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Lakes