grace Cushman, and John Weaver in New York City, about 1962 (photo credit: Bob Weaver)
John Weaver leads JCC chorus from the organ (photo credit: Edward Max)








Marianne was a wonderful flutist who performed frequently with John, including at JCC where she was on the staff for many years. She helped lead the music ministry at Madison Avenue, including directing the Junior Choir, and earlier, she and John established the Bach cantata series at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York. John and Marianne spent their summer months at a house that they built in their beloved northern Vermont, not far from Lyndonville, and they eventually retired there.

For more details about John and Marianne, and about my own music, check out my website. There is a link on that site to the JCC/Walden connection. There is also a page that I’ve developed describing John’s career, including videos of John and Marianne in concert in New York and a wonderful 90-minute Public Radio interview (“Pipedreams”) from 2007 in honor of John’s 70th birthday. My contact information is also there, and I’m always happy to hear from people in the JCC and Walden communities.

Community News

Eliza BrownEliza Brown composition premiered by Spektral Quartet

In one of its final performances as an ensemble, Chicago-based Spektral Quartet (former YMP visiting artists) premiered a work by YMP alumna, past YMP staff member, and and current YMP faculty member Eliza Brown, who is an assistant professor of music at DePauw University. The five-song cycle for soprano and string quartet, entitled the light that blurred the stars, was co-commissioned by Spektral and Scrag Mountain Music, and the performance featured soprano Mary Bonhag. Setting poetry by Susan Stewart, the work touches on themes of human survival and renewal.

Christopher Luna-MegaChristopher Luna-Mega featured on Music from Other Minds

Composer Christopher Luna-Mega, a former YMP faculty member, was featured on the radio program Music from Other Minds, in an episode that aired May 8 on KALW in the Bay Area. Luna-Mega discussed growing up in Mexico City, his use of nature as a musical model, and the compositional approaches used in the pieces on his new album Time’s Arrow. Listen to the episode here.

Marco Roberts with Doug Hertz and Kittie Cooper (Walden 2019)Marco Roberts and Ensemble Dal Niente

On June 10, Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente performed the world premiere of On the Road to Urhoy by YMP alumnus (and current Walden intern) Marco Roberts. The piece is inspired by traditional Assyrian, Armenian, and Syrian folk and sacred music, and evokes the bloodstained history of the Jazira region (Upper Mesopotamia) during its occupation by colonial powers, specifically the creation of the state of Turkey and its relationship to tragedy and resistance by the people of the region today. The piece was commissioned as part of an annual collaboration between Walden and Dal Niente, providing an invaluable opportunity for young composers to receive professional performances of their work. Congratulations, Marco!

Davey Hiester conducts the student-led Center City Chamber Orchestra during rehearsal at Settlement Music SchoolDavey Hiester leads performance with Center City Chamber Orchestra 

YMP alumnus Davey Hiester is music director, president, and a co-founder of the Center City Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that unites a diverse group of student musicians in the Philadelphia area. On May 27, Davey led the orchestra in REORCHESTRATION, a concert that included the premiere of his own orchestration of Remembrance, a song cycle by E. A. Alexander. Watch the concert here.

Nnenna OgwoNnenna Ogwo presents Juneteenth Celebration Concert

Nnenna Ogwo, a YMP and CMR alumna, former YMP visiting artist, an
d former Walden Board member, presented her popular annual Juneteenth Celebration Concert in four locations across New York City from June 14 to 19. The concert is part of The Juneteenth Legacy Project (of which Dr. Ogwo is the founder and artistic director) is a musical collaborative whose mission is to share the music of the African Diaspora through the unique lens of black classically trained musicians with a focus on access, outreach, and community building through music. Watch one of the performances here.

Alicia Jo RabinsNew theater work and book from Alicia Jo Rabins

YMP alumna Alicia Jo Rabins presented a staged reading of her new work in progress, a theatrical adaptation of her Girls in Trouble song cycle, weaving stories of biblical women with personal narrative, at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education on June 16. The working title is Girls in Trouble: A Feminist Mystery Play. Rabins has also written a book, Even God Had Bad Parenting Days: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for New Parents, which is available for preorder and will be published in September by Behrman House. An excerpt from the book, on the rabbinic concept of “the pain of raising children,” was published in Kveller.

