Entering its second decade of world-class performances in central Minnesota, the Lakes Area Music Festival will introduce the winner of its first String Quartet Fellowship in upcoming Minnesota concerts, including a performance in Nisswa.

The festival will continue its Winter Series by introducing the inaugural fellowship ensemble, the Altius Quartet, at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa. The concert is open to the public. No tickets are required, with donations to the festival encouraged in lieu of ticket fees.

The group will make several classroom visits at central Minnesota public schools and perform three jail performances as well.

The Altius Quartet will present a program of works by Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Robert Schumann.

LAMF's fellowship program competition resulted in the selection of the Altius Quartet of Boulder, Colorado. The ensemble was chosen from an international pool of applicants and will spend the summer in Minnesota for intensive rehearsal and stateside performances.

Altius Quartet is known for furthering the art of chamber music through performance, education and outreach. Deriving its name from the Olympic motto - Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for "faster, higher, stronger") - Altius strives to communicate art to a more diverse audience through community engagement and innovative repertoire.

Altius has received critical praise for its musicianship and versatility on both of its albums: "Dress Code" and "Shostakovich String Quartets 7, 8, & 9." Altius has also been awarded prizes at many internationally respected competitions, including the Schoenfeld International String Competition, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, the 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.

Formed in 2011 at Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, Altius is based in the Denver/Boulder metroplex where it held the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. During its tenure at CU-Boulder, quartet members were mentored by the world renowned Takács Quartet.

Altius Quartet is committed to outreach, often performing concerts and teaching master classes in public schools and alternative performing venues, including jazz clubs, bars and homeless shelters.

Each summer, the Lakes Area Music Festival brings more than 180 all-star artists 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.