The Lakes Area Music Festival presents its 12th annual season July 31 to Aug. 16, with all events delivered on a virtual basis.
Some of today’s freshest voices in classical music will gather in Brainerd to create 11 chamber music concerts, organizers stated in a news release. The concerts will be broadcast live worldwide on the festival’s Facebook page at facebook.com/LakesAreaMusic and people who are not on Facebook can sign up for the music festival’s email list to receive a link to watch it by email on the day of the concert.
In spite of moving to a digital season, the music festival maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, and continues to be an industry leader in breaking down barriers to classical music, organizers said. Through the festival’s reimagined partnership with Minnesota Public Radio, this year’s festival now promises to reach a global audience.
With a season theme of contrasts, each of this year’s concerts seeks to honor the pain and hardship that currently exists in the world, yet will deliver a sense of power, joy and action.
Alongside monuments of the chamber music repertoire like Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 132, “Heiliger Dankgesang” and Dvořák’s kaleidoscopic “Piano Quintet,” listeners will also hear works from some of the greatest living composers, including Valerie Coleman, Derrick Spiva Jr., and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw.
Among the star-studded lineup for this year’s festival is Metropolitan Opera luminary tenor David Portillo and Grammy award-winning bass-baritone Dashon Burton. This year’s instrumental lineup is complemented by two extraordinary pianists: Queen Elisabeth Competition prizewinner Henry Kramer and Kenny Broberg, prizewinner at both the Van Cliburn and Tchaikovsky competitions.
Music education opportunities
In addition to creating 11 hours of world-class video and audio content, the festival continues its commitment to cultural education for all ages and levels of experience. Throughout the month of July, Lakes Area Music Festival also will present “LAMFcast,” a series of interactive lectures designed to inform and inspire, the release stated. Featuring Munich-based conductor Christian Reif and Allison Chu of Yale University in conversation with artistic directors Scott Lykins and John Taylor Ward, these weekly events run through July 28.
Reif, a festival favorite, will lead informal discussions bringing the history of music to life every Saturday through July 25. These introductory-level Symphony 101 chats, co-hosted by associate artistic director John Taylor Ward, are sure to enlighten and entertain all levels of classical music knowledge, a news release stated.
Allison Chu of Yale University will lead more advanced discussions every Tuesday at 10 a.m. through July 28. Featuring guests like Shaw, Chu will guide in-depth explorations of topics like female composers through the centuries and the history and present of chamber music. Attendees will be invited to engage with their own questions and comments. Space is limited, and registration is required.
Ward will also offer a series of video interviews with favorite festival personalities, where you can get to know what makes these artists tick — on and off stage. In “Backstage with John Taylor Ward,” viewers will hear stories from artists around the world about their musical development, their fond memories of the festival and their extra-musical interests.
Explore Music!, a weeklong day camp for elementary students, is one of the festival’s most popular education programs and will be digital this summer. The youth camp will provide distance learning activities Aug. 3-7. Each day, participants will engage in a variety of creative arts activities and will also learn more about the music presented within the festival’s 2020 season.
Director Alexander Peña of Hawaii’s Iolani School has created a package of online activities that connect to the music being broadcast in this summer’s festival. There will be scavenger hunts, simple at-home musical projects, coloring pages, digital activities and exclusive performances from festival musicians for youths. Registration is required.
The Lakes Area Music Festival is an annual summer series featuring leading instrumental and vocal performers from around the world, taking place July 31 through Aug. 16 with Facebook broadcasts from Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Concerts are free, with no tickets required.
To learn more or register for any educational programs, visit lakesareamusic.org or call 218-ASK-LAMF (218-275-5263).