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!

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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

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

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 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 or call (415) 587-8157.

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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 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 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

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

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 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 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

eNews: InterNetzo – March 2022

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Seth Brenzel headshot

Dear Walden friend,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Winter is about to turn into spring, which means summer cannot be that far off. If you’re like me, you are already dreaming of all things summer—and Walden!

I urge you to check out the In the Spotlight section to hear from Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumna and Walden donor Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy. She has a unique story to share with all of us.

We have not published in a few months, and so there is lots of Community News to share, with still more to come in our April issue. Do you have news to share with us? Please contact us at, and if we can include your news (career, personal, musical, community, family, etc.), we will.

I hope you enjoy this edition of InterNetzo.

Best wishes,

Seth Brenzel signature

Seth Brenzel
Executive Director
(415) 587-8157

Walden News

Apply to be part of Summer 2022!

Applications are open for Walden's summer programs, the Young Musicians Program (ages 9–18) and the Creative Musicians Retreat (ages 18-88+).

We are thrilled to welcome back so many returning faculty members for both programs, including Sam PlutaOsnat Netzer, and Renée Favand-See for the Creative Musicians Retreat and Cara HaxoAlex Christie, and Lukáš Janata for the Young Musicians Program, among many others. Lei Liang will be the composer-in-residence for the Creative Musicians Retreat, and Amy Beth Kirsten will be the composer-in-residence for the Young Musicians Program.

Start your application today at Please tell your friends, family, and colleagues that Walden is currently enrolling for summer 2022!

Application Deadline

April 1

2022 Program Dates

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

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

Financial aid is available. Applications received after April 1 will be reviewed as they are received until our programs are fully enrolled.

Elizabeth Susskind working in Walden's officeWalden West has moved

We have moved Walden’s year-round administrative office to:

7 Joost Avenue, Suite 204
San Francisco, CA, 94131

Please update your records.

Our lease was up, and we found a wonderful new office just around the corner from our most recent administrative office. Seth and Elizabeth Susskind (Walden’s administrative assistant) are excited to be in our new place, and many thanks to Elizabeth and Walden alumnus Noah Mlotek for all of their help in effecting the move.

We hope you’ll come visit us soon!

Comings and goings at Walden

We are thrilled to welcome past Walden staff member and Walden alumnus Noah Mlotek as Walden’s interim Development Manager. In February, we bid adieu to Gloria Yehilevsky, who ably served in the development role after Gaela Dennison-Leonard departed Walden in May 2021 to pursue graduate studies. We thank both Gaela and Gloria for their service to Walden and wish them the very best in all of their future endeavors.

Noah will be with Walden in his role for the coming months, and we are also still searching for a more permanent Development Manager to work with our team in San Francisco and with our donors, alumni, and board throughout the world. Know anyone? Check out the job posting here.

We are delighted to welcome two new wonderful board members to Walden’s board: Bob Bassett and Sarah Stroud. Bob is a CMR alumnus who lives in the Denver area, and Sarah is parent to YMP alumna and staff member Francesca Hellerman and resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This year, we also bade farewell to outgoing board members Carlos Shimizu and Matthew Levy. We were so grateful to have their service and support, and we look forward to staying connected in the months and years ahead.

Walden ends year with strong Annual Fund results

During fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020–September 30, 2021), Walden raised more than $370,000 with the help of more than 300 donors, foundations, and other organizations, with the community coming together to raise approximately $100,000 just during September, the final month of our Annual Fund drive. We are so grateful to all of our donors who help make possible amazing artist residencies, critical scholarships, and our amazing faculty and staff each and every summer. We can’t wait for Summer 2022—we’re already making wonderful plans. Walden’s loyal and generous community of supporters ensures that we can dream about summer hikes and swims in Dublin Lake all year long. THANK YOU to our donors and supporters who help us create the music, community, and memories each and every summer.

Community Events

Giving Day Summer 2021

On the last full day of classes at the Young Musicians Program (YMP), and first day of YMP Festival Week, we held our Giving Day fundraiser, sharing a day at Walden via Facebook Live. This included classes, rehearsals, student and faculty interviews, and more insights, culminating in our first Festival Week Composers Forum streamed on YouTube.

This fundraiser brought in a total of $8,003 in donations, surpassing our goal of $4,900 in honor of Walden's 49th season. We were happy to see the Walden community so engaged online, and even saw some fresh faces wander our way and support us.

WOW! Walden Online Workshop featuring Matt Gold

Matt Gold playing clay pots as percussion instruments

Percussionist and Walden visiting artist Matt Gold presented FROM THE EARTH, this year's first Walden Online Workshop (WOW), on February 22. In this interactive workshop, participants explored how the material qualities of percussion instruments directly influence the sound and structure of a piece. Participants explored innovative works by Frederic Rzewski, Nomi Epstein, John Cage, Carolyn Chen, and Juri Seo. Then, they created music collaboratively using objects from everyday life.

Thanks to Matt and our participants for a wonderful workshop!

In the Spotlight

Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy

Ellen "Pogo" Hoffman and Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy at the 2012 Walden/JCC Reunion
Ellen "Pogo" Hoffman (left) and Amy (right) at the 2012 Walden/JCC Reunion

Amy is a Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumna with deep ties to Grace Cushman and her teachings. She is also a donor to Walden who carries herself with a lively and passionate spirit that shines through her research, teaching, music, and everything she does.

Learn more about her work at Apsara Media, and read her full biography on UCLA's website.

How and when did your relationship with the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) begin?

My piano teacher in Montgomery County would take me with her every Saturday to Peabody Preparatory; we would take Musicianship classes with Grace Cushman together. Within two years I was teaching my piano teachers' students musicianship as well.

This naturally led to attending the Junior Conservatory Camp for two years, then coming three more years as a faculty member.

In my last two years of high school I studied Bharatanatyam classical dance of South India with Georgia Cushman (one of Grace Cushman's two daughters) in Baltimore. She had just come back from Madras, India (which is Chennai today), where she had studied at Kalakshetra. I was a devoted student, but it's very difficult when you start at 16 years old! That Indian connection was one reason I went to India as a graduate student. I chose college instead of staying at the Conservatory, because I wanted to know more about the rest of the world, especially during the Vietnam War years.

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

I have an aversion to favorites . . . it seems that you are ranking things. I have many favorite memories. The composer forums were stupendous. The performances were breathtaking. To have my own compositions performed—a Robert Frost poem that I set for piano and violin, performed by soprano Shari Fleming. It was the second time I heard my own composition performed.

Also, singing in some of Humphrey Evans' compositions. He was a great inspiration and in my cohort of students. He was a close friend until his last days. He was a genius and iconoclastic, funny, witty. We used to play ping pong together at camp!

What is something from JCC that you have carried with you?

How to improvise with the material you're learning in musicianship. How to make creative use of the knowledge that you acquire was the main teaching that Grace taught all of us. To use what you've learned: if you're just learning facts, you're not making use of it, and you're not using it creatively. That's what I've done with my scholarship also. I try to use it in creative ways, applying music research to address community problems, both in India among underserved communities and here (in the US) with refugees from Southeast Asia: Hmong tribal refugees from Laos and Khmer refugees from the killing fields of Cambodia.

