The Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat

The week-long festival in New England for composers, improvisers, performers, electronic musicians, choral musicians, and music teachers.

All participants at the Creative Musicians Retreat take classes, sing in chorus, attend improvisation workshops, hear concerts, and participate in Composers Forums. Courses include the Walden School Musicianship Course, seminars on Contemporary Topics, and courses in electronic music. Our Composer-In-Residence is on campus all week, moderating three Composers Forums, conducting master classes, and giving private composition lessons. In 2019, the Mivos Quartet returned as our Ensemble-in-Residence.

Composition Curriculum

For anyone interested in writing music and studying  contemporary topics, musicianship, and electronic music.

At the Creative Musicians Retreat, participants may take composition lessons and attend master classes with members of the faculty and the Composer-in-Residence.  Many participants compose a piece for our Artists-in-Residence or Chamber Choir and workshop the piece during the Retreat. Compositions are presented at the Composers Forums. Composers also participate in improvisation workshops, sing in chorus, and take classes in contemporary topics, electronic music, musicianship and pedagogy. Composer-participants may also take instrumental lessons, play on the chamber music concert, and perform student pieces on the Composers Forums.


During Composers Forums, new works are presented in a concert setting.

Forums are moderated by the Composer-in-Residence, who leads a discussion of each piece with participants, faculty, the performers, and the audience. Composers receive constructive feedback as a springboard toward further work, a unique opportunity for musical and personal growth. Forums are designed for the beginner as well as the advanced composer, and are greatly beneficial to both.


All participants at the retreat enroll in discussion-based seminars on 20th and 21st century music offered by the Walden faculty. Previous courses at the Creative Musicians Retreat include: Moral Contexts in Recent Music, Spectralism, Orchestration, Process Music, Symmetry in Music, Transformations: The Changing Styles of 20th Century Composers, and Metamorphosis: How the Work of M.C. Escher Helps Us Understand Contemporary Music.

Download a copy of the full schedule here. 


The total price for the 2021 Creative Musicians Retreat is $2,600. This includes tuition, room and board, all instruction, activities, recordings, t-shirt, and camp photo. To pay by credit card or PayPal, there is an additional 5% fee. All admitted students are eligible to request an interest-free payment installment plan. Applications completed in the first round are eligible for a 5% early tuition payment discount if all fees are paid by March 1, 2021 (see dates and fees document for details). A $30 non-refundable application fee must accompany the application ($31.50 if paying the application fee by credit card or PayPal).

There is need-based financial aid available. A completed financial aid application and 2020 tax documentation are required to be eligible. The Walden School is committed to making our programs affordable for as many financial aid applicants as possible to participate, and please understand that we have a limited financial aid budget which we try to apply as broadly and fairly as possible.