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