It's so deep. It's so fundamental, the methods that Grace used—not to mention her enthusiasm and her passion!

Mrs. Cushman taught me how to plan a lesson and how to evaluate a lesson after you've taught it. She was very aware of each student's needs, backgrounds, disabilities, insecurities. I still do that—I plan my lectures; I write out every word when I teach now, and afterwards review every line of what I did and what I added. I keep in touch with as many students as I can; it's been born into me because of Grace.

How are music and/or creativity part of your life now?

I've been teaching one course at UCLA for the past 10 years. It's not about classical folk music of India, not about music of the sacred (all topics I taught with my applied work in ethnomusicology); it is called "Music of Bollywood and Beyond." It covers 100 years: from silent films to the present. This history of cinema and music relates deeply to the history and the people of India. I tell my students, most of whom are of Indian heritage, that "you can talk to your grandparents about this." They come back and say they've had the best conversations with their grandparents and parents . . . it bridges the generational gap. Suddenly you have something to share that you both love.

I teach in an applied sort of way. I design the courses myself, and the students are the subjects. We have some great discussions about how films composed 50 years ago might relate to today, about whether they were created before or after independence. It gives it a historical foundation to talk about the films, and the music, and the influence of Western music and jazz.

I also still play the piano. I like to improvise in an Indo-Jazz fusion style which I do sometimes with a partner who plays the saxophone. I've taught him how to improvise in different Ragas (singular Indian Raga), especially one raga that my husband called a "hypothetical" raga because it never occurred, but it should have. It uses the pentatonic (all black keys) with C (tonic) and G (dominant).

What is a non-musical hobby that's part of your life?

Ping pong! It's a great game for musicians. We have an outdoor ping pong "stadium" in our home. It's very good for hand-eye coordination. It's the fastest game there is, good for mental & physical agility. Great for elders, as the sudden movements are good for preventing Alzheimer's.

I also love to dance: couple dancing, or ballroom dancing and Middle Eastern dance. Coordinating with the music is so important—and so good for the brain. I also exercise at the gym on the elliptical trainer while watching the news. I watch Indian news every day on three different channels.

Why do you give to Walden?


When I went to the Peabody, I was teaching there in my Junior and Senior years of high school. In fact, I had left home.

She [Grace Cushman] made it possible for me to leave by getting me this job as a live-in cook and babysitter for the six children of the Rector of St. Paul's cathedral. So, I could afford to leave Chicago where my parents had moved, which I hated! I was able stay on in Baltimore after camp.

See what a difference this made in my life? It made me independent from the time I was 16 . . . I didn't see my parents for two years. I'm telling you: she transformed my life. I owe my life to her. So, when you ask why do I give to Walden? That's why. The transformation of my life.

What hope do you have for Walden's future?

I would love to see a connection with NPR's "From the Top," and to see more international scope, incorporating music from different cultures!

Community News

Leah Reid headshotLeah Reid wins The American Prize; Shawn Crouch ties for 3rd place
YMP alumna Leah was selected from applications reviewed from across the United States, for one of the nation's most competitive non-profit awards offered by The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts. Leah won in the professional vocal chamber music division for her composition Apple; Single Fish. View the full announcement here.

Also, third prize was tied with YMP alumnus and past faculty member Shawn Crouch.

Congratulations to Leah and Shawn!

Freya Waley-Cohen headshotFreya Waley-Cohen named Composer in Residence of London Chamber Orchestra
YMP Alumna Freya Waley-Cohen has been announced as the London Chamber Orchestra’s Composer in Residence for 2021–22, the orchestra's 100th Anniversary season. View the full announcement of Freya's residency here. On the 26th of October, the LCO opened their concert season with Freya's composition Saffron. This year, Freya will work closely with the LCO on performances of her music, compose two new works for the ensemble, and run workshops for young composers.

Walden PondNew arrangement of Carol Thomas Downing's Walden by Loretta Notareschi
YMP alumna Loretta Notareschi arranged Walden for choir, violin, and piano with a video assembled by the Skagit Valley Chorale. The Chorale recorded the parts from home, which were put together, edited, mixed, and mastered by artistic director Dr. Adam Burdick. In lieu of solo violin, six tracks were compiled for a section sound.

Mivos Quartet travels to EuropeMivos Quartet performing
Past visiting artists Mivos Quartet completed a tour to Salzburg, Vienna, Monheim, and Düsseldorf—their first trip abroad since the pandemic. They performed works by Michaela Catranis, Hannah Kendall, Peter Kramer, Henry Threadgill, Jennifer Walshe, Sam Amidon, Sofia Gubaidulina, and past YMP and CMR Composer-in-Residence George Lewis.

Nnenna Ogwo headshotWalden alumna and past faculty member Nnenna Ogwo's Juneteenth Legacy Project
On June 18, 2021, Juneteenth Legacy Project (Juneteenth LP), founded by Nnenna, presented a Juneteenth celebration entitled "Songs of Resistance and Restoration" at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) in Boston.

For Juneteenth, the group performed outdoors in Astor Place in New York City, joined by guest artist Donnie Johns playing percussion. This event was free and open to the public, hosted by Joe's Pub, as part of Make Music New York.

Alistair Wen looking at a scoreAlistair Wen receives honorable mention from MTNA for Walden festival piece
YMP student Alistair Wen was recognized by the California Music Teachers National Association for his composition Lunar Waltz, composed at the Young Musicians Program 2021. Congratulations, Al!

Brent Morden playing keyboard surrounded by flamesBrent Morden writes, conducts Dante-inspired musical
In October, CMR alumnus Brent Morden announced the opening of Infernal the Musical at The Flea Theater in New York. Infernal is a "rock musical based on Dante’s Inferno that explores consequences, remorse, and our own inescapable demons" and features music composed and conducted by Morden. Learn more about Brent's musical projects on his website. Congratulations on your premiere, Brent!

The Quarry Island Sessions album coverNat Osborn releases The Quarry Island Sessions
In June 2021, YMP alumnus and former visiting artist Nat Osborn released this collection of music recorded while quarantined in Nova Scotia the previous year. "The record plays as a week-to-week musical diary of the early pandemic months when I was stuck in Nova Scotia. Each song is one week's reflection of those uncertain times, ordered chronologically." Learn the story behind the music and view associated images. It is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and all other streaming platforms.

Peter Thompson wearing liturgical vestmentsPeter Thompson invited to serve as Vicar of St. Bartholomew's Church
YMP alumnus Peter Thompson has enthusiastically accepted an invitation to serve as Vicar of St. Bartholomew's Church in the City of New York. View the Facebook announcement by St. Bart's of New York City, and read the full announcement, as letters from Bishop Wolfe and Reverend Peter Thompson, here.

Congratulations, Peter! We wish you the best in this exciting new role.

