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Renaissance music on the prairies of North Dakota

Enderlin, ND – In 1969, North Dakota native Ilonna Pederson founded the New York Kammermusiker, an instrumental ensemble that specializes in Baroque and Renaissance music. Now nearly fifty years later, Pederson continues to perform with the nine-person ensemble. And though they are based in New York, they often tour through Pederson’s home state. This summer they made a stop in the small town of Enderlin, North Dakota.

Enderlin Municipal Fine Arts Association is a first-time Touring Fund grantee. The association has a small budget provided through local taxes and is run by a volunteer staff. The support from the Touring Fund allowed them to host events with this instrumental ensemble that would otherwise be out of their financial reach.

The Kammermusiker performed at two elder care facilities: Maryhill Manor in Enderlin and the North Dakota Veterans Home in nearby Lisbon. The administrator of Maryhill Manor commented on the calming effect the music had on the residents. One family member visiting his mother said, “To find Renaissance and Baroque music out here on the prairies of my home state is truly wonderful!”


New York Kammermusiker director and a North Dakota veteran at the North Dakota Veterans Home. Photo by Bjorn Peterson, courtesy of Enderlin Municipal Fine Arts Association.

“To find Renaissance and Baroque music out here on the prairies of my home state is truly wonderful!”
– Audience member

The ensemble also taught a masterclass for several young musicians. Although the group was small, the students were very appreciative and wished the Kammermusiker could come back during the school year so more students could benefit from the instruction. Lollie Adair of Enderlin Fine Arts Association observed the class and noted, “The masterclass for our young musicians taught, touched, and inspired them in ways that only interaction with a professional musician can.”


Four students in masterclass with New York Kammermusiker at Enderlin City Auditorium. Photo by Pat Lindermann, courtesy of Enderlin Municipal Fine Arts Association.

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