The Lakes Area Music Festival announced Dec. 5 the first two members of its newly-formed Artistic Advisory Council.

The member appointments are Paul Hopper, associate artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera; and Chloe Fedor, New York-based violinist and baroque specialist. In addition, the festival’s co-founder, John Taylor Ward, who has served as associate artistic director for 12 years, will be elevated to share the role of artistic director with Scott Lykins.

The Lakes Area Music Festival, founded in 2009, was the brainchild of undergraduate students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and each of these new appointees reflects that history, it stated in a news release. Fedor, Hopper and Ward all graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2009 and 2010, and each of them has been intimately involved in the festival since its founding. Their individual careers as performers and arts administrators have grown alongside the festival in the past decade, and these new appointments seek to solidify their artistic voices in the future of the music festival, the release stated.

Hopper oversees the casting of supporting roles covering roughly 25 productions per season at the Metropolitan Opera. Previously, he was the assistant artistic director at Houston Grand Opera, where he assisted in long term artistic planning and casting, managed special artistic initiatives and guided a variety of audiences in learning more about opera, including numerous events in support of the company’s first Ring Cycle. He also has been in positions at the Santa Fe Opera and ADA Artist Management. Hopper’s involvement with the festival began as a singer, and he starred in the Lakes Area Music Festival’s first full opera production in 2013, and he will continue to help build the festival’s vocal programming, maintaining a commitment to presenting emerging talents.

Lauded by The New York Times for her “lovely, plush, seductive tone,” Fedor is sought after as a soloist, concertmaster and chamber musician in ensembles across the country, it stated in the news release.

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She has appeared with the prominent baroque ensemble titled ACRONYM at Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland, Carmel Bach Festival in California, The English Concert in London, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston and Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra in New York City. In 2018, Feder starred on Broadway as the onstage Baroque violinist in “Farinelli and the King,” alongside Sir Mark Rylance and actors from Shakespeare’s Globe. She first appeared with the Lakes Area Music Festival in 2010 and will guide the festival’s baroque programming.

Ward has devoted his career to broadening the impact of the arts. As a performer, he has traveled the globe with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie, Barbara Hannigan and others, he appears on several Grammy-nominated recordings and his performances have been hailed for their “stylish abandon” by Alex Ross of the New Yorker. As a son of southern Appalachia, his work is uniquely positioned to bring high art to small towns as well as down-hominess to the world’s great concert halls, the news release stated. Since 2009, Ward has built the music festival’s operas into a world-class institution. Even with an eye for the cutting edge of the artform, his productions have converted — and maintained — a new generation of opera-lovers.

On these new appointments, Lykins, the artistic and executive director of the music festival, stated, “Chloe and Paul are both artists who have shaped the festival since its inception, and we are proud to formally recognize their immeasurable ongoing efforts. Taylor and I have worked side by side for over a decade. His work as a performer, administrator, and guiding light of the festival has been a crucial part of elevating our organization and the impact of our mission. It is an honor to share the artistic direction of the Lakes Area Music Festival with him.”

Each summer, the music festival brings hundreds of the world’s top classical music

talents to Brainerd for chamber music, symphonic repertoire, and opera and ballet productions. Its performances are offered without tickets or set admission fees, and the festival’s commitment to community development through the arts extends to year-round education and outreach opportunities. The Lakes Area Music Festival is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.