Graphic from Spliter Reeds performanceLive Splinter Reeds concert in Oakland
On November 21, Splinter Reeds presented an in-person program of music by Amadeus Regucera and Yannis Kyriakides at Dresher Ensemble Studio in Oakland, California, as part of the Dresher Ensemble Artist Residency. Splinter Reeds is a reed ensemble comprising Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), Bill Kalinkos (clarinet), David Wegehaupt (saxophone), Jeff Anderle (bass clarinet), and Dana Jessen (bassoon). Splinter Reeds has been a visiting artist and faculty commissioning ensemble at YMP, and Dana Jessen is a current member of The Walden School Players and past YMP faculty member. Read more about Splinter Reeds and stay apprised of future performances on the ensemble's website.

Sculpture of a womanJosie Spencer sculptures exhibited
An exhibition of work by sculptor Josie Spencer, a YMP alumni parent, was on display through January 3 at Riverside Studios, Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London, U.K. The exhibition featured 19 sculptures forming the set of Damage Control, an audio play written by Polly Wiseman.

Alan Chan headshotAlan Chan Jazz Orchestra
Alan Chan, former Young Musicians Program faculty member and alumnus of the Teacher Training Institute (TTI), will perform this season with the Los Angeles-based Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra and the Alan Chan Moo-sic Quartet in venues across the United States. A Moo-sic Quartet concert at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, in September featured vocalist Laura Dickinson singing jazz standards and songs in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Read more about upcoming performances on Chan's website.

Broadcast From Here logoTune in to Lisa Bielawa's Broadcast from Here Radio
BFH Radio (Broadcast from Here) is a continuous and evolving soundscape composed by Lisa Bielawa, incorporating words, voices, and found audio from participants all over the world. Anyone, anywhere can visit the Broadcast from Here page to read more about the project, listen to the broadcast live, or contribute speech, singing, or instrumental performances through the BFH Radio portal. Contributions are integrated into the BFH Radio stream on a rolling basis, and the stream is live 24/7. Lisa Bielawa was Composer-in-Residence at the Online Creative Musicians Experience (OCME) in 2020.

Mary Fineman performs at Flower PianoMary Fineman playing piano outside
Mary Fineman, an alumna of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), the predecessor program to The Walden School, performed in September at the San Francisco Botanical Garden as part of Flower Piano. This five-day event, held last year in September after a two-year hiatus, featured over 75 piano performances throughout the Botanical Garden's many exhibit gardens.

Nathan Davis headshotNathan Davis announces fatherhood and new projects
Our heartfelt congratulations to composer, percussionist, and many-time Walden School visiting artist Nathan Davis, who announced the birth of his son this year. Davis's new work Seedling for harmonium and electronics was recorded by frequent Walden visiting artist Jacob Greenberg and released on Greenberg's album Bright Codes in November of this year. A new album of solo music by Davis is slated to follow.

The Shrine Church of Stanislaus in ClevelandDenise Ondishko Premieres New Music in Cleveland
YMP alumna, faculty member, and past board member Denise Ondishko's new work A More Perfect Union: Reflections on American Equality, Justice, and Hope was performed in September 2021 by members of the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra at Shrine Church of Stanislaus in Cleveland. A More Perfect Union will be professionally recorded by Pantheon Ensemble during summer 2022.

Headshots of Katie Balch, Marcos Balter, Michael Gilbertson, and Jim MobberleyAmerican Academy honors Walden composers
Four Walden-affiliated composers were among the winners of 2022 music awards from the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters. Former YMP faculty member Katie Balch won the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Award in Music. Arts and Letters Awards were given to Marcos Balter (past YMP and CMR composer-in-residence) and Jim Mobberley (also past YMP and CMR composer-in-residence and former Walden board member). And former YMP faculty member Michael Gilbertson won a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship. These awards recognize outstanding artistic achievement. All of us at Walden send our heartfelt congratulations to these wonderful artists and teachers!

The Blue Unity SextetGeorge Brandon and Blue Unity Sextet
In February, CMR alumnus George Brandon's Blue Unity Sextet presented an online watch party as part of the New York City Multicultural Festival's series "The Healing." Performing Jazz, blues, and folk music, Brandon's musical practice is firmly rooted in the cultures of Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. The watch party, which also features an interview with Brandon, can be viewed here.

Elizabeth R. Austin with a small sculpture of a man playing a lute Elizabeth R. Austin interviewed
Elizabeth R. Austin was interviewed about her accomplished career as a composer as part of Composers Corner, a series hosted by the Jenks Center in Winchester, Massachusetts. The interview can be viewed here. Austin is an alumna of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), starting in its very first year!

Shawn Crouch's choral music performedShawn Crouch conducting
Shawn Crouch's piece Lullaby from Paradise, in a new TTBB version, was written for Cantus for their fall 2021 tour. The performance can be viewed here. Shawn is a YMP alumnus and former YMP and CMR faculty member. He is currently Assistant Professor of Practice of Composition and Theory at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, where he is artistic director of the Ensemble Ibis New Music Ensemble.

The Understanding of All Things album coverSam Pluta and Kate Soper release new album
The Understanding of All Things, a new album by Sam Pluta and Kate Soper, was released March 4 on New Focus Recordings. This bracing collection explores the ever-shifting hierarchy between text-driven and music-dominated vocal work. Composer/electronic musician Sam Pluta was a Walden faculty member for more than 15 summers, and will be back at CMR on faculty in 2022! Along with composer/vocalist/pianist Kate Soper, he is also a member of Wet Ink Ensemble, which has been a visiting ensemble on several different occasions at Walden.

Eric Wubbels profiled in New York TimesEric Wubbels in the New York Times
Pianist/composer Eric Wubbels, a former member of The Walden School Players and a member of Wet Ink, was profiled in the New York Times. The article charted Wubbels's growing exploration of improvisation and his new album, Field of Action / contraposition, with Walden alumna Charmaine Lee and Weston Olencki.

Condolences to Eve Sybor
Walden alumnus David Saslav let us know that Walden alumna Eve Sybor’s husband recently passed away. All of us at Walden send our condolences to Eve and her family.

In Memoriam

Shari Fleming playing piano at the Junior Conservatory CampShari Fleming
Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC) alumna and faculty member Shari Fleming, the original composer of "Good Night, Music," passed away on January 17, 2022, in Bradford, Vermont, at the age of 87. The Walden School mourns her loss with her family, friends, and all who loved her. All of us who are touched every summer by her music will cherish her memory. An obituary can be found here.

George CrumbGeorge Crumb
Pioneering American composer George Crumb died on February 6, 2022, at the age of 92. A longtime member of Walden's Advisory Council, he was an inspiration for generations of creative musicians. The Walden community mourns his loss and is grateful for his legacy.

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

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

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

eNews: InterNetzo – June 2021

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Dear Walden friend,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. Summer is right around the corner, and we have just a few spots left at the Young Musicians Program (YMP) for students ages 9-18, which we will offer in person this summer in beautiful Dublin, New Hampshire. If you would like to join us this summer, go to to get started. Also be sure to check out the list (below) of exemplary faculty, staff, and artists who will be at our programs and featured on our concert series this summer.

