In the Spotlight

Larry Wetzler 

Dr. Larry Wetzler is an alumnus of the Junior Conservatory Camp (JCC), the predecessor program to The Walden School. The JCC was founded in 1952 by Grace Newsom Cushman.

How did your relationship with the Junior Conservatory Camp and Walden begin?

Around the age of 10 or 11, I started taking musicianship classes with Shari Fleming. A few years later, I worked with Mrs. Cushman in her musicianship and theory classes. She would have ongoing potluck dinners at her home on Mt. Vernon Square, just across the street from Peabody. We would all gather for a great meal and some music. When I first attended the Junior Conservatory Camp with Mrs. Cushman in Lyndonville, Vermont, I was about 16 and already felt very much part of the community. I was taking piano lessons with Reynaldo Reyes at the time, and he was also on faculty at the camp.

Could you describe a favorite memory from JCC?

I have so many wonderful memories, but a few favorites. I loved studying Bach. We were analyzing Bach chorales in Mrs. Cushman’s class at Peabody, and at the JCC, we studied one of the Brandenburg Concertos. Reynaldo Reyes performed Bach’s Italian Concerto, and we would sing one of the Bach fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier.

I’ll always recall Reynaldo Reyes, Zoltan Szabo, and others performing the Ravel and Debussy Quartets. Watching Linda Wilder perform a Martha Graham-inspired modern dance took my breath away.

What is a non-music hobby or activity you love?

For the past 25 years, I have been studying the work of Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalyst. I attend an ongoing weekly Lacanian psychoanalytic seminar in Manhattan. I find his work fascinating and incorporate much of it into my own psychotherapy practice.

You support Walden in a very special way, by performing piano recitals and asking that attendees donate to Walden, rather than buying a ticket. How did this idea come about?

It came about through my belief in the power of great music to move us into a sacred dimension, transcending our ordinary lives. I want to encourage the Walden project, and enable young musicians to experience some of what I experienced in those early years.

How is creativity part of your life now?

I have written on the interface of music and psychoanalysis. Some of my work appears in the book Music and Psyche: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Explorations.

What advice would you give to would-be Walden students of today as they embark on their summer at Walden?

Be open to the miracle of music and the ways in which it taps into the heartfelt regions of existence beyond words.