Solon SniderSolon Snider starts new job at Princeton

YMP alumnus Solon Snider has taken up a full-time faculty position at Princeton University as Lecturer in Music Directing and Choral Programs. This is a joint appointment between the Department of Music and the Lewis Center for the Arts Programs in Theater and Music Theater. At Princeton, Solon is the founding director of the Playhouse Choir and Playhouse Orchestra. He also works with Trenton Arts at Princeton as Director of the Trenton Youth Singers. Congratulations, Solon!

Two premieres of choral works by Caroline MalloneeCaroline Mallonee

With Streaks of Light, a suite of Shakespeare songs by CMR Director and Walden alumna Caroline Mallonee, was premiered by the Cecilia Chorus in New York on May 25. The piece was commissioned by the Cecilia Chorus and its director, Mark Shapiro. A conversation between Mallonee and Shapiro about the work can be viewed here. And on June 4, another choral commission, The Right and True, was premiered by Concentus Women’s Chorus in Pittsford, New York. The piece was written in honor of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women’s suffrage in the United States. Watch a video about the piece here.

Matthew CummingsPremiere of Matthew Cummings’s composition for video game and orchestra

Tropical Trial, a composition by Online Young Musicians Experience (OYME) alumnus Matthew Cummings, was premiered on May 22, in Alexandria, Virginia, by Matthew’s former youth orchestra, the American Youth Philharmonic. The piece was accompanied by the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which was spliced by Matthew and projected onto a video screen during the performance. Matthew’s composition shared a program with works by Jim Colonna, Sibelius, and Dvořák.

Lukas JanataLukáš Janata co-organizes Concert of Compassion for Ukraine

CMR alumnus and current YMP faculty member Lukáš Janata was a co-organizer of the Concert of Compassion, a benefit that raised more than $100,000 for groups aiding the Ukrainian people. Held at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco on May 9, the evening featured musical talent including Frederica von Stade, Jake Heggie, musicians from the San Francisco Symphony, the Artists’ Vocal Ensemble (including Walden’s Interim Development Manager, Noah Mlotek), The Bay Brass, Orthodox bells authority Victor Avdienko, and Ukrainian soprano Alina Ilchuk, conducted by Jonathan Dimmock and Nicole Paiement. The event also included a powerful statement by Ukrainian Consul-General to San Francisco Dmytro Kushneruk. Watch the concert here.

Osnat Netzer circle portraitOsnat Netzer choral work premiered

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Boston-based Jewish community chorus Koleinu commissioned a new piece of choral music, A Funkl Gleybik (A Spark of Belief) by Osnat Netzer, a TTI alumna and former YMP and current CMR faculty member. The work was premiered on June 9 at Temple Shalom in Newton, Massachusetts, by Koleinu with Hankus Netsky and Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band. The piece is an evocation of nature and time on poems by Rosa Nevadovska, Malka Tussman, and Anna Margolin.

Ruby Landau-Pincus with her parents during graduationRuby Landau-Pincus and Annie Gosfield at YIVO

After graduating from Columbia University with a BA in Yiddish Studies, YMP alumna Ruby Landau-Pincus (seen at right with parents Caroline Pincus and Esther Landau, Walden’s former Development Director) has started a new job as an exhibition developer for the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research in New York. Mazel tov, Ruby! In other Walden-YIVO news, a new piece for string quartet by former YMP and CMR composer-in-residence Annie Gosfield, Rivulets Ripple and Rivers Flow, was premiered as part of YIVO’s festival “Continuing Evolution: Yiddish Folksong Today.” The piece was inspired by the Yiddish song “Ale vaserlekh flisn avek” (“All the Rivers Flow Down to the Sea”). You can watch the concert here.

Sarah RiskindSarah Riskind presents music by Italian nuns

Sarah Riskind, a former YMP and CMR faculty member and former YMP choral director, conducted a concert entitled “Behind the Walls: Music from the Italian Convents” with the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana, of which she is the music director. The concert featured music written by Italian women composers in the 1500s and 1600s and was led by Riskind with “scholarly expertise,” according to a review in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette. Riskind is also the director of choral activities and an assistant professor of music at Eureka College.

