Lakes Area Music Festival presents ‘Minerva of the North’

Lakes Area Music Festival will present the program “Minerva of the North” on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Trinity Lutheran in Brainerd. The event will feature baroque instrumental and vocal repertoire.

"Minerva of the North" concert graphic
Contributed / Lakes Area Music Festival

BRAINERD — The Lakes Area Music Festival continues its Winter Series with a program of baroque instrumental and vocal chamber music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd.

The “Minerva of the North” performance will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, and feature longtime festival artists John Taylor Ward and Chloe Fedor, along with guests from around the country.

“I always enjoy returning to Brainerd throughout the year to perform. This time I’m particularly pleased to join Chloe in a co-curation that draws on our specialties as baroque artists and historical performance specialists,” Ward said in a news release.

John Taylor Ward headshot
John Taylor Ward
Contributed / Lakes Area Music Festival

They will be joined by cellist Caroline Nicolas from Philadelphia; theorbo player Brandon Acker from Chicago; and harpsichordist Tami Morse from St. Paul, who will play instruments in specialized styles to recreate how the music sounded in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

In 17th-century Europe, Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated her throne and left her home country to take up residence in cosmopolitan Rome, where she became one of the most important art patrons of her time.


“Italian music from this period was innovative and exciting,” said Ward, the Lakes Area Music Festival’s artistic director.

Chloe Fedor holding a violin
Chloe Fedor
Contributed / Chloe Fedor

The queen’s particular love for music led her to employ such legendary composers as Alessandro Scarlatti, Arcangelo Corelli and Alessandro Stradella.

“We look forward to bringing this music to our Brainerd audience, with a nod to its Scandinavian influence,” Ward said in the news release.

Nicolas, Acker and Morse have completed studies in baroque programs at the Juilliard School, Yale, and the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (Germany) and performed regularly with baroque ensembles worldwide.

Caroline Nicolas
Caroline Nicolas
Contributed / Lakes Area Music Festival

Festival co-founder Ward’s performances have been praised for their “stylish abandon” by Alex Ross of “The New Yorker,” their “intense clarity and color” by the New York Times and by the Washington Post for their “finely calibrated precision and heart-rending expressivity.”

Recent stage highlights include the title role in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with Heartbeat Opera, Nick Shadow in “The Rake’s Progress” under the baton of Barbara Hannigan (recently released on DVD), and several roles in a world tour of Monteverdi’s operas with Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Originally from southern Appalachia, Ward has an innate understanding of rural American culture not shared by most practitioners in his field, according to the news release, and Taylor’s work is therefore uniquely positioned to bring high art to small towns.

Brandon Acker
Brandon Acker
Contributed / Lakes Area Music Festival

Violinist and LAMF artistic advisor Fedor is known for her “lovely, plush, seductive tone” (New York Times) and lauded for her “soulful, virtuosic” playing and “impeccable technical control” (Opera News).


Chloe is concertmaster of Baroque programming at Lakes Area Music Festival, co-concertmaster of Lyra Baroque Orchestra in St. Paul and a member of the Grammy award-winning ensemble Apollo’s Fire.

She appears regularly with the top period performance ensembles on the continent, including the Handel and Haydn Society, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra.

Tami Morse
Tami Morse
Contributed / Lakes Area Music Festival

Chloe earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and two Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, both in modern violin and historical performance.

She was a concerto competition winner at both alma maters as well as a laureate of the Performer’s Certificate from The Eastman School and the Juilliard Career Fellowship Grant from The Juilliard School.

Noted for her “eloquent artistry and rich, vibrant sound” (Gainesville Times), Nicolas has been praised for her unique ability to combine emotionally rich interpretations with a historically inquisitive spirit, according to the news release.

Festival appearances include the Boston Early Music Festival, Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Bach Festival Leipzig and Styriarte Festival in Austria. Her performances have been broadcast on KING FM in Washington, KUHF in Texas, WDIY in Pennsylvania and CCTV in China.

Acker is a performer, YouTuber and director of an online music school. He is a specialist on early plucked instruments such as the theorbo, baroque guitar and lute.

He has toured extensively through England, Canada, Scotland and Wales, and competed as one of five international laureates in a concerto competition with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra.


Morse, a Japanese-American harpsichordist, is active as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States and abroad. She is the former executive director of the Lyra Baroque Orchestra and co-founder of The Baroque Room, a performance space in St. Paul.

She has performed in notable venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Symphony Space, the Dakota and Le Poisson Rouge. She was a finalist in the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition in March 2012.

All festival activities are made possible by the voters on Minnesota through grants from the Five Wings Arts Council and Minnesota State Arts Board, through a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

If you go

What: “Minerva of the North,” Lakes Area Music Festival.
Who: John Taylor Ward, Chloe Fedor, Caroline Nicolas, Brandon Acker and Tami Morse.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5.
Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 1420 S. Sixth St., Brainerd.
Cost: Name-your-price admission.
Info: Call 218-831-0765 or visit

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

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