Organizers for the Lakes Area Music Festival’s 2021 season promises its audiences it will be a great reunion, as musicians and audiences come together again in Brainerd’s new Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts.

Western classical music is a tradition with roots running deep, and each generation of composers and performers reach out to find their own light, organizers said in a news release. The music chosen for the 13th annual season, titled “New Roots,” focuses on the dialogue between present and past, while celebrating the diversity of voices and experiences that bring the performing arts to life.

After an opening gala on July 30 featuring Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist, Itamar Zorman, the festival will celebrate the official start of its season with American Roots, a kaleidoscopic orchestral celebration of America on July 31 and Aug. 1.

Works by Peruvian-American composer Jimmy López Bellido will bookend the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival series, with his “Techno” fanfare featured on American Roots and the world premiere of “Pago a la tierra,”  on the festival’s finale concerts, Aug. 21-22. Submitted Photo
Works by Peruvian-American composer Jimmy López Bellido will bookend the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival series, with his “Techno” fanfare featured on American Roots and the world premiere of “Pago a la tierra,” on the festival’s finale concerts, Aug. 21-22. Submitted Photo

Among the many highlights of the 2021 festival season is a new emphasis on living composers. Works by Peruvian-American composer Jimmy López Bellido will bookend the festival series, with his “Techno” fanfare featured on American Roots and the world premiere of “Pago a la tierra,” meaning tribute to the Earth, on the festival’s finale concerts, Aug. 21-22.

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López has been hailed as “one of the most interesting young composers anywhere today,” the Chicago Sun-Times stated, and an “expert in orchestration” as stated by The New York Times. Alongside these new voices, the music festival will also present some of the best-loved voices in Western classical music, including Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Dvořák and more.

The festival’s opera productions have been an audience favorite for nearly a decade, and this year’s production of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress” set Aug. 14-15 is sure to be no exception. Featuring soloists from the Metropolitan Opera and a team of designers from around the country, “The Rake’s Progress” will be a grand celebration of the technical capabilities of the Gichi-ziibi Center — and one of the first full live opera productions to take place in the U.S. since the advent of COVID-19, the news release stated.

Baroque violinist Chloe Fedor returns for the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival and will be part of Friday concerts at Brainerd's Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts. Submitted photo
Baroque violinist Chloe Fedor returns for the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival and will be part of Friday concerts at Brainerd's Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts. Submitted photo

In addition to larger scale programs, the festival will also produce a recital series, curated by Lakes Area Music Festival’s artistic advisers and favorite returning musicians. These intimate Friday concerts will feature baroque violinist Chloe Fedor, harpist Emily Levin and members of the festival’s inaugural class of emerging vocal artists.

Emily Levin, a harpist of the Dallas Symphony, returns for the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival and will be part of Friday concerts. Submitted photo
Emily Levin, a harpist of the Dallas Symphony, returns for the 2021 Lakes Area Music Festival and will be part of Friday concerts. Submitted photo

Ticket reservations are required for the festival series, but the Lakes Area Music Festival has maintained its commitment to providing its music to all regardless of means. A suggested donation of $20 per ticket is requested, but not required. To reserve tickets for any music festival event, visit my.lakesareamusic.org or call 218-831-0765.

In 2020, the music festival was one of the first organizations in the country to present a full digital season, and that effort gained a worldwide audience. To continue to serve those who cannot make it to Brainerd’s Gichi-ziibi center, the music festival will stream 10 concerts on Facebook and YouTube at no charge every Friday, Saturday and Wednesday from July 31 through Aug. 21.

Founded in 2009, the nonprofit organization connects the nation’s best performers and audiences through excellent classical music and inspiring education. This year, the festival will welcome 150 artists from around the world to collaborate on chamber music, orchestral repertoire and an original opera production.

For more information, visit lakesareamusic.org or call 218-275-5263 (ASK-LAMF).