Transformative Programs:

Young Musicians Program

Walden’s 47th Young Musicians Program (June 29-August 4) brought 49 young composers, ages 9-18, to Dublin from 17 states and two other countries. Of these creative, talented students, 27 were new to Walden, and 22 were returners. Eight younger students attended a shortened, three-week session, and all students spent life-changing weeks working with incredible faculty, dedicated staff, and top-notch artists and ensembles. Our guest Composer-in-Residence, Kati Agócs, was a wonderful presence, as she moderated three Composers Forums with thoughtful curiosity and gave a fascinating lecture-demonstration of her work. Two of her works were featured on other concerts, including a beautiful performance of Hyacinth Curl on Walden’s Choral Concert, arranged for 12 voices by Walden’s Choral Director, Dr. Sarah Riskind. Addressing YMP students at Walden’s Choral Concert, Kati said:

I’ve been absolutely blown away by all of your works, your individual voices that I’ve heard. To me you’re like a firmament of stars, which has no limit to its potential—each one unique and brilliant. I feel the world really needs you and your passion for new music, and it gives me hope that you’re going to be going out there sharing that passion.

As happens each summer, all YMP students took classes in musicianship and composition, as well as chorus. We welcomed back entirely returning faculty, and welcomed three new staff members to the team, including alumnus Theo Trevisan. Faculty members taught specialty classes in orchestration, film and video game scoring, Renaissance music, music for social change, jazz improvisation, and several other topics.

In the words of YMP student Ash Paris-Carter, reflecting on her 6th summer at Walden:

Year after year, every time I arrive at Walden, my heart glows. I’m always struck by the natural beauty of New Hampshire, combined with being surrounded by creative and talented individuals who love music as much as I do. My favorite thing about Walden is that music is tied into everything we do, from hikes, to meals, and even “Halloween in July.” I love that it is the only place in the world where a bunch of teenagers can rock out to Stravinsky and Philip Glass at a dance. I love that my teachers are so engaged and passionate about music, and that they will always have my back. I love that Walden has opened me up to the fact that music can take many different forms. That people write music of every genre and every technique and style and how Walden is more welcoming to that than anywhere else I’ve studied. This community lifts everybody up and reveals to them that music is everywhere, in every moment of time.

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Creative Musicians Retreat

For Walden’s eighth year of the Creative Musicians Retreat, 45 participants, ranging in age from 18 to 77, came from 22 states and Canada for nine immersive days of composing and learning from renowned faculty and guest artists. 14 of the participants were alumni of YMP, CMR, and/or TTI, and all participants came together in a wonderful community spanning many musical styles, talents, and backgrounds. Our fantastic Composer-in-Residence, George Lewis, shared excellent insights with the composers in master classes, three nights of Composers Forums, as well as during private lessons. We offered an evening of chamber music for the second time at CMR, with an amazing repertoire of entirely contemporary pieces. The wonderful Matthew Gold, David Friend, and Mivos Quartet were in residence this summer, and their enthusiasm and dedication shone through in their performances of participant works.

Award-winning Concert Series:

Our Composers Forums are at the heart of Walden’s programs and are a unique element of our Concert Series. Whether or not students have written music before coming to Walden, all students compose at least one piece at Walden, and most complete more. Participants write in a wide array of musical styles, and these works are premiered on 11 Composers Forums (3 during CMR, 8  during YMP) by visiting artists, faculty and staff members, and other students. After their piece is premiered, the composer takes the stage to answer questions from faculty, other students, and audience members about their piece, their process, and their intentions going forward. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of a Young Musicians Program Composers Forum:

Walden’s Summer Concert Series included more than 20 performances, all free and open to the public. The Young Musicians Program had a wonderful opening concert with the Steinberg Duo, featuring the U.S. premiere of a sonata written for them by Philip Sawyers. Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses gave a lively outdoor performance of New Orleans jazz, delighting an audience of more than 300 before leading a musical parade down to the lake to watch 4th of July fireworks. The YMP Faculty Commissioning Concert featured four members of Ensemble Dal Niente, who performed eight new pieces by Walden faculty. The International Contemporary Ensemble gave an amazing performance of works by contemporary composers, including Walden faculty member Osnat Netzer, as well as performing student works on two of the Young Musicians Program Composers Forums. Eight returning members of The Walden School Players performed numerous student works during Festival Week, and also gave an exciting concert of works entirely written in the past 15 years, including works by Walden faculty member Ted Moore and 2019 YMP Composer-in-Residence Kati Agócs.

