In the Spotlight

Theo Trevisan

We caught up with Theo Trevisan, an alumnus of the Young Musicians Program, the Creative Musicians Retreat, and, as of this week, the Online Creative Musicians Experience. Theo was on staff at the Young Musicians Program in 2019, and will be participating in Walden’s Summer of Creativity. Stay tuned for updates on Theo’s creative endeavors!

How and when did your relationship with Walden begin, and how do you stay connected now?

In 2012, my mom found out about Walden from one of her friends, a violinist who had heard about it from other performers. I was at another summer camp in roughly the same area of New Hampshire, and when I got back, she pitched Walden to me for the next year to go and compose. At the time, I was very burnt out from traveling with choir and said, “Absolutely not.” A year later she pitched it again, so I went in 2014, and after that I always regretted not going a year earlier. I attended the Young Musicians Program (YMP) from 2014 to 2017, then went to the Alumni Reunion in 2018. I went to the Creative Musicians Retreat in 2019, and was on staff at YMP. I just took part in the Online Creative Musicians Experience last week. Since 2014, I’ve managed to keep a connection with Walden programs each year in some way.

Outside the summers, I stay in touch with the Walden community, with other students who were at YMP when I was. We still post a word of the day sometimes, and other little reminders of the Walden community throughout the year. Since joining the staff, I also keep in touch with faculty and staff members, so I try to stay in touch with all aspects of the Walden community.

Could you describe a favorite Walden memory?

That’s a tough one. Monadnock hikes are always a highlight of the summer for me. Getting to stand at the top and look over everything-especially if it’s a nice day-is a really great thing. The dances are great as well, so Saturdays in general are always fun. The second to last and last Saturdays in particular, when you have so many different events, are great. That last Saturday, when there’s a swim trip, a dance, an open mic, and everything going on, is amazing, but of course bittersweet because it’s the last full day.

Another memory is from 2016, when ICE did a residency at Walden, and some of us got to write pieces for them in advance. That was a great opportunity. But it’s hard to pin down one particular memory.

How are music and creativity part of your life now?

They are still a very large part of my life. I just finished my junior year at Princeton. I’m studying music composition and computer science, so creative activity and generative work is most of what I do. Walden has been really good at helping me think outside the box, which I notice at school as well. I’m very fortunate that when I hear different types of music, I’m not thinking about it in only one conventional way. Walden teaches you from day one that music is sound organized in time, and teaches you to make different connections. There are lots of things you wouldn’t conventionally learn that Walden pushes you to think about. Especially now, with lots of time sitting at home, I’ve found myself surprisingly motivated to compose a lot, so that’s still a huge part of my life, and I plan for it to continue to be that way.

What is a non-musical hobby you love?

I’ve always loved reading. I’d like to do a Great Books program at some point. Particularly before quarantine I was trying to read a bunch of classic books. I just finished Moby Dick, and I’m reading Dubliners now, waiting for some other books to arrive. Last summer at Walden I was working on Paradise Lost in the few moments of spare time I had during the work day.

I also like to play video games, especially strategy games. I’ve been playing more Dungeons and Dragons during quarantine, because it forces you to be social with friends. I’ve been doing a little bit of cooking, and a tiny bit of baking, but reading is probably the biggest non-musical activity right now.

You’re taking part in the Create-a-Thon, and you’re also a donor–why do you give to Walden?

I give to Walden because it’s a way of giving back. The Walden community has been a really important part of my life and my growth as a person, as well as a musician. I want to make sure that opportunity and that community is still there for younger people–and older people–who want to be part of that community. Walden was one of the most important things for me growing up, and I want to make sure that sticks around.

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

I hope that we can all be back in Dublin again in the future. That might sound small, but this is such a challenging time for arts institutions. OCME was great for seeing that the community is still there, even if we’re not in Dublin, and it was great to have that time of being together, but I hope we’re able to gather in Dublin again in coming summers. I’m glad to see the Walden community is holding together, despite everything going on in the world, but I miss Walden, even though I had that online connection. I miss the in-person experience, but I’m also just very grateful to the leadership team and everyone keeping things going. I’m grateful Walden has been such a large part of my life.