Madeline Island Chamber Music History

History of Madeline Island Chamber Music

Established in 1985, Madeline Island Chamber Music began as a one-week camp for 20 high school musicians from Minneapolis/St. Paul to study chamber music with three faculty from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 1994, the organization purchased a wooded, ten-acre site that was developed into its current campus, which includes three student dormitories; 21 solo and ensemble practice rooms; an administrative center that houses the student dining facility, music library, administrative offices, and box office; and The Clubhouse, our venue for weekly student and faculty performances.

Programming has evolved throughout the past 30+ years to its current six-week structure serving 73 highly-talented high school, college, and graduate school string and woodwind musicians from around the country. Over the years our faculty has included nationally-renowned string quartets like the American String Quartet, Borromeo String Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Pacifica Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and Prairie Winds.

Our 73 string and woodwind students present more than a dozen formal and informal concerts during the six-week season. Additionally, our ensembles-in-residence present weekly concerts. All concerts are open to the public, and are presented in various venues on Madeline Island and on the mainland in Bayfield. We also present weekly master classes, a young people’s concert led by our students and aimed at grade school-aged children, and other events that engage the community audience and lead to greater musical understanding.

Originally named Madeline Island Music Camp, the organization changed its name in 2016 to Madeline Island Chamber Music to better reflect our programs and activities.

In 2020, Madeline Island Chamber Music joined forces with MacPhail Center for Music, allowing Madeline Island Chamber Music to continue its core programming on Madeline Island and expand its reach into the Twin Cities, and allowing MacPhail to expand its programming to the island after Madeline Island Chamber Music’s programs have concluded each summer.