Joel St. Julien MaskingJoel St. Julien releases album

CMR alumnus Joel St. Julien’s album Masking was released June 10 on Dragon’s Eye Recordings. St. Julien’s inspiration for the album came from a midlife discovery that unexpectedly pushed him into understanding his neurodivergence, and the work mirrors his shift from self-blame toward self-acceptance. Jay Adams contributed artwork, visuals, and creative direction for the album, the last two tracks of which can be streamed with visuals here.

Nicolas BenavidesNicolas Lell Benavides’s opera Tres minutos premiered

A new one-act opera by CMR and Teacher Training Institute (TTI) alumnus Nicolas Lell Benavides was premiered in Seattle and San Francisco on May 15 and 22. With a libretto by Marella Martin Koch, Tres minutos follows the story of a sister and a brother who wrestle with questions of identity, duty, and belonging during their brief reunion at the US-Mexico border. Benavides, a doctoral student at USC Thornton School of Music, conducted the performances of the opera, which was commissioned by Music of Remembrance.

Shawn Crouch Chaos TheoryShawn Crouch releases album

A new album of compositions by YMP alumnus and former YMP and CMR faculty member Shawn Crouch was released on June 7 by the label Acis. Chaos Theory and Other Chamber Works features Crouch’s instrumental chamber works, inspired by science, autobiography, and news cycles, written over the past 25 years. The album features performers including past YMP visiting ensemble Yesaroun’ Duo, [Switch~ Ensemble], cellist Craig Hultgren, and Ensemble Ibis, of which he is the artistic director.

Requiem for the Enslaved Album CoverHub New Music releases Requiem of the Enslaved

Requiem for the Enslaved, an album featuring former YMP visiting ensemble Hub New Music, was released by Decca Classics on June 17. The album premieres a work by Carlos Simon honoring the lives of 272 enslaved people sold in 1838 by Georgetown University, where Simon is an assistant professor of music. The work, which was profiled in an NPR article, was commissioned by Georgetown University with support from the President’s Office and the committee for Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation.

We want to hear from you!

What's been going on? If you have a recent or upcoming premiere, publication, award, new job or program, or a celebratory life event, please share the news at waldenschool.org/contact.

Stay in Touch

You can like The Walden School page on Facebook and join The Walden School private group to hear about events and opportunities throughout the year. You can also find us on InstagramTwitterYouTubebandcamp, and at waldenschool.org.

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – May 2022

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot


Summer is just around the corner, with two wonderful Walden programs ahead. We still have just a few spots open in our Young Musicians Program—get started on your application today!

This edition of InterNetzo highlights Walden’s upcoming celebration in Washington, DC; our fabulous Summer 2022 faculty, staff, and visiting artists; and our June concerts in New Hampshire (stay tuned for July event announcements in next month’s newsletter!), along with plenty of exciting Community News.

Plus, enjoy an interview with Sky Macklay and Sam Pluta, longtime Walden faculty members who have recently started new teaching roles at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore.

I look forward to catching up with you soon—in DC on Sunday or New Hampshire during June and July!

Best wishes,

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director
(415) 587-8157

Walden News

Upcoming: Walden in Washington, DC

On May 15, Walden will host its first in-person fundraiser in more than two years! The celebration will feature a performance by world-renowned cellist and frequent Walden visiting artist Dave Eggar, along with special guests Martín Zarzar and Tanner Perry. Join us for an electrifying afternoon of music, delicious bites, and wonderful Walden community.

While there is no charge to attend, gifts to support Walden’s award-winning programs may be made online, by check payable to The Walden School (7 Joost Avenue, Suite 204, San Francisco, CA 94131), or at the event.

2022 Summer Programs

YMP is enrolling for this Summer!

Applications are still open for Walden’s Young Musicians Program (ages 9–18). We will continue to review applications as they are submitted. Please tell your friends, family, and colleagues that YMP is currently enrolling, with just a few spots left! Walden’s Creative Musicians Retreat (ages 18–89+) is only accepting applications for the waitlist at this time.

Start your application here. Financial aid is available.

