Bayfield Chamber Music Retreat with Troy Gardner, Laura Sewell + Sonja Thompson | October 6-10, 2019

Bayfield Chamber Music Retreat with Troy Gardner, Laura Sewell + Sonja Thompson | October 6-10, 2019

from 250.00

This retreat will include coaching sessions, a masterclass, and final public performance for all participants. Please follow application instructions prior to registering.

Check In: Sunday, October 6th, 2019 | Check Out: Thursday, October 10th, 2019
Tuition + Meals: $901 per person
With Shared Lodging Package: $1,401 per person
With Private Lodging Package: $1,821 per person

Chamber Music Concert and Buffet Dinner: Wednesday, October 9
Dinner at 6pm, Concert at 7:30pm Tickets: $50 ($25 for students with valid ID)
Purchase Tickets

Book Your Retreat

Payment Option:
Will a companion be joining you who is not attending the retreat?:
Add To Cart

A 5.5% tax on tuition/meals will be added to the retreat rates displayed online. Deposits will not include tax and will be applied to overall retreat registration fees. Guests making a deposit online will receive follow-up written communication showing applicable remaining fees, including taxes.

Full payment of any remaining fees is due at 60 days prior to the retreat start date. New registrations made less than 60 days prior to the retreat start date will require full payment of all retreat registration fees.

Do you have a companion who would like to join you for the Bayfield experience without attending the educational components?. Companion Rates are available for one companion over the age of 18 and one per registered retreat participant. Companion rates entitle the companion to lodging, all retreat package meals, and use of Wild Rice Retreat facilities.


Troy Gardner, violin and viola (violinist with both Minnesota Orchestra and Chicago Symphony)

Laura Sewell, cello (former cellist of the Lark and Artaria Quartets and currently the Associate Director of the International Cello Institute)

Sonja Thompson, piano (Assistant Professor of Music at Augsburg University and frequent collaborative pianist in the Twin Cities)


The four-day retreat will include coaching sessions, masterclass, and a final public performance for participants. The retreat is open to individual musicians as well as pre-formed, intermediate to advanced level chamber ensembles. Pre-formed groups can range in size from 2 to 6 players and can be comprised of strings, strings with piano, or strings with one wind instrument. Individual musicians will be aired with others for balanced ensembles. Up to eight ensembles can be accommodated and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The public is invited to attend a concert on Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Tickets include a buffet dinner prepared by Wild Rice Retreat Chef Lars Dukowitz.

WILD RICE RETREAT is an architecturally distinct facility located along the shores of beautiful Lake Superior, and just outside of Bayfield, WI. The campus sits on 114 wooded acres and offers access to many outdoor activities, fabulous meals featuring locally sourced ingredients, all in the peaceful setting of the woods and on the water.

Bayfield, WI is the gateway to the 22 Apostle Islands. Participants will enjoy first-class accommodations, and peak fall color during this October Retreat.

Interested ensembles are encouraged to apply by following the instructions below.


All groups must fill out a group application form. Additionally, each member of the group must fill out an individual application form. This enables us to get acquainted with your ensemble before you arrive and to better understand your group’s history and general level of experience. Ensembles will be accepted on a first-come, first–served basis so we encourage you to register early to ensure a spot. Because of space limitations, we are only able to accommodate a total of eight ensembles.

The Bayfield Chamber Music Retreat is best suited for ensembles and players who are comfortable playing repertoire that is well within the so-called “canon” of chamber music (works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Shostakovich, etc.) If you have any questions about repertoire you are considering for the retreat, don’t hesitate to contact Laura Sewell at:

Application forms should be returned to Wild Rice Retreat’s Director, Jennifer Albrecht at


Download + Print

$50 ticket to Wednesday Evening Concert Dinner is included in tuition

  • Chamber music parts and at least one score for the piece you are working on at the retreat

  • Music stand

  • Stand light

  • Metronome

  • Tuner

  • Music reading glasses (if needed)

  • All string players: rosin and an extra set of strings

  • Cellists: rockstop and a seat cushion (if needed)

  • Chamber music that you might want to informally sight-read with others at the retreat

  • Semi-formal performance outfit for the final concert


Download + Print

Sunday, October 6
4-6 pm – Participants arrive and check in (Wine bar at Wild Rice is available to participants during this time)
6 pm – Welcome dinner at Wild Rice
7:30 pm – Informal faculty performance

Monday, October 7
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast at Wild Rice
9-11:30 am – Ensemble rehearsal time and one hour of coaching
12-1 pm– Lunch at Wild Rice
1:30-4 pm – Ensemble rehearsal time and one hour of coaching
4-6 pm – Free time (Faculty rehearses at Wild Rice and participants are welcome to observe)
6 pm – Dinner at Wild Rice
7:30 pm – Evening open for optional ensemble rehearsals, individual practice, informal sight reading sessions, or free time in Bayfield

Tuesday, October 8
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast at Wild Rice
9-11:30 am – Ensemble rehearsal time and one hour of coaching
12-1 pm – Lunch at Wild Rice
1:30-4 pm – Ensemble rehearsal time and one hour of coaching
4 pm on – Free time for all participants including dinner on your own at local restaurants (option to take the ferry to Madeline Island for the evening)

Wednesday, October 9
7:30-8:30 am – Breakfast at Wild Rice
9-11:30 am – Ensemble rehearsal time and one hour of coaching
12-1 am – Lunch at Wild Rice
1:30-4 pm – Masterclass for all ensembles at Wild Rice
4-6 pm – Free time
6 pm – Dinner at Wild Rice
6-7:30 pm - Wine Bar available at Wild Rice
7:30 pm – Faculty performance at Wild Rice (open to the public)

Thursday, October 10
7:30-8 am – Quick breakfast at Wild Rice
8:10-9:45 am – Ten-minute (approximately) warm-up slots for each ensemble
10 am – Final participant concert at Wild Rice (free and open to the public)
12 pm– Farewell lunch at Wild Rice
1:30 pm – Everyone departs

Bayfield Chamber Music Concert


Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Dinner Buffet 6 p.m. | Concert 7:30 p.m.
$50 per person ($25 for students with valid ID)

One ticket per retreat attendee is included in tuition. Community members or additional guests can purchase tickets online.

