There are several upcoming opportunities to hear the acclaimed Altius String Quartet perform in nine communities around Minnesota.

Named the inaugural ensemble of a new string quartet fellowship of the Lakes Area Music Festival, Altius will perform the annual Prelude Concert Series leading up to the 11th annual season of the Festival, running Aug. 2-25 in Brainerd.

Two distinct programs will be offered: the first will include a performance of Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F, in Park Rapids, Aitkin, Brainerd and Crosslake; the second will feature Beethoven’s cheerful Quartet No. 7, Op. 59, No.1 in Minneapolis, Motley, Deerwood, Nisswa and Bemidji. The rest of each program will include selections by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Janáček, and songs from the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” These programs are presented in a casual manner with brief introductions to each piece, making them a perfectly accessible experience for classical music enthusiasts and rookies alike.

Each concert is offered without tickets or a set admission fee; donations to the Lakes Area Music Festival will be accepted.

The schedule of performances are:

Motley: July 19, 7:30 p.m., United Methodist Church

Deerwood: July 21, 2 p.m., Salem Lutheran Church

Nisswa: July 21, 7:30 p.m., Lutheran Church of the Cross

Bemidji: July 26, 12:30 p.m., Watermark Arts Center

Altius Quartet is an ensemble determined to further the art of chamber music through performance, education and outreach. Deriving their 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.

The quartet 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 currently based in the Denver/Boulder metroplex where they held the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. During their tenure at CU-Boulder, they were mentored by the world-renowned Takács Quartet. The Altius Quartet maintains an active performance schedule with engagements at music festivals, series and universities throughout the United States including Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Cincinnati, the Aspen Music Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and the Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival.

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

The Lakes Area Music Festival, an annual summer series attracting many leading instrumental and vocal performers. All regular performances are at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd and are free of charge. In total, 58 different events will take place during the 22 days of this year’s Festival season.

More than 180 all-star musicians from top orchestra and opera companies across the globe will be in the Brainerd Lakes area this year as guest artists. For more information visit www.lakesareamusic.org

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