2022 Program Dates

Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR)
June 11–19, 2022
on the campus of the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

Young Musicians Program (YMP)
June 25–July 31, 2022
June 25–July 17 (3-week option only available to students 7th grade and younger)
on the campus of the Dublin School in Dublin, New Hampshire

Summer 2022 Faculty, Staff, and Visiting Artists

We have a tremendous team of faculty, staff, and visiting artists gathering this summer for the Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) and the Young Musicians Program (YMP):

CMR Faculty
Alex Christie, Director of Electronic Music
Renée Favand-See
Caroline Mallonee, Director
Osnat Netzer
Sam Pluta
D. J. Sparr

CMR Staff
Anastasia Baker
Seth Brenzel, Executive Director
Kittie Cooper, Director of Composers Forums
Sammi Stone, Director of Operations
Luke Schroeder
Arté Warren

CMR Visiting Artists
Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble:

  • Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flutes
  • Emmalie Tello, clarinets
  • Dan Lippel, guitars
  • Teagan Faran, violin

T.J. Borden, cello
Kyle Flens, percussion
David Friend, piano
Tom Colohan, Choral Conductor
Lei Liang, Composer-in-Residence

YMP Faculty
Alex Christie, Academic Dean and Director of Computer Music
Kittie Cooper, Assistant Academic Dean and Director of Composers Forums
Kari Francis, Choral Director
Terry Greene, II
Rebekah Griffin Greene
Cara Haxo, Academic Dean
Rachel Iba
Lukáš Janata
Michael Kropf, Assistant Academic Dean
Lila Meretzky
Loretta Notareschi
Emi Ostrom
Nate Trier

YMP Staff
Anastasia Baker
Seth Brenzel, Executive Director and Director of YMP
Will Hawkins
Francesca Hellerman
Evan Johnson
Gree Jordan, Nurse
Luke Schroeder
Sammi Stone, Director of Operations
Theo Trevisan
Karissa Ulrich, Nurse
YMP Visiting Artists
Julia Bruskin, cello, and Aaron Wunsch, piano
Aurora Nealand and Friends
The Warp Trio with Julia Henderson, cello
Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble:

  • Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flutes
  • Wendy Richman, viola
  • Fay Victor, voice
  • Josh Modney, violin
  • Ross Karre, percussion
  • Dan Lippel, guitar

The Walden School Players:

  • Dana Jessen, bassoon
  • Laura Cocks, flutes
  • Erica Dicker, violin
  • Kyra Sims, French horn and actor
  • Mabel Kwan, piano
  • Chris Wild, cello

Amy Beth Kirsten, Composer-in-Residence

June 2022 Concerts

We are thrilled that our series of free summer concerts will once again be open to the public. All events start at 7:30 pm.

Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR)
At Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

Saturday, June 11: Opening concert featuring works by Walden faculty and composer-in-residence Lei Liang

Sunday, June 12: Composer presentation by Lei Liang, CMR Composer-in-Residence

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, June 14, 15, 17: CMR Composers Forums

Thursday, June 16: Chamber music performances by CMR students alongside visiting artists

Young Musicians Program (YMP)
At Dublin School in Dublin, New Hampshire

Sunday, June 26: YMP opening concert featuring Julia Bruskin and Aaron Wunsch (cello and piano), co-artistic directors of the Skaneateles Festival

Tuesday, June 28: First YMP Composers Forum, featuring original music by Walden YMP students

Stay tuned for our lineup of July 2022 concerts and events!

Walden Goes to Oberlin

Kittie Cooper, Mike Straus, Alex Christie, Dana Jessen, and Seth Brenzel
Kittie Cooper, Mike Straus, Alex Christie, Dana Jessen, and Seth Brenzel

The Walden School Young Musicians Program (YMP) Leadership Team went to Oberlin College and Conservatory last weekend, May 7–8, where they were hosted by Oberlin administrator Mike Straus, friend of Walden and husband to longtime Walden School Player and former Walden faculty member Dana Jessen. The 2022 YMP Leadership Team, comprising Kittie Cooper, Cara Haxo, Sammi Stone, Seth Brenzel, Michael Kropf, and Alex Christie, spent the weekend planning the 2022 curriculum, laying out the summer calendar, and brainstorming about all of the wonderful plans for YMP 2022. Mike and Dana hosted the team at their home for dinner on Saturday night, where we got to connect with Walden alumnus and Oberlin faculty member Eli Stine, along with Oberlin faculty member Peter Swendsen. And on Friday night, May 6, Michael Kropf and Seth Brenzel got to meet up with Walden YMP alumni Evan Tiapula, Cashel Day-Lewis, Arturo Orso, and Sasha Paris-Carter for dinner. Also of note, the Leadership Team stayed together in The Inspiration House, a reportedly-haunted house just blocks from the Oberlin campus. Spooky!!! Many thanks to Mike, Dana, and everyone at Oberlin for making Walden feel so welcome.