We have an exciting Walden Online Workshop (WOW) on Chromaticism in Renaissance Music coming up TODAY, June 3, presented by faculty member and choral director Sarah Riskind. Learn more and register in the Community Events section.

Be sure to check out the In the Spotlight section to hear from Walden parent and board member David Roberts.

I hope you enjoy this June edition of InterNetzo. Stay tuned for details about tuning in to our livestreamed summer concerts. We cannot wait to welcome our CMR students on June 12 and our YMP students on June 26 - back on the campus of the Dublin School, Walden's summer home since 1983!



Community Events

Concert with Dave Eggar to benefit Walden

On Sunday, May 2, cellist Dave Eggar, alongside guest artists Phil Faconti, Beth Snapp, and Blake Collins, gave a stunning concert to benefit Walden. The performance, live from Bristol, Tennessee, featured an amazing array of music, blending Paganini with bluegrass, canonical works with those freshly written. You can listen to an audio clip here of Dave and friends performing Amazing Grace.

The event raised $5,619 and counting! If you would like to make a gift to support Walden's transformative programs, it is not too late to contribute to this event! You can give online at, or by check payable to The Walden School to Walden's office, 30 Monterey Boulevard, Suite E, San Francisco, CA 94131. Your generous gift of any amount makes a difference in the lives of creative musicians.

Stay tuned for more information, and please send any questions to

WOW! Walden Online Workshops!

Chromaticism in Renaissance Music: 

What Living Musicians Can Learn from Gesualdo and Friends

Thursday, June 3, 7:30pm Eastern
Presented by Sarah Riskind

Join Walden Online Workshops (WOW!) for a presentation by Walden School faculty member, choral conductor, and composer Sarah Riskind.

If you've heard music by Gesualdo, Marenzio, and Lassus, you might realize that some 16th-century composers wielded flats and sharps to great dramatic effect. In fact, Renaissance music theorists connected chromaticism with specific emotions and even genders! But how can you channel their wacky but beautiful sounds into your own composing, singing, and other musical pursuits? This event will be part presentation, part discussion, and part composition workshop. It will be helpful if you have some background in playing/singing/reading music, but even if you don't, you're welcome to come listen and learn! Bring a pencil and some staff paper or blank paper.

This workshop, like all Walden Online Workshops, is free to attend. Only a few spots are left!

Alumni of CMR, YMP, OYME, OCME, TTI, and JCC, parents, donors, faculty, staff, and artists are especially encouraged to attend WOW presentations. Members of the general public are also welcome to join.


About Sarah Riskind

Previously based in Seattle, conductor and composer Sarah Riskind is the Director of Choral Activities at Eureka College in central Illinois. Through her work as choral director and faculty at The Walden School, she has become an advocate for developing musicianship and improvisational skills in choirs of all ages and abilities.

Among her original works are Jewish and Judeo-Christian music, secular pieces with improvisatory elements, and frequent settings with string obbligato parts. Recent premieres include the tenor/bass arrangement of Oseh Shalom by the Appalachian State Glee Club in April 2019, the Robert Frost setting Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter by the Pacifica Choirs Interludes Ensemble in March 2019, and several arrangements of Judeo-Spanish melodies by the Seattle Jewish Chorale and Sarah's own ensemble Las Kantaderas del Noroeste in November/December 2018. She has also written for the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble Dal Niente as part of the Walden School Faculty Commissioning Project and is currently involved with the Creative Commissions project through the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Riskind enjoys accompanying voices as a violinist/fiddler and improvisor, and she has most recently sung soprano in the Mägi Ensemble, a professional Baltic women's choir in Seattle. She holds a DMA in Choral Conducting from University of Washington, an MM in Choral Conducting from University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a BA in Music from Williams College.

In the Spotlight

David Roberts

David Roberts is the parent of YMP alumnus Marco Roberts, and a member of Walden's Board of Directors. Before moving his family to the Seattle area in 2016, David lived and worked in China for 20 years, most recently as a partner in the Beijing office of O'Melveny & Myers where he practiced corporate and securities law. For a brief period, the four-piece Roberts Family Band rocked the Beijing elementary school and office party circuit with an eclectic mix of Beatles, Cui Jian, and Soundgarden covers until breaking up over creative differences. Having retired from his law career, David spends his time writing fiction, competing in table tennis tournaments around the U.S., and skiing every storm possible in the Cascade Range.

How and when did you get connected to Walden?

I first got connected to Walden in 2014. Our family was living in Beijing at the time. My wife is from Beijing, and both our kids, Marco and his younger sister Sophia, had grown up in Beijing all their lives, our home for 13 years. Connecting with Walden was not intuitive or easy, and it's amazing that we found it.

At that time, Marco was becoming immersed in music, through his own initiative. He had started composing on his own and when he watched the movie Amadeus, he completely connected with images of Mozart composing by hand. He figured out how to make his own staff paper and printed it out and started composing a chamber symphony all on his own.

We thought, "Okay, this is not normal" because none of us were teaching him, he was teaching himself. We tried to find a composition teacher in Beijing, but it's very difficult to join that world if you don't have preexisting connections. I was looking online, and I found Walden among several other programs in the US. Something about Walden connected-it just looked right. I called the office and spoke with Seth, and that was really helpful, but it still sounded pretty daunting. How could we get him from Beijing to rural New Hampshire? Seth also put me touch with an alumni parent who was living in Beijing, whose daughter had attended Walden a number of years before, and she put our minds at ease.

What has been your involvement since then?

Marco first attended Walden when he was 12, and he did five summers in a row, from 2015-2019. Our family was still in China during his first summer, then his second summer we were in transition, moving to the Seattle area. We could tell from the first summer that Marco had found his place-he just loved Walden. We could see that he was developing and growing in the program, and knew it was perfect for him. So my initial involvement was just as a parent. I visited a few summers, not every summer, because even from Seattle it isn't an easy trip.

Our summer 2020 plans were still up in the air when the pandemic happened. We were struggling with what to do when OYME became an option. He signed up and it was great--I am so glad he had those four weeks. The program was unexpected and improvisational, and it was really well done. Marco composed several pieces, but his piece for Festival Week was really meaningful. He has a deep interest in geopolitics, especially regions that are often overlooked. He composed a haunting piece inspired by Armenian music called Erasure that explores ongoing conflicts among Turkey and its neighbors. Two months after he finished the piece, war broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan. That piece really showed what Walden did for him--it went from a love of music to using it as a language to interpret and comment on the world around him.

Could you describe a favorite memory or experience from being a Walden parent?

My favorite experience is basically the whole first summer, how improbable it was and then watching it become a reality. Sophia named it "Operation Marco" because there were so many pieces that needed to come together. As a family we went from Beijing to Seattle, where we put Sophia in a different camp and lived out of a basement apartment while our new home was being remodeled, then Marco and I flew to New York, and drove from there up to New Hampshire together. He was very quiet, and I could tell he was nervous. As we got closer, taking winding roads through the countryside, my phone lost reception and I casually remarked, "Wow, this is really remote," without thinking what Marco was absorbing. Of course, he had grown up in a city of 30 million people, and now we're in the middle of nowhere without cell service. He started to cry. We talked it through, and I tried to reassure him it would be okay, but he was pretty scared. Finally we arrived at Walden, and I was amazed how friendly and warm the vibe was-it was clearly a special place. There were faculty and staff members greeting students, and they immediately made Marco feel welcome. I stuck around for a few hours, and we met other parents and kids, and he started talking to the other kids, so by the time I left I could tell he was going to be okay.

