Madeline Island Music Camp Celebrates 25 Years

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
July 19, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — When Charles Lindbergh was 25, he became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic. When Orson Welles was 25, he wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane. When Roger Bannister was 25, he broke the four minute mile.

It's a good age, 25.

So when the Madeline Island Music Camp turned 25 this summer, a special celebration was in order to note a quarter-century of nurturing young musicians. A huge white tent went up by the shores of Lake Superior, making space for a special concert combining the talents of current Music Camp faculty, and returning alumni. Guest conductor for the evening was the distinguished Osmo Vanska, Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Many of the camp's more than 1000 alums have gone on to distinguished professional careers. Former campers now play in the Chicago, Houston, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, as well as professional chamber ensembles and college music faculties around the world. An incredible achievement, coming from an intimate learning environment of just 48 students per session.

I had the pleasure to emcee the concert, which included current students, accomplished alums, and faculty ensembles: the Pacifica Quartet, and the Prairie Winds. As expected, Osmo Vanska galvanized the music tent with the same passion and precision that he devotes to his performances at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis (despite the summer heat and an errant ferryboat horn!)

Listen to the concert, and you'll agree: for as much natural beauty as there is on Madeline Island, classical music makes it even more beautiful.

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