Artist Spotlight: The Walden School

This month, we're pleased to spotlight The Walden School. Please enjoy!

Can you tell people about the basics about The Walden School (TWS)... whenit started and why.

This summer we are celebrating Walden’s 45th AnniversarySeason, but our heritage begins in the 1940s. The Walden School’s philosophy isrooted in a program for creative music education developed by the late GraceNewsom Cushman, founder and director of the Junior Conservatory Camp (the predecessorprogram to The Walden School). She held the conviction that creativity is theprimary purpose of education, and that the most successful program allowsstudents to discover new materials and concepts for themselves and learn tothink independently. An outgrowth of her

original work, the Walden MusicianshipCourse is a cornerstone of The Walden School’s

immersive music programs. TheCreative Musicians Retreat (CMR) is an 8-day get-away for

adults, and ourflagship Young Musicians Program (YMP) is for pre-college students ages 9-


Some have described Walden as “putting all of the piecestogether.” Music fundamentals, like

rhythm, harmony and melody, are taught in avery clear, progressive way that right-away

gives students the confidence andfreedom to improvise and compose. This is done in a

supportive environmentwhere community is key. It is fun and effective, from the youngest

beginners tothe most advanced musicians.

The curriculum and activities provide students the tools andguidance they need to express

themselves successfully. This happens alongsideour emphasis on cultivating open

listening skills and a unique voice. Lastsummer our Board of Directors met in Dublin to

refresh and reinforce The WaldenSchool’s mission and vision statements:

Mission: The Walden School inspires artisticexpression and personal growth through

experiential music programs.

Vision: The Walden School envisions a world in whichpeople engage with one another

creatively, collaboratively, and with respect.

Please explain TWS’s commitment to the arts in the Monadnock Region.

Part of the magic of The Walden School is our beautifulcampus setting at the Dublin School,

where we have been in residence since1983. The campus is an ideal setting for Walden’s

programs, and the warm andwelcoming Dublin community wonderfully supports our work

each season.

We have been offering a free and open-to-the-public concertseries for several decades now,

and twice, this concert series has won nationalawards from ASCAP and Chamber Music

America for our adventurous programming.The performers are world class, and include

great jazz musicians, classicalartists, and contemporary music specialists, alike. Annually,

we present achoral concert in the community that is a favorite amongst our concertgoers.

The natural beauty throughout the Monadnock region heretruly inspires our program

participants. Our young musicians are unpluggedduring their experience; cell phones and

Internet are not allowed. We encouragepersonal connection with others and the environment.

And we explore the naturalbeauty together on weekly hikes to local mountains, including

annual hikes upMount Monadnock.

We appreciate the vibrant arts community in the Monadnock Region,where so many arts

organizations thrive and are supported by area residents. Eachsummer, our programs

attract hundreds of additional arts lovers who visit localshops, galleries, hotels, and

restaurants, and who are annually impressed withthe lush landscapes, fresh air, and

regional offerings. We are so grateful forthe chance to foster Walden’s creative community

here in the Monadnock Region.

Is TWS collaborative? How so? How does TWS work with artists and artsrelated


Walden is all about collaboration! Everyone on campus sharesmeals together and sings in

chorus daily. Our programs offer our participantsthe environment that allows them to

balance focusing on their own, individualcreative work and collaborating with peers and

mentors in a supportivecommunity.

Each summer we bring performing ensembles to Dublin forspecial collaborations. For

several years now, we have been building a partnershipwith the International Contemporary

Ensemble (ICE). Last August, eight studentsin our Young Musicians Program composed

works for ICE to premiere in Dublin,and then again perform at the Mostly Mozart Festival in

New York City. Thestudents worked with the ensemble readying their pieces for the

firstperformance, revising and receiving feedback from the performers as they soughtto

bring their very best work forward.

We also have a commitment to bringing the musicians we hostoff-campus to support local

Monadnock organizations. Walden musicians haveperformed at the Keene Public Library,

RiverMead Retirement Community, andCrotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center.

In addition, we are committed to further developingpartnerships with regional arts

organizations. We have collaborated onprogramming with Monadnock Music, hosted a joint

residency project with AppleHill, and annually, connect our young composer students with

MacDowell Fellowsin residence at the MacDowell Colony. We look forward to more

suchopportunities in the years ahead.

What is TWS’s vision for the arts in the Region and the surroundingregions? And, NH

for that matter?! How will TWS work to make that happen?

Our vision is that with its varied offerings – in music,dance, theater, visual arts, film, and

more – New Hampshire and the MonadnockRegion, specifically, would continue to attract

world-class artists, as well asaudiences and arts supporters. This includes more people

taking advantage ofthe Region’s offerings, and we will endeavor to make more people aware

of our freeconcerts and Composers Forums that happen late June through early August.

Throughthese events, we will continue to contribute to the rich and diverse artavailable to

residents and visitors alike. Wonderful opportunities and insightscan emerge when

organizations are connected to one another through projects oron-going collaboration. We

are committed to nurturing our existing partnershipsand are open to new collaborative


What else should people know about The Walden School?

Walden hosts more than 100 premieres of newly composed musiceach year. Our concerts

and Composers Forums are all free and open to thepublic. Summer 2017 Artists-in-
Residence include Matt Gold (percussion), StevenBeck (piano), Splinter Reeds, The Walden

School Players, and the Mivos Quartet,among others. This summer we also welcome

Composers-in-Residence Annie Gosfieldand Robert Kyr, who will moderate numerous

Composers Forums during which newmusic is performed and then immediately discussed

with the composer,performers, and the audience. Such events provide insight to the

creativeprocess for all involved. We hope to see you this summer at one of our musical


For more info visit their website!