I was still nervous all summer. That drop-off was a big step for him, but I didn't know how he was going to handle five weeks so far from home when he had never done a live-away program before. He called about a week later and told me that one of the senior campers, Jane, had brought a Chinese instrument to camp (a zither, I believe) and said if anyone was interested in composing for it, they should talk to her. He asked, "Should I talk to her?" and I said, "Absolutely!" Then I didn't hear about it for the rest of the summer. We showed up for Festival Week really excited to hear his piece, but he had hardly told us anything about it-when he gets excited about something, he's so immersed he doesn't say much. But we saw the program, so we knew his piece would be for this instrument, along with violin and cello. Jane and The Walden School Players played the piece beautifully, and I know I'm biased as a proud parent, but it was the best thing I'd ever heard. I couldn't believe it. I thought, "This is what he learned in five weeks? This is incredible." It was so different from what he had been writing on his own before going to Walden. Those pieces were impressive to me, but you could tell he was mostly drawing on Mozart. I had never heard him improvise anything remotely like this piece-it was so unique and drew on both his Chinese upbringing and his love of European music and opera. So that first visit is one of my favorite Walden memories.

How are music and/or creativity part of your life?

I grew up with completely non-musical parents who made a concerted effort to expose me to a lot of music. My mother used to joke about being tone-deaf, and neither of my parents really read music, but they put me in piano and trumpet lessons and I sang in the San Francisco Boys Chorus from age 7-13, which was a great experience. So, I am an amateur musician but can play enough piano to have gotten Marco interested in the instrument from a young age.

Now, creativity for me is mostly writing. I left my law career to pursue writing fiction. I've been taking classes at Hugo House in Seattle and working on a novel for several years, which is a difficult project, and I've also written several short stories. That has given me an appreciation for how difficult any creative process is-it's just really hard work. You have to learn craft skills and how to apply them to achieve your creative vision. So a place like Walden, even for an adult musician, is really cool because someone might love music and want to create music, but you have to learn skills too and find a community that supports your creativity. You generally can't just wing it on your own. Pursuing writing has given me a new appreciation for how difficult it is to be an artist.

What is your hope or dream for Walden's future?

Don't fix it if it ain't broken. There is definitely something to be said for preserving traditions and the way things work, but I like how Walden is innovative at the same time. It's this very interesting balance between traditions (those unique Walden-y things that have been done for decades) and also being experimental and on the cutting edge, whether it's digital music, or this past summer turning on a dime to create online programs from scratch that still preserved the Walden feel. My hope is just that Walden keeps going strong, preserves its core traditions, and continues to innovate with the core traditions and its sense of community as the foundation for that growth.

2021 Summer Programs

A few spots remaining for YMP this summer!

Walden is planning to offer our transformative music programs in person this summer in beautiful Dublin, New Hampshire. We cannot wait to gather again in person for a summer of inspiring programs for creative musicians.

An activity at the Young Musicians Program in 2018

Just a few spots remain for our Young Musicians Program, and we will continue to review applications as they are submitted. Act fast to join us this summer!

Young Musicians Program (YMP): June 26-August 1 (for musicians ages 9-18; 3-week option for students up through 7th grade June 26-July 18, 2021)

Get started on your application at

Please let us know if you have any questions or would like any additional information about Summer 2021 by writing to us at

Summer Lineup

Summer Faculty, Staff and 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). Stay tuned for details about livestreamed concerts this summer!

CMR Leadership Team 2021
Sammi Stone, director of operations (staff)
Alex Christie, director of electronic music (faculty)
Seth Brenzel, executive director (staff)
Caroline Mallonee, program director (faculty)
Loretta Notareschi, faculty
D. J. Sparr, faculty

CMR Faculty 2021
Renée Favand-See, faculty
Osnat Netzer, faculty
Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie, faculty

CMR Staff 2021
Karissa Ulrich, director of health services and nurse
Becca Van Kirk, nurse
Kittie Cooper, staff
Lila Meretzky, staff
Nina Kindrachuk, staff

CMR Visiting Artists
Matthew Gold, percussion
David Friend, piano
Tom Colohan, conductor

Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble:
Alice Teyssier, voice and flute
Peter Evans, trumpet
Ryan Muncy, saxophone
Mazz Swift, violin
Nuiko Wadden, harp

Marcos Balter, Composer-in-Residence

YMP Leadership Team 2021
Sammi Stone, director of operations (staff)
Alex Christie, director of electronic music and academic dean (faculty)
Sarah Riskind, choral director and academic dean (faculty)
Cara Haxo, academic dean (faculty)
Nate May, academic dean (faculty)
Doug Hertz, student activities coordinator (faculty)
Seth Brenzel, program director (staff)

YMP Faculty 2021
Kittie Cooper, director of composers forums
Brian Fancher, faculty
Michael Kropf, faculty
Nate Trier, faculty
Leah Asher, faculty
Emily Ostrom, faculty
Lukás Janata, faculty

YMP Staff 2021
Karissa Ulrich, director of health services and nurse
Becca Van Kirk, nurse
Arté Warren, staff
Anastasia Baker, staff
Demmanuel Gonzalez, staff
Theo Trevisan, staff
Francesca Hellerman, staff
Luke Schroeder, staff
Trevor Danko, staff

2021 Concert Series

All events at 7:30pm. All events closed to the public during 2021. Many events to be livestreamed - stay tuned for details!

Creative Musicians Retreat

June 12 - opening concert, featuring music by Marcos Balter and Walden CMR faculty members

June 13 - presentation by Composer-in-Residence Marcos Balter

June 17 - chamber music concert, featuring performances by faculty, artists, and participants

CMR Composers Forums: June 15, 16, and 18

Featuring premieres of works by CMR participants

Young Musicians Program

July 27 - Amadi Azikiwe, violin & viola, Mikael Darmanie, piano

July 2 - Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses

July 9 - Hub New Music performing world premieres commissioned from Walden's faculty

July 16 - Members of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Niloufar Shiri, Kamancheh
Izzy Gleicher, flutes
Josh Rubin, clarinet
Jake Greenberg, piano
Ross Karre, percussion
Jen Curtis, violin
Katinka Kleijn, cello

July 23 - The Walden School Players

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

July 25 - presentation by Composer-in-Residence Lei Liang

YMP Composers Forums: June 29, July 6, 13, 15, 20

Featuring premieres of works written by YMP students

Festival Week Composers Forums: July 26, 27, 28

Featuring premieres of works written by YMP students

Community News

Work-in-progress performance from Lisa Bielawa

On May 27, the Kaufman Music Center presented a virtual performance of Lisa Biewala's work-in-progress Centuries in the Hours, an opera experience based on diary entries of American women throughout history. The event was the culmination of Lisa's 2020-21 KMC Artist-in-Residence appointment. Adapting to the global pandemic, Lisa is collaborating with librettist/dramaturg Claire Solomon and film and media director Jess Medenbach and using the isolation women have historically faced, reflected in these diaries, as a formal constraint in creating a unique filmed opera experience. Lisa was Composer-in-Residence at Walden's 2020 Online Creative Musicians Experience.