Evan Tiapula, Cashel Day-Lewis, Michael Kropf, Seth Brenzel, Sasha Paris-Carter, and Arturo Orso
Evan Tiapula, Cashel Day-Lewis, Michael Kropf, Seth Brenzel, Sasha Paris-Carter, and Arturo Orso

In the Spotlight

Sam Pluta and Sky Macklay

Sam Pluta and Sky MacklaySam Pluta is a composer, laptop improviser, electronics performer, and sound artist who was on faculty at Walden for 16 summers. Though his work has a wide breadth, his central focus is on using the computer as a performance instrument capable of sharing the stage with groups ranging from new music ensembles to world-class improvisers. Sam is the Technical Director for the Wet Ink Ensemble, a group for which he is a member composer as well as principal electronics performer. He studied composition and electronic music at Columbia University, where he received his DMA in 2012.

Sky Macklay is a composer, oboist, and installation artist who was on faculty at Walden for nine summers. Her music is conceptual yet expressive, exploring extreme contrasts, surreal tonality, audible processes, humor, and the physicality of sound. As a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, her next project is a chamber music album that will synthesize her work as a composer and her raucous, multiphonic-rich oboe performance practice. She is a founding member of the New York-based Ghost Ensemble. Macklay completed her DMA in composition at Columbia University.

In the last year, Sky and Sam have taken up teaching positions at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, continuing a long and deep association between Peabody, The Walden School, and the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), Walden’s predecessor program. JCC founder Grace Newsom Cushman, along with Walden co-founders Pam Quist, David Hogan, and Lynn Taylor Hebden, each enjoyed a long association with Peabody, and hundreds of Walden and JCC alumni first learned of JCC and Walden while studying music at the Peabody Prep. For many decades, there was a bus that left Peabody early in the morning on the last Saturday of June, filled with eager campers bound for New England to kick off each amazing summer of Walden (and perhaps JCC, too?).

How and when did your relationship with Walden begin, and what has been your involvement since then?

Sam: My relationship with Walden started in 2001 when I was on staff just after finishing college. In 2002, I was hybrid staff and faculty, and then from 2004 to 2016 I was on faculty at YMP. I was also Director of Computer Music at YMP from 2008 to 2016, and Academic Dean for at least 5 years until 2016. I was one of the founding faculty members of the Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) in 2012, and on faculty at CMR for five years. When I was teaching at the University of Chicago, the quarter system made it impossible for me to do CMR, but now I’ll be back teaching at CMR this summer.

Sky: My relationship with Walden began in 2009 when I attended the Teacher Training Institute (TTI), and I absolutely loved it! I applied to be on faculty at Walden’s Young Musicians Program (YMP) the next year and got the job, and I was a faculty member at YMP from 2010 to 2018. I have also been on staff and a participant at CMR. I haven’t been on faculty for a few years now, but it’s my dream to teach at Walden again in the future.

Could you describe a favorite memory from your time at Walden?

Sky: One of my favorite parts of Walden is open mic night. I would host open mic nights a lot, and it was just such a wonderful time for everyone to share their creativity. One open mic night coincided with Christmas in July, and a YMP student named Evan Johnson [a 2022 YMP staff member] was my Secret Santa. For my present he gave me a really beautiful song that he wrote about me and Sam, so Sam and I danced to it at the open mic, but Sam was wearing Santa makeup, and the Santa makeup got all over my face while we were dancing!

Sam: Alex Christie [current YMP and CMR faculty and leadership team] wrote the Mountain Song almost 20 years ago, and the students still sing it whenever they hike Mt. Monadnock. It’s amazing to see a student get up to present something and you don’t know what it’s going to be, and then it’s something amazing that becomes part of the fabric of Walden, which will be passed down by generations of students.

Could you share some highlights from composing or performing in the last year?

Sky: I had a string quartet premiered by Kronos Quartet as part of the Bang on a Can Loud Weekend at Mass MoCA. I also made a new harmonica installation called Harmonitrees at Stetson University, and now I’ve integrated two of the trees into a new piece of chamber music called Harmonifriends with Ghost Ensemble, which was recently premiered at Uptown Underground in New York.

