Adult Piano Retreats

May 3-7, 2020   •   September 20-24, 2020   •   October 11-15, 2020

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All sessions cancelled due to the pandemic

World-class instruction for adult amateur pianists

Icicle Creek Center for the Arts offers adult, amateur pianists an exciting opportunity to experience four memorable days of world-class instruction and performance in a spectacular retreat setting in the Cascade Mountains near Leavenworth, Washington. The program is designed to include scheduled private lessons, private practice, master classes, individualized movement assessments, group Alexander Technique sessions, special topics, gourmet dining, optional outdoor activities and a faculty concert in Snowy Owl Theater.

No audition necessary. Limited to 12 participants.

$650 per person per retreat registration fee (includes 3 private lessons, 1 ticket to faculty concert, 2 master classes, 3 special topic sessions, individualized physical assessments and optional sessions with on-site , licensed massage therapist (by appointment only))

Registration requires a $325 deposit.  See cancellation pollicy below for details.

First come, first served basis. Once cabins are filled, alternate lodging in the area is available to you at your own expense.

$120/night single occupancy, $60/night double occupancy in cabins at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. Limited spaces – first come first served basis.

$260 (includes tax and gratuity) for two breakfasts and one dinner at Sleeping Lady’s Kingfisher Restaurant; three, exclusive, catered candlelight dinners; 4 healthy, light catered lunches; coffee/tea service and healthy snacks.

Other no-host options include conveniently located O’Grady’s Pantry and numerous restaurants/delicatessens in nearby downtown Leavenworth. Sleeping Lady’s Grotto bar available for cocktail hour and evening festivities (no host) and is within walking distance.

  • Steinway L
  • Steinway B
  • Kawai concert grand
  • Kawai grand
  • Kimball grand
  • Steinway upright
  • Chickering spinet

Check in at 3 PM on day one, check out by 2 PM on day five. Retreat includes a final, participant’s private sharing of music followed by box lunch on day five.

  • $325 deposit required with registration.
  • Full refund less $50 processing fee 20 days or more before the session start date, after which no refund is given.
  • Balance due one week prior to the session.


May retreat:  new-music pianist Jesse Myers with his expert guidance on exploring the piano with a fresh perspective; learn to deconstruct music to see it in a new light, enliven music by alluding to imaginative sounds and textures, discover a brand-new you by letting go of apprehensions and surrendering to the music.

May retreat:  Born into a family of professional musicians, Rachel Matthews’ teaching reflects her lifelong immersion in the expressive language of the classical repertoire. She seeks to make this language her own and will encourage you to do the same! She brings an emphasis on building artistry and expression, as well as a passion for cultivating creative & effective practice skills for all stages of learning and performance.

September retreat:   Dr. Deborah Rambo Sinn, enjoys “a life full of rich miscellany” and adores “creating music lovers for life.” I enjoy bringing to my talks a global approach to interpretation, a thoughtful way to incorporate using technology in the studio, and practical solutions for small hands. All of this with a splash of humor and a genuine passion for reaching independent music teachers and university students.

September retreatChelsea Bloomberg strives to unite technique and musicianship to foster greater self-expression and joy in playing. She emphasizes correct body positioning and release of muscle tension and her desire is to guide students toward developing greater confidence in both lessons and in performances.

 October retreatGreg Presley lived a double life for many years as a classical pianist and modern dance collaborator, improviser and composer. He likes to incorporate the importance of rhythmic gestures that motivate movement when he teaches piano. He also likes to explore the idea of emotive non-verbal communication shared by both dance and music. As Mendelssohn said so well, “Music exists to give voice to all the emotions for which there are no words”.

October retreat:  Director and piano faculty member Lisa Bergman enjoys exploring humor and enjoyment at the keyboard as a welcome balance to the demands of practice and the challenge of learning processes.   She advocates playing “for fun” whenever possible and encourages involvement with other musicians.  She focuses on expediting learning by embracing mindful, thorough practice.

All retreats:  Movement and wellness coach Gayle Holeton encourages mindful exploration into optimal use of the body’s design for more ease, agility, strength and balance for pianists. An experienced private piano teacher, she embraces a teaching philosophy filled with humor and the joy of learning which she describes as “exploring a person’s boundaries to expand and live fully.”

Lisa B SOMA photo

Lisa Bergman

Program Director, October Session
A passionate promoter of classical music, Lisa Bergman is a national Gracie Award-winning radio announcer on Classic KING-FM streaming worldwide. A concert pianist specializing in collaborative piano and chamber music she is a graduate of the Juilliard School, Stony Brook University and the University of Washington, cum laude. A former member of the University of Washington Music Faculty, her discography includes six CDs.