Del Sol String Quartet

On May 22, Del Sol String Quartet performed as part of "Angel Island Insights," a collaboration with The Last Hoisan Poets - Genny Lim, Nellie Wong and Flo Oy Wong - three descendants of Angel Island immigrants who use poetry to speak their individual truths and creatively reclaim the Hoisan-wa language and culture. The event was presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center as part of the "United States Asian America Festival 2021: Forging Our Futures - SOMA & Chinatown." The Zoom program wove together the poetry of The Last Hoisan Poets with performances by Del Sol, music by Asian-American composers Kui Dong, Theresa Wong, Jungyoon Wie, Chen Yi and Huang Ruo. The event also included discussion moderated by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation's Executive Director Edward Tepporn. Del Sol is a past visiting artist at Walden.

Sky Macklay featured on Tectonics Glasgow 2021

Sky Macklay's piece Trrhythms was performed by violinist Ilya Gringolts on May 8 as part of Tectonics Glasgow 2021. Trrhythms (transformation + rhythms) is built of five sections. Each section uses a different short, rhythmic phrase over and over, while other musical elements such as pitches, dynamics, and timbres go through a transformational process. The transitions between each section foreshadow the next section's rhythm. Tectonics Glasgow 2021 is the eighth iteration of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's annual festival, this time a virtual festival with audio and video performances streamed on May 8 and 9. Sky is a Walden alumna and longtime faculty member.

Screenings of Alicia Rabins'

A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff

Alicia Jo Rabin's film A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, April 24-25. The film was also screened at the Sarasota Film Festival in early May and the Washington DC Jewish JXJ Film Festival May 23-30. In an article for The Atlantic titled "What 'A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff' taught me about Mourning," Daniel Pollack-Pelzner writes, "If Anna Deavere Smith, Sarah Koenig, and Joey Soloway wrote a self-reflexive musical about finance and religion, it might approach the film's impish, mystical spirit." Alicia, a YMP alumna, wrote A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff based on her experience working in an artist residency on Wall Street during the 2008 financial collapse, and premiered it in 2012 as solo chamber-rock opera.

Frank Wallace Memorial Festival and Competition

On May 15 and 16, the Boston Classical Guitar Society presented the first Frank Wallace Memorial Festival & Competition, honoring composer and guitarist Frank Wallace (1952-2020). The online festival and competition included two concerts, a masterclass, and a competition open to students ages 16-22. The headlining artist was William Kanengiser of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and donations made as part of this free event went to the BCGS Frank Wallace Scholarship Fund. Frank and his partner Nancy Knowles made up the contemporary song ensemble Duo LiveOak, and have long been friends and supporters of Walden.

Marriage of John Yankee and Stephanie Weaver

John Yankee and Stephanie Weaver were married on January 17 in San Diego as friends and family joined the festivities virtually. John is a conductor, teacher, composer, and folk musician, and was a member of Walden's faculty for more than 15 years, beginning in 1977, and was a visiting artist as recently as 2012. Stephanie, a pianist, is the Executive Director of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, and past Executive Director of the Cape Conservatory in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Congratulations, John and Stephanie!

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. Email your news to

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, including upcoming regional alumni Composers Forums and Holiday Parties. You can also find us on InstagramTwitter, YouTube, bandcamp, and at

A dance during the 2019 Young Musicians Program

eNews: InterNetzo – April 2021

Message from Seth Brenzel, Executive Director

Dear Walden friend,

I hope this newsletter finds you well. We are accepting applications for the Young Musicians Program (YMP) and Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR), which we plan to offer in person this summer in beautiful Dublin, New Hampshire. We have an application deadline tomorrow, May 1, so send in your applications and/or be sure the creative musicians in your life do too!

I hope you'll join me online this Sunday, May 2, at 4pm Eastern, for a concert to benefit Walden, featuring renowned cellist Dave Eggar.

We also having an exciting Walden Online Workshop (WOW) presentation with Marcos Balter coming up on May 5. Learn more about these events in the Community Events section, where you'll also learn about our next Alumni Composers Forum on May 23.

Check out the In the Spotlight section to hear from JCC and Walden alumna Robin Seto.

I hope you enjoy this April edition of InterNetzo, and I hope to see you at one or more of our upcoming events!



Community Events

Concert with Dave Eggar to benefit Walden

Join us online this Sunday for a concert to celebrate and raise funds for Walden's inspiring music programs, featuring renowned cellist Dave Eggar.

Sunday, May 2, 2021 Dave Eggar
4-6pm Eastern time
Featuring cellist Dave Eggar

Dave Eggar is regarded as one of the finest cellists performing today. Dave has been a visiting artist at The Walden School, was a member of The Walden School Players for two summers, and performs frequently at regional Walden events throughout the United States.

Dave will be performing with wonderful guest artists Phil Faconti, Beth Snapp, and Blake Collins.

To join, please register through Eventbrite. Call information and other details will be sent out to attendees before the event. While there is no charge to be part of this event, contributions to support Walden's award-winning programs are encouraged and may be made through Eventbrite when you register, at or by check mailed to The Walden School, 30 Monterey Blvd., Ste. E, San Francisco, CA 94131.

Stay tuned for more information, and please send any questions to

WOW! Walden Online Workshops!

More Walden Online Workshops (WOW) are on the horizon! We are excited to continue sharing this FREE series of lectures, demonstrations, classes, and presentations on a variety of musical topics presented over video call by The Walden School's teaching faculty, artists, and special guests.

Alumni of CMR, YMP, OYME, OCME, TTI, and JCC, parents, donors, faculty, staff, and artists are especially encouraged to attend WOW presentations. Members of the general public are also welcome to join.

WOW presentation with Marcos Balter
Wednesday, May 5, 7:30pm Eastern

Join Walden Online Workshops and Marcos Balter for a presentation on composition and collaboration. This workshop presentation, like all WOW events, is free and open to all.

About Marcos Balter
Praised by The Chicago Tribune as "minutely crafted" and "utterly lovely," The New York Times as "whimsical" and "surreal," and The Washington Post as "dark and deeply poetic," the music of composer Marcos Balter (b.1974, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is at once emotionally visceral and intellectually complex, primarily rooted in experimental manipulations of timbre and hyper-dramatization of live performance. Marcos was Composer-in-Residence at Walden's Young Musicians Program in 2018, and will return in 2021 as Composer-in-Residence for the Creative Musicians Retreat.