Sam: This weekend the double-bar bandit arrived and put the double bars on my piece for orchestra and electronics, called Seeker, for the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music in September.

What are your current positions at Peabody?

Sam: I’m an associate Professor of Computer Music. At Peabody, composition and computer music are separate departments, but they’re both departments for composition, just with a different focus.

Sky: I’m a Lecturer in Composition. I mostly teach composition, and in the fall I’ll also be teaching a class called Composers of the AACM (Association of for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), which I’m really excited about. I’m also the composition coordinator for the low-residency master’s program, which is a new format that offers more flexibility for composers who may not be able to relocate for a master’s degree. It’s an intense summer experience, followed by two semesters of online classes, and then another intense summer experience. My Walden skills are especially helpful in creating an amazing summer festival experience and fostering a musical community in a short period of time.

How has Walden pedagogy informed your university teaching?

Sam: Part of the job in teaching is creating a community, creating situations where students get together to make music and teach each other. There’s nothing better than teaching for 16 years at Walden to make you understand how to foster community.

Sky: I take that same attitude from Walden, where composers forums provide a model for respectful dialogue involving composers and performers. I use creative musicianship and “Discover, Drill, Create” all the time in my composition lessons. If a student is stuck, I try to find a piece where we can discover something related to what they’re working on and create a drill based on it, which can help students get through creativity blocks and get the notes flowing.

Are there any reflections you could share on the Walden legacy at Peabody?

Sky: At Peabody, we are traversing the same halls as [JCC founder] Grace Cushman and a lot of Walden people including Steve Coxe, Leo Wanenchak, and Pam Quist. I recently came across an old Peabody newsletter that mentions a Walden alumna named Laura Kolker. It says she was a Peabody Prep student who won a BMI award and went to Walden four times, where she studied with Pam Quist, John Yankee, and Paul Nauert.

Sam: Pam Quist was the first person to teach electronic music at Walden, using tape-splicing equipment in the 1970s and ’80s. Pam learned that from Jean Eichelberger Ivey, who started electronic music at Peabody more than 50 years ago. So for me to bring my Walden pedagogy back to Peabody in the form of Walden’s Computer Musicianship course, which is the basis of all my electronic music teaching, that’s a pretty awesome circle!

Sky: For my Composers of the AACM class, I was researching the Schillinger method of composition, because one of the AACM composers, Muhal Richard Abrams, was a Schillinger practitioner. I believe the Schillinger method was an inspiration for some Walden and JCC teachers, including Grace Cushman. Joseph Schillinger was a composer who created a system involving algorithmic ways of generating rhythms and pitches. There’s a major Schillinger archive at Peabody, and the librarian who organized it was Ned Quist, who performed at Walden as part of Cross Country and wrote a beloved arrangement of “To My Old Brown Earth.”

Community News

Garth Edwin SunderlandGarth Edwin Sunderland adapts Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place
Former YMP faculty member Garth Edwin Sunderland’s adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s final opera, A Quiet Place, ran from March 7 through 30 in a new production by the Paris Opera. The New York Times described Sunderland’s adaptation as “a sweeping rethinking of the piece’s dramaturgy and orchestration” that made “a strong case for a work that has long struggled to join the repertory.”

Guggenheim Foundation logoThree Walden composers win Guggenheim Fellowships
Three Walden-affiliated composers were among the exceptional artists awarded 2022 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: YMP alumna Leah Reid, past CMR and YMP visiting artist and Walden School Player Peter Evans, and past Walden visiting artist Phyllis Chen. The Walden community sends our heartfelt congratulations to these wonderful artists!

Mackenzie MelemedMackenzie Melemed receives Avery Fisher Career Grant
Pianist Mackenzie Melemed, a YMP alumnus, was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. The grant is given to solo artists or chamber ensembles who exhibit great potential for major careers. Each recipient is awarded $25,000 to be used toward furthering their career. The award was announced in a special program featuring a performance by Mackenzie on March 22, which can be viewed here. Congratulations on this extraordinary achievement!

Scene from WITCH, opera by Freya Waley-CohenFreya Waley-Cohen’s opera WITCH premiered
The Royal Academy Opera gave the world premiere of YMP alumna Freya Waley-Cohen’s first opera, WITCH, from March 23–26, as part of a triple bill with Montiverdi’s Lamento d’Arianna and the prologue to Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. The performance can be viewed here. An article by Freya about the opera’s inspiration was featured in the Guardian.