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Jesse Myers 2

Jesse Myers

May Session
Jesse Myers is a Seattle-based concert pianist and teacher who strives to join education with performance. He is a lifetime student of the piano and tireless teacher of its techniques and repertoire. His focus spans the gamut from understanding rhythm and meter, creative thinking, and one of the most important of all – listening. He is on the faculty at Holy Names Academy and teaches privately. He is active adjudicating competitions,

leading masterclasses, and concertizing as a guest artist at universities throughout the United States. Jesse Myers has a Master of Music degree from the University of Washington in piano performance. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. His important teachers have been Robin McCabe (piano, UW 2004-2006), Virginia Marks (piano, BGSU 1999-2003), Valrie Kantorski and Frances Burnett (Piano, Bowling Green Creative Arts, 1995-1999), and Marylin Shrude (composition, Bowling Green Creative Arts and Interlochen).

Rachel Matthews

Rachel Matthews

May Session
Pianist & composer Rachel Matthews has performed across the US, Canada and Europe,
including at the the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC,
and on the Accueil Musical series in Paris. She served for nine years as co-Artistic Director
of the Foothills Chamber Music Festival, presenting chamber music performances with
principal players of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and other
major American ensembles.

Increasingly active in recent years as a composer, her works have been heard across the US and at venues including the International Viola Congress, the Fondazione Ambrosianeum in Milan and the Espoo Music College in Finland. Rachel was winner in 2010 of the Maurice Gardner Composition Competition and the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition, and she is recipient of numerous grants and commissions. A full-length CD of her works, entitled “Dreams” (Centaur, 2012), was described by critic Laurence Vittes as “exquisite….one of those miracles in which a new musical vision is defined” (Strings, November 2012). Rachel is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and holds a doctorate in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory. She maintains a vibrant and active teaching studio in Seattle.

Deborah Rambo Sinn color

Deborah Rambo Sinn

September Session
Deborah is equally at home on the concert stage and working in musical theater. In addition to having played in over 600 professional musicals, she has also performed all five Beethoven concertos. Her book, Playing Beyond the Notes: A Pianist’s Guide to Musical Interpretation, has become a standard text in piano studios and universities. She currently is on faculty and staff at Whitworth and Gonzaga Universities and is Music Director for community and professional theaters in Idaho. As always, she continues sorting out what she wants to be when she grows up.

Chelsea Bloomberg

Chelsea Bloomberg

September Session
Chelsea Bloomberg, NCTM holds a Master of Arts degree in music and a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from Washington State University. She completed her performance studies under Dr. Gerald Berthiaume, then director of the WSU School of Music. Her studies included extensive research on children’s method books and intermediate literature. She was awarded the Association for Faculty Women’s Founder’s Award Runner Up for her research on Edward MacDowell’s Four Piano Sonatas and her undergraduate Honor’s Thesis on Beethoven’s

compositional periods received Pass with Distinction from the WSU Honor’s College. She now teaches privately and is on faculty at the Chopin Academy of Music and is the Northwest Coordinator for the Crescendo International Competition in New Jersey, offering winners’ concerts in Carnegie Hall. Her students are prizewinners at many local festivals and have appeared at Carnegie Hall. In addition to teaching, she continues to perform regularly as both a soloist and collaborative musician.

Greg Presley

Greg Presley

October Session
Mr. Presley was a student of the nationally recognized piano teacher Margaret Ott, as well as Arlene Portney, Donald Currier, and Josef Raieff. He won numerous local awards, including the Young Artist Award of the Spokane Allied Arts Festival in addition to winning the state and Northwest divisions of the MTNA High School Piano Competition. Mr. Presley has appeared as soloist with the Spokane Symphony, the Washington-Idaho Symphony, and the Yale Symphony and has performed many concertos with the Spokane Opera Orchestra.

He frequently performs two-piano and chamber music works, including recent seasons collaborating with Zuill Bailey and Connoisseur Concerts. He is principal keyboard player for the Spokane Symphony. He had a long career in modern dance collaboration and was a tenured member of the dance faculty at Florida State University before returning to Spokane. He has been a member of the piano faculty at Gonzaga University since the Fall of 2001. He has had a number of successful prize-winning students who have gone on to careers in music.

Gayle Holeton

Gayle Holeton

Assistant Director, All Sessions
An educator, private piano studio professional and Nia Black Belt teacher. She practices in Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Yoga, Martial Arts and Dance. Retreat focus will be mindful exploration into optimal use of the body’s design, for more ease, agility, strength and balance for pianists.

Sponsored by

Mimi & Chris Stahler