Other Upcoming Workshops:

Developing a Personal Language Through Improvisation
Led by Dana Jessen
Thursday, May 13, 7:30pm Eastern

Chromaticism in Renaissance Music
Led by Sarah Riskind
Thursday, June 3, 7:30pm Eastern

Learn More

In the Spotlight

Robin Seto

Robin Seto attended JCC for four summers and Walden for two summers, graduating from Smith College in 1979 and then University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine in 1983. After completing the University of Hawaii Internal Medicine Residency Program in 1986, she and her internal  medicine husband Stephen Denzer moved to the Big Island of Hawaii with the intent of providing comprehensive primary care to an underserved rural community as private practice physicians. In 2004, she joined the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group at the Kaiser Kona clinic, moving to Oahu in 2018 to join the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Internal Medicine Residency Program.  They have two children, Brittany, age 27, a 4th year medical student at the University of Colorado and Ian, age 22, a graduating senior at Yale University in mechanical engineering.

How and when did you relationship with JCC begin?

My relationship with JCC began in the spring of 1969, when I won the Peabody Preparatory Spring Musicianship frolic as an 11-year-old, and was asked by Mrs. Cushman to attend JCC as a recipient of the Elizabeth Brouha JCC scholarship. My first summer at JCC was an eight-week immersion into a culture where creativity and community were the underlying values of the musicianship curriculum, followed by three additional summers at JCC and two at Walden. Those summers became the driving passion for someone intrinsically shy and introverted. I had the privilege of David Hogan's teaching and mentorship during the summers and the academic school years as a Musicianship student at the Peabody Prep.

Many years later, as a physician mother working in Kealakekua, a rural community on the Big Island of Hawaii, I believed in the magic of JCC enough to want to embed the same values and experiences into my daughter's life. Though both my son and daughter had been dutifully enrolled in Junior Music Academy and piano lessons in Kona, I bemoaned the fact that they would not have access to the quality of a Peabody Preparatory education. I considered volunteering as a physician to fill the nurse position posted by Walden, so my daughter could attend as a student, but opted instead for a series of mother daughter journeys back to Walden for the reunions when she was ages 3, 8, 13 and 18. Later, much to my delight, I discovered that, through those reunions, my daughter Brittany had developed her own personal friendship with my JCC roommate, Tamar Bloch, and in college, to her glee, discovered that she had enough credits to minor in music! Connecting with my children through music allowed them to see and connect with another aspect of me that I found most gratifying.

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

I do not have a one, but rather a myriad of JCC memories, as an 11 to 14-year-old, as though they just happened yesterday. The setting of the Burklyn Manor in Vermont, as a child, felt like living in a castle on top of a hillside, surrounded by mountains. Tears still come to my eyes when I recall singing "Come Close the Curtains of Your Eyes" to David Hogan's accompaniment and listening to his "Bist du bei mir" while lingering on the Burklyn manor staircase. Mrs. Cushman would wake us up each morning at 7am, clanging the bell and singing, "Good morning to you." In those days, without cable or YouTube, and reliant on live performances, I remember the thrill of the Sunday afternoon faculty concerts - the brilliance of Alan Shewmon's and Hugh Wolff's piano performances, the colors and sounds of Georgia Cushman's dancing and the beauty of Monteverdi's duet "Pur ti miro, Pur ti godo" sung by David Hogan and Nansi Carroll. I recall the sense of exhilaration while eating oranges on the mountain peaks after a long Saturday morning hike, then swinging through the Virginia Reel at Saturday night square dances. The Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D minor played at Mrs. C's memorial concert will to this day make me pause and reminisce about my JCC summers.

What is something from JCC you have carried with you?

JCC gave me the foundation for a wonderful college experience as a music major at a small liberal arts college, Smith College, the alma mater of JCC faculty Ann Callaway. I was able to indulge in both piano performance and composition, and develop what was to be an influential 15-year relationship with Konrad Wolff, who had just retired from the Peabody Conservatory to teach piano during my freshman year. I was fortunate to be able to study with him in New York City during a three-month summer hiatus between my 1st and 2nd year of internal medicine residency, making time for a visit to the Walden campus together.

The most recent Zoom JCC reunion prompted me to reflect more deeply upon this question, acknowledging that music is not at the forefront of my life. I believe that the repeated summer JCC exposures as a child and teenager imprinted on my developing brain a set of learning values, emphasizing self-actualization, perseverance, joy of learning and sharing in a collaborative, supportive, non-judgmental environment. The goal of such an "appreciative or transformative" learning experience is to create a "growth mindset".

At JCC, we were not taught how to compose, but rather, through analysis and experience of sound, encouraged to independently explore through the act of composition, presenting our works at the weekly Monday night forums for open discussion and feedback. The atmosphere was respectful, non-judgmental, and inter-generational, with the goal of fostering a collaborative, supportive, and creative community.

I believe that the acquisition of the "growth mindset" through my JCC summers contributed to my success and happiness through college and medical school, and then as a physician, mother, and now, after 32 years primary care in Kona, teaching faculty member of the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Internal Medicine residency program on the island of Oahu since 2018.

How are music and/or creativity part of your life now?

When I was 13, Hugh Wolff presented George Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children to our class, while, at the same time, Humphrey Evans introduced us to John Cage's definition of music as sound and silence placed in time. The sound of voices, percussion and instrumental ensemble in George Crumb's work and our class performance of John Cage's Fontana Mix - "Music is all around us if we only listened" - embedded a lifetime memory of attentive mindfulness to sound, space, and movement, which I believe I carry to this day as a physician. When I enter a patient encounter, I feel, sense, and hear the space, glances and nuances of the patient, family, and/or caregiver, remaining attentive to sound and emotions. In this sense, I can "hear music" in much of what I do.

As an internist, my philosophy of care is based on the principles of palliative care, which include respect for an individual's values and beliefs, and care based on a bio-psychosocial and spiritual model. I believe my experiences in music have led me to this point in my career, when I more fully understand and can articulate the importance of blending the art and humanities with the science of medicine.

In a book called Attending by Ronald Epstein, the four foundations of mindfulness - Attention, Curiosity, Beginner's Mind, and Presence -- are outlined as a means to increase physician capacity to promote more patient- centered care for medically complex patients. Mindful awareness of self and others is a cornerstone of the JCC and Walden experience.

On a more concrete note, given the consuming nature of life as a primary care physician, my current goal is to bring music more purposefully back into my life, inspired in part from the most recent JCC Zoom reunion. My 3rd year resident, as a member of Medical Notes, the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group string chamber ensemble, just told me recently that they would be thrilled if I would join them for a piano quintet.

Why do you give to Walden?

I give to Walden in the memory of Mrs. Cushman and David Hogan, and to say "thank you" to all the persons who had the commitment to ensure that Mrs. Cushman's creative approaches to teaching music would live on following the founding of The Walden School in 1972. I still remember the tenuous period following Mrs. Cushman's death in 1971, the responsibility she placed on David Hogan and Pamela Quist, then only in their 20's, to carry her work forward, and the steady guidance of Mrs. Lynn Hebden and later Pat Plude. I salute the brilliance of Seth Brenzel's leadership to lead Walden to a broader, more professional, and international presence in the digital age, and now its perseverance through the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is a hope you have for Walden's future?

