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Lakes Area Music Festival presents 'Winter Journey'

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Scott Lykins2 / 3
John Taylor Ward3 / 3

NISSWA—The Lakes Area Music Festival announces its winter series with a concert titled "Winter Journey" at 2 p.m. Jan. 6 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

The program will feature Franz Schubert's monumental song cycle "Winterreise," performed by the organization's founding artistic directors: John Taylor Ward, baritone, and Scott Lykins, piano.

No tickets are required, but donations to the festival are encouraged.

Regarded as the pinnacle of German lieder, Schubert's cycle of 24 songs tells the story of a narrator's journey through the bitter cold of winter, a news release stated. Having lost his beloved, and acknowledging his impending mortality, he departs under cover of darkness and provides a reflective account. The piano provides vivid portrayals of the natural landscape—the wind, rivers, trees, flowers, birds and snow—that the narrator encounters, impacting his internal struggles.

This concert also will be performed at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis where the Lakes Area Music Festival is returning as Artists in Residence.

Ward's performances have been praised for their "Stylish abandon" by Alex Ross, The New Yorker, and their "finely calibrated precision and heart-rending expressivity" by The Washington Post. He performs regularly with the world's finest baroque musicians and ensembles, including Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata, Paul O'Dette, Steven Stubbs and the Boston Early Music Festival, William Christie and Les arts florissants and Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists.

In 2016, he was featured in the U.S. premiere of Claude Vivier's Kopernikus, directed by Peter Sellars at the Ojai Festival, and he began a series of recitals at Joe's Pub with Cantata Profana. In 2017, he made his debuts at the Salzburg, Berlin, and Luzerne Festspieles. Recent highlights include Berio's Sinfonia with the New York Philharmonic and Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinski's "The Rake's Progress," conducted by Barbara Hannigan in Gothenburg, Sweden. Taylor has a bachelor's in music from the Eastman School of Music and a master's from Yale School of Music; he is the founding associate artistic director of the Lakes Area Music Festival, an associate artist of Heartbeat Opera and an avid Sacred Harp singer.

Lykins' career blends artistic performance as a cellist and pianist with administrative creativity as founding artistic and executive director of the LAMF he began in his hometown. He has received bachelor's and master's degrees in cello performance from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Steven Doane and Alan Harris. Also a collaborative pianist, he has performed in recitals and concerts throughout the United States and Europe. Lykins is a graduate of the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program at Eastman and was a member of the 2014 cohort of the Institute for Executive Director Leadership presented by St. Thomas University's College of Business.

Each summer, the LAMF brings more than 160 all-star musicians from top orchestras and opera companies around the world to perform three weeks of classical music performances in the Brainerd lakes area. From chamber music and symphonic orchestra, to productions of opera and ballet and drawing thousands of attendees each year, LAMF has become one of the most significant summertime destinations for classical music in the Midwest, the news release stated.

For more information about the Lakes Area Music Festival, visit lakesareamusic.org.