Wild Rice’s first adult chamber music retreat will culminate in a public performance given by faculty coaches Stephanie Arado, violin, Laura Sewell, cello, and Sonja Thompson, piano. All three musicians are well-known chamber musicians in the Twin Cities area and beyond. Stephanie Arado was Assistant Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra for 22 years and is currently a member of the Bakken Trio, Laura Sewell was the founding cellist of the Lark Quartet, and Sonja Thompson is Assistant Professor of Music at Augsburg University and in demand as a collaborative pianist with many instrumentalists and singers. Their program at Wild Rice will include works by Beethoven, Grieg, and Piazzolla.


Troy Gardner.jpg

Troy Gardner

Troy Gardner is a Twin Cities area violinist and violist. As a student, Troy studied locally with Mary West and Beth Wolfe before attending Indiana University where he was a student of  the renowned pedagogue, Josef Gingold. Since doing graduate work at the University of Minnesota with Roland and Almita Vamos, he has been an active performer with such varied groups as the Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble, the jazz/new music quartet Helios, and the Minnesota Opera. For the past two decades he has been a regular substitute violinist with both the Minnesota Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony.


Laura Sewell

Cellist, Laura Sewell, enjoys an active and varied musical career and has distinguished herself as a highly respected chamber musician. From 2007-2016 she was a member of the Artaria String Quartet which was appointed as one of Minnesota Public Radio’s ensembles-in-residence, was featured on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Minnesota Originals” series, and performed the complete Shostakovich quartet cycle to critical acclaim. Earlier in her career she was the founding cellist of the award-winning Lark Quartet. During her tenure in the Lark, the quartet won the Bronze Medal at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and was the Juilliard String Quartet’s teaching assistants at the Juilliard School.

Ms. Sewell received her Bachelor’s Degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of Leonard Rose, and her Master’s Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Alan Harris. She also had the unique opportunity, at the age of 17, to study with the legendary cellist, Jacqueline DuPre. Her chamber music teachers have included members of the Juilliard, Tokyo, American, Guarneri, and Budapest quartets, as well as Felix Galimir, Josef Gingold and William Pleeth.

Ms. Sewell plays as a substitute cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra and has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, the Bakken Trio, and the Musical Offering. She has appeared on “Saint Paul Sunday” and on “A Prairie Home Companion” on several occasions. She has premiered solo works by Paul Schoenfield, Stephen Paulus, and Steve Heitzeg, and chamber works by Libby Larsen, Peter Schickele, Jon Deak, and Stanislaw Skrowacewski. From 2000-2008 she served on the board of Chamber Music America, the national service organization for chamber musicians, and was its Chair for four years. Ms. Sewell is currently Associate Director of the International Cello Institute, an intensive summer program for serious young cellists.


Sonja Thompson

Pianist Sonja Thompson enjoys a varied professional life as educator, church musician, theater musician, conductor, coach and performer. In addition to maintaining an active performance schedule, she is Assistant Professor of Music and University Organist at Augsburg University, and Music Associate at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Sonja’s recent performing engagements include local organizations such as the Colonial Chamber Music Series, the Lakes Area Music Festival, Schubert Club, the Upper Midwest Flute Association, the National Flute Association, Frank Theater, Theater Latte Da, Nautilus Music Theater and Open Eye Figure Theater.

She has worked with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, Florida Grand Opera, the Oregon Festival of American Music, Minnesota Opera and the Minnesota Orchestra, and has performed chamber music of Edvard Grieg at the Grieg Akadamiet in Bergen, Norway. Sonja has enjoyed long term musical collaborations with soprano Maria Jette, tenor Vern Sutton, tenor Dennis Peterson, singer-actors Christina Baldwin, Gary Briggle and Bradley Greenwald, and organist/pianist/conductor Philip Brunelle. Chamber Music partners have included violinists Jill Olson Moser and Stephanie Arado; cellists Laura Sewell, Kirsten Whitson, Beth Rapier, David Holmes and Sarah Lewis; clarinetist Jenny Gerth; oboist Merilee Klemp; flutists Wendy Williams and Adam Kuenzel; and piano duo partners Tim Lovelace, Mary Jo Gothman and Karen Becker.

Of particular interest for Ms. Thompson is the development of new Music-Theater works, and in this vein notable colleagues and collaborations have included New Dramatists in New York City, stage director and pedagogue Wesley Balk, writer/director Leah Cooper of Wonderlust Productions, director Ben Krywosz of Nautilus Music Theater, stage director Cynthia Stokes (San Diego CITY Opera), choreographer Rosanna Gamson (Los Angeles), stage director Darcey Engen (Sod House Theater), and composers Aaron Gabriel, David Evan Thomas, Edie Hill and Jocelyn Hagen. Sonja received her Master of Music in Accompanying from The Juilliard School where she studied with Margo Garrett and Samuel Sanders, and her Bachelor of Music in Theory & Composition from the University of Minnesota where she studied composition with Paul Fetler and organ with Heinrich Fleischer.

Lodging and Meal Rates & Info

All lodging costs listed are per person/per night costs. Due to the format of retreats, meal plans are required of all participants to maximize time with other students and instructors, while still providing time to explore Bayfield and the surrounding community. Please reference the cancellation policy as needed.