I hope that Walden will continue to flourish as a beacon of light for transformative learning, with the understanding that the underlying values and principles of Walden offer opportunities that are broader than the focus on music alone, and of significant value to our society as a whole.

Alumni Composers Forum

The Walden School is hosting an online alumni Composers Forum, featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble performing works composed by Walden alumni. Each piece will be followed by discussion with the composer.  This online event will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for details about the composers featured.

Alumni Composers Forum
Featuring the International Contemporary Ensemble
Sunday, May 23, 2021
4-6pm Eastern time


Featured members of the International Contemporary Ensemble:
Rebekah Heller - bassoon
Josh Modney - violin
Levy Lorenzo - percussion
Dan Lippel - guitar

Stay tuned for details about featured composers. This online event will be free and open to the public. If you have any questions, feel free to write to us at

About the International Contemporary Ensemble
With a commitment to cultivating a more curious and engaged society through music, the International Contemporary Ensemble - as a commissioner and performer at the highest level - amplifies creators whose work propels and challenges how music is made and experienced. Works by emerging composers have grounded the ensemble's programming since 2001. Through composer residencies, commissions, and workshops, the ensemble actively pursues new relationships with composers and sound artists. The International Contemporary Ensemble frequently partners with The Walden School as a visiting artist and commissioner of student works.

2021 Summer Programs

Send in your applications for Summer 2021

Walden is planning to offer our transformative music programs in person this summer in beautiful Dublin, New Hampshire. We cannot wait to gather again in person for a summer of inspiring programs for creative musicians. We hope that you will join us!

An activity at the Young Musicians Program in 2018

Our 2021 dates are:

Young Musicians Program (YMP): June 26-August 1 (for musicians ages 9-18; 3-week option for students up through 7th grade June 26-July 18, 2021)

Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR): June 12-20 (for adult musicians, 18+, not otherwise eligible to be students at YMP)

We are accepting applications, and the next deadline is tomorrow, May 1.

To request an application, go to

Need-based financial aid in the form of tuition assistance is available. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like any additional information about Summer 2021 by writing to us at

Walden is Hiring!

Join our summer and year-round team

Walden is currently hiring for the position of Director of Development & Alumni Relations. This is a full-time position beginning in May 2021, joining the School's year-round San Francisco-based administrative team to help lead the School's annual fund and overall development effort. Read the full job description here, and feel free to spread the word about this opportunity to join the Walden team.

Please direct any questions and inquiries to us at

Community News

Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra Concert

On April 27, the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra (ACJO) presented an online concert entitled Reopening Blues, honoring the memory of Kevin Garren, a founding member of the ACJO and it's lead saxophone/woodwind player, who passed away in February. The Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra is a Los Angeles-based big band that Alan started in 2011. Alan is a Walden alumnus and past faculty member. You can watch the entirety of Reopening Blues here.

Livestream of new work by Shawn Crouch

On April 16, a free livestream performance of Shawn Crouch's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird was presented by Aperio, Music of the Americas, in collaboration with New American Voices. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird is a new work for solo voices, piano, and percussion, featuring the poetry of Wallace Stevens. This reprise performance of the 2020 world-premiere explores multiple perspectives on the poet's blackbird motif. Shawn is a Walden alumnus and past faculty member, and the winner of the 2015 New American Voices Composition Prize, which supported the completion of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

Olivia De Prato launches Contemporary String Techniques

Olivia De Prato has launched a YouTube series called "Contemporary String Quartet Corner." Each week, she posts videos about contemporary string techniques, explaining how to produce them on the violin and how they are often used in a passage of a score (notation examples), as well as tips from a performers point of view. The series is a resource for composers and performers, and you can find the videos here. Oliva is a member of the new music ensembles Signal and Victoire, and as co-founder and first violinist of the Mivos Quartet, she is a frequent visiting artist at Walden.

Lila Meretzky's Sea Glass Partita premiered

On April 20, Lila Meretzky's Sea Glass Partita for singing bassoonist was premiered by Eleni Katz as part of her Yale MMA Lecture Recital. Lila composed the five movement partita for bassoon/voice inspired by a poem that Eleni wrote over the summer entitled "Sea Glass." The performance was accompanied by sea glass projections designed by John Horzen. Lila served on staff at the Young Musicians Program in 2018 and 2019, and was on faculty for the Online Young Musicians Experience in 2020.

New project from Brent Morden

Magical Moves: the Musical Chessboard Project is a new work composed  by Brent Morden, commissioned by Don MacKay, Ph.D. The project will premiere in May 2021. Magical Moves is an educational piece of musical theatre that teaches children of all ages under 100 about music, chess and life. Its melodies dramatize the magical moves and thoughts of the players in the 2019 World Championship game in Chess960, Bobby Fischer's new type of chess that fosters creativity rather than memorization. Brent is a CMR alumnus.

Popebama featured on Yarn/Wire Feedback

On April 15, Walden faculty member Dennis Sullivan and past visiting artist Erin Rogers, who together make up the duo Popebama, were featured on Yarn/Wire Feedback. Feedback is a weekly, livestreamed series of conversations between Yarn/Wire and guests, featuring deep dives into past collaborations, inside tips on performance, and more. Popebama is a New York-based experimental duo that focuses on exciting performances of unconventional works. Erin (saxophone) and Dennis (percussion) are composer-performers who apply text, electronics, and high-energy instrumental writing to freshly-squeezed sounds. Yarn/Wire is a past visiting artist, and were featured on Walden's Alumni Composers Forum on April 18. You can watch the conversation, hosted by Andrea Lodge, here.

Leah Reid wins second prize in Iannis Xenakis competition

On April 7, Leah Reid was awarded second prize in the Iannis Xenakis International Electronic Music Competition for her piece Reverie. This year's competition marks the 20th anniversary of Iannis Xenakis' death, and aims to represent his maxim "To make music is to express human intelligence by sound means. All pieces are submitted anonymously, and this year 224 entries were received from around the world. Leah is a YMP alumna.


In Memoriam

Rosemarie Greenwald

Rosemarie Greenwald passed away on April 1st at the age of 86. Rosemarie and her husband David sent their son Mark to Walden for four summers, beginning in 1975, and have been wonderful friends and supporters of Walden ever since. They often visited for Festival Week to hear the performances of all the students' works.

Rosemarie had a lifelong love of music, studied musicianship at Peabody Preparatory, and studied voice with fellow Walden parent Ruth Drucker. While her son was in college, Rosemarie matriculated and graduated from Towson University with a major in Vocal Performance. She was a soloist at churches, a former Choir Director, and a choir member at her synagogue. Rosemarie loved to travel, create sewing and embroidery projects, and make jewelry. When the pandemic began, she started sewing protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Rosemarie is deeply missed, and we are keeping the Greenwald family in our thoughts.


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. Email your news to

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, including upcoming regional alumni Composers Forums and Holiday Parties. You can also find us on InstagramTwitter, YouTube, bandcamp, and at

A dance at Walden in 2019

Read more