Representative Programs

Music and the Social Conscience

This multi-media presentation is designed to call students' attention to the social undercurrent intrinsic in music and in the process of musical composition. Throughout history music has been used as a forum of social dialogue and exchange-sometimes overtly to promote a political platform, sometimes covertly as a subterfuge for protest. Music and the Social Conscience (MaSC) seeks to show students specific moments in history during which music has played a large role in informing and unifying people for a common cause-in essence, catalyzing social change. This presentation is made not only for the purpose of educating students about history and music, but also so that students can draw a parallel between that history and their own story.

Depending on the demographics of the student population, the course affords great flexibility by adjusting the content to respond to the cultures, heritages and societal backgrounds of the class, to best address each particular classroom situation. Music and the Social Conscience aims to teach students what kinds of positive resources may be drawn upon to effect change in their lifetime.

MaSC is about 1 and 1/2 hours in length and can be followed with a live performance by the Walden Chamber Players of the 8th string quartet byDmitri Shostakovich, one of the composers and works prominently featured in Music and the Social Conscience. The length of the presentation can be variedslightly by adjusting its content. MaSC has been presented at colleges and high-schools across the United States to enthusiastic reception.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council recently awarded Music and the Social Conscience its Gold Star Award.

"Thou art all my art . . ."
The Elizabethan age in music, poetry and image

Thou art all my art is a multi-media presentation which explores the music, literary and visual arts in England during the Elizabethan period. The presentation is centered on sonnets by William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth 1st, poetry of both, great passion and contemplation. Readings from the literature are framed with music by Gibbons, Morley, Dowland and others whose music we know to have been introduced by Shakespeare, an artist shrouded in mystery, into his plays and by slides of paintings of some of the most important painters of the age such as Nicholas Hilliard. Through the juxtaposition of music, image and word Thou art all my art dramatically recreates the mood of an age full of passion, secrets, unrequited love and mystery.

Boccherini in Madrid

Boccherini in Madrid is a multi-media presentation, combining music, literature and the visual arts.Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) was an Italian composer who spent most of his creative life in Madrid, Spain. Although a composer of the highest distinction he is today somewhat neglected. Boccherini in Madrid explores the artistic environment in Madrid in the late 18th century, drawing connections between Boccherini and contemporary artists of his, such as Goya and Tiepolo, two of the most important painters active in Madrid at the time. Indeed, there are examples where Boccherini and Goya used the same subject-matter as the inspiration for their respective artistic output. Slides of paintings by Goya, Tiepolo and Mengs are projected during the performance of music by Boccherini in order to highlight that connection.

The presentation is framed by readings from contemporary accounts of life in Madrid during the late 18th century. These readings serve to provide the listener with a picture of life in Madrid during the period described and help to connect the artists portrayed in Boccherini in Madrid to the social environment and its influences on them.

Vienna's Coffee House at the Fin-de-Siecle

Vienna’s coffee-houses were not only famous for its desserts and delicious coffee but also as a place were artists of all stripes gathered and busily exchanged ideas. Painters, composers, musicians, writers and scultpors all converged on the coffee-house as a place for stimulation, peer-review and to keep abreast on the latest artistic developments.

Our presentation aims to recreate this unique environment of a by-gone era by presenting music by some of the foremost Viennese composers of the day, interspersed by readings from correspondence by Gustav Klimt, Alma Mahler, Schoenberg, Egon Schiele and Alexander Zemlinsky, among others. The presentation is framed by a slide-projection of paintings by Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka and other prominent painters of the period.

This program can be followed (or preceeded) by a serving of coffee and Viennese pastries. The conclusion of this presentation can be a dancing of Viennese Waltzes to live performances of music by the Strauß family by the Walden Chamber Players.
“The music was awesome. It made you feel like you could actually be in the Elizabethan age. I could envision the culture and the ‘parties’ of the time."
- student, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science
“To have musicians of this caliber in our ‘little’ music room, at arm’s length, has proven invaluable.

- Middle School Teacher