George LewisGeorge Lewis becomes artistic director of ICE
Past YMP and CMR composer-in-residence George Lewis has become the new artistic director of the renowned International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), a longtime Walden artistic and performing partner ensemble. Described by the New York Times as “long revered among avant-garde jazz fans,” he plans to “bring more of a multicultural focus to one of New York’s premier new music groups, and to feature a wider variety of artists.”

Stacy GarropStacy Garrop’s In a House Besieged
YMP alumna and former faculty member Stacy Garrop’s In a House Besieged for chorus and organ was premiered at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which commissioned the work. It was performed by organist Scott Dettra and chamber choir The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally. Nally wrote an article about the piece, which uses texts by Lydia Davis that address the aging process and dementia.

Bob BassettBob Basset’s premiere by Sphere Ensemble
CMR alumnus and Walden Board member Bob Bassett’s Lodore, a work for 18 string players, was premiered by Sphere Ensemble in Denver on April 24. In Bob’s words, “the moods of the piece recalled the movements, sounds, and shapes of a whitewater rafting trip down the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument.” This was Bob’s largest-scale work to date.

Seth Brenzel and Katie BalchCalifornia Symphony premieres Katie Balch piece
Illuminate, a song cycle for orchestra and three vocalists by YMP faculty member Katie Balch, was premiered on March 26 by the California Symphony, which commissioned the work. Set to texts by various poets including Adrienne Rich, Sappho, and Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminate was described as “brilliant and wonderfully inventive” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Katie is currently on faculty at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and she will begin a faculty position at Yale in the fall.

Alex ChristieAlex Christie’s photosonic composition
Alex Christie, Walden’s director of electronic music, was the featured guest composer at Christopher Newport University’s Contemporary Music Festival on March 26. Alex gave a concert/presentation of his work, much of which uses light as an integral component together with sound (“photosonic”). Alex was also interviewed by a local television station about his Photosonic Composition class at the University of Virginia.

Ron NelsonRon Nelson featured on Composers Datebook
Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) faculty member Ron Nelson’s Passacaglia for wind ensemble, an homage to J. S. Bach, was featured on Composers Datebook from Minnesota Public Radio on Bach’s birthday. The segment can be heard here.

Pueblito Viejo album coverPRISM Quartet releases album
The all-saxophone ensemble PRISM Quartet released a new album, Pueblito Viejo, featuring a collection of Latin American music presented to the ensemble during a tour in Bogotá. PRISM is a past Walden visiting ensemble and collaborates with Walden annually to premiere a commissioned work by a YMP student. The next set of premieres will be of YMP and CMR alumnus Julian Hofstetter’s piece on June 9 and 10 in New York City and Philadelphia.

Shawn CrouchShawn Crouch’s ICU premiered
ICU, a work by Shawn Crouch for vocal ensemble and fixed media, was premiered by Variant 6 on March 31 in Miami. From Shawn: “Brian Turner’s moving words show the various facades from which to view the final moments of life in the ICU. Each stanza slightly shifts the perspective of the viewer as we say goodbye to those we love.” Shawn Crouch is a YMP alumnus and former YMP and CMR faculty member. A short video in which Shawn talks about the piece can be viewed here.

Kyra Sims holding french hornKyra Sims featured in Atlantic essay
Walden School Player Kyra Sims—along with her beloved French horn, Otto—was discussed in an essay in the Atlantic entitled “Naming Objects Is the Opposite of Thoughtless Consumption.” As the essay explains, Otto “has been there for the grind and the glory of Sims’s career: countless practice sessions, the triumphs and rejections of auditions, concerts at Carnegie Hall, even a performance onstage with Lizzo at the Grammys.”

Leah Reid’s baby
Our heartfelt congratulations to YMP alumna Leah Reid and her husband, James DeMuth, on the birth of their son, Alexander, on March 25.

In Memoriam

Irving Isadore Kaplan
YMP alumnus Steven Jon Kaplan’s father, Irving Isadore Kaplan, died at the age of 93. An obituary can be found here. Memorial contributions are being directed to Walden. All of us at Walden send our condolences to Steve and his family.

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A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program
A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program