Our visiting artists also held community connections concerts at three locations. Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses performed at RiverMead Retirement Community, The Walden School Players performed at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, and the Steinberg Duo performed at the Keene Public Library.

Click on date to view program details:

Saturday, June 15: Mivos Quartet (string quartet); Matthew Gold, percussion; David Friend, piano, and Hai-Ting Chinn, voice. Included works by George E. Lewis, Composer-in-Residence

Sunday, June 16: Composer Presentation: George E. Lewis, CMR Composer-in-Residence

Tuesday, June 18: Creative Musicians Retreat (CMR) Composers Forum I

Wednesday, June 19: CMR Composers Forum II

Thursday, June 20: CMR Chamber Music Concert

Friday, June 21: CMR Composers Forum III

Sunday, June 30: Steinberg Duo – Louisa Stonehill, violin; Nicholas Burns, piano

Tuesday, July 2: Young Musicians Program (YMP) Composers Forum I

Friday, July 5: Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses (New Orleans jazz)

At this lively outdoor concert, the band announced their set from the stage, with music primarily drawn from New Orleans jazz traditions, including, but not limited to, Gypsy Jazz and traditional New Orleans/American jazz music.

Tuesday, July 9: YMP Composers Forum II

Friday, July 12: Ensemble Dal Niente performing world premieres by Walden faculty members

Tuesday, July 16: YMP Composers Forum III

Thursday, July 18: YMP Composers Forum IV

Friday, July 19: International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

Tuesday, July 23: YMP Composers Forum V

Friday, July 26: The Walden School Players. Included works by Kati Agócs, Composer-in-Residence

Sunday, July 28: Composers Presentation: Kati Agócs, YMP Composer-in-Residence

Monday, July 29 – Wednesday July 31: Festival Week Composers Forums

Composers Forum I  |   Composers Forum II  |  Composers Forum III

Friday, August 2: The Walden School Choral Concert, Sarah Riskind, Choral Director


Collaborative Partnerships:

Dublin School

Walden’s 37th season at our wonderful host Dublin School was particularly lovely as we celebrated our second season in the remodeled, air-conditioned Louise Shonk Kelly Recital Hall, with a beautiful, spacious stage and a Meyer sound system.

PRISM Quartet

Long-term collaborator PRISM Quartet performed PREMIERES in Philadelphia and New York, the 19th year of premiering Walden student pieces. The performance featured YMP alumna Francesca Hellerman, winner of the PRISM/Walden School Commissioning Award.

Ensemble Dal Niente

In March, Ensemble Dal Niente gave the world premiere of Meditation on Collision, a piece written by YMP alumna Ruby Landau-Pincus, winner of the 2018 Walden Dal Niente Commissioning Award. In May, Dal Niente performed Ruby’s piece again, on a concert featuring the world premiere of Undersea, a piece by YMP alumna Victoria Cheah.

The MacDowell Colony

Walden continued a decades-long association with its annual visit to this preeminent artist colony. Students met with two composers–Philippe Bodin and Martha Mooke. French–born composer Philippe Bodin is a Guggenheim fellow and a laureate from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Composer and electric-acoustic violist Martha Mooke is a pioneer in the field of electric five-string viola. She allowed students to tour the MacDowell Colony studio where she is in residence, and even let several YMP students try out her electric viola.

Regional Events

We celebrated Walden with events in Dublin, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., featuring world-class performances by past faculty members, visiting artists, and friends of Walden. At our Washington, D.C. event, Eric Huebner, pianist for the New York Philharmonic, performed a piano recital featuring Ligeti, Chopin, and a piece written at Walden by a 2018 YMP student. Our New York event featured an amazing performance by the Claremont Trio, featuring a piece written at Walden by a recent YMP alumnus. In San Francisco, guests heard an astounding performance by cellist Dave Eggar, along with Phil Faconti, Waway Saway, and Charith Premawardhana. Our August event in Dublin featured violinist Violaine Melançon, a former faculty member and visiting artist at Walden, performing solo works by Jörg Widmann, Lei Liang, and Bach. These four events brought together more than 350 friends, alumni, and supporters of the Walden School for celebrations of Walden’s programs and people, all while delighting in music and community.


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