A significant development for the Lakes Area Music Festival's 2019 season is the announcement of a new String Quartet Fellowship.

The competition, which drew an international pool of applicant ensembles, resulted in the selection of the Altius Quartet based in Boulder, Colo. The inaugural fellows will assume residency in Minnesota for a paid summer of intensive rehearsal and performance opportunities.

Altius has been awarded prizes at many internationally respected competitions including the Schoenfeld International String Competition, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Coltman Chamber Music Competition, and the Plowman Chamber Music Competition. The quartet has an active performance schedule including engagements at music festivals, series and universities throughout the United States. Members include violinists Joshua Ulrich and Andrew Giordano; violist Andrew Krimm; and cellist Erin Patterson, who will join the group in May.

Of the appointment, Giordano stated in a news release: "We are thrilled to have been chosen to be the first-ever fellowship quartet at the Lakes Area Music Festival. As a young quartet, it's important to have ample performance opportunities in a short period of time to give us a chance to try out lots of different musical ideas in varied styles of repertoire. LAMF is a perfect place for this. We're also excited about having extended rehearsal time together, with the stipend allowing us to focus 100 percent on quartet playing. We're also passionate about outreach, so we're excited to engage with diverse audiences in many different venues during our time in Minnesota."

Lakes Area Music Festival artistic director Scott Lykins reiterated a commitment to the continued expansion of programs to support audiences and artists alike.

"This fellowship is an idea that's been years in the making. As our organization enters its second decade of programming, it is perfect timing to introduce a new initiative like this to further our mission of connecting Minnesota audiences with the nation's best musicians," said Lykins in the release.

The Altius Quartet will perform introductory concerts at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis March 28 and Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa March 31. They will also work with public school music students in central Minnesota during their visit.

The quartet will return for the month of July to perform a statewide tour as a part of the Festival's Prelude Series, and a showcase performance opening the 11th annual Lakes Area Music Festival July 31. Numerous outreach activities will also be performed in public libraries, elder care facilities, shelters and the Crow Wing County Jail.

The Altius Quartet is an ensemble determined to further the art of chamber music through performance, education and outreach. Altius strives to communicate art to a more diverse audience through community engagement and innovative repertoire. Hailed as "rich" and "captivating" by the renowned music blog, "I Care If You Listen," the Altius Quartet is garnering an international reputation and enrapturing the hearts of audiences through its charisma and dynamism, the release stated. Altius has also received critical praise for their musicianship and versatility on both of their albums: "Dress Code" and "Shostakovich String Quartets 7, 8 and 9."

Each summer, the Lakes Area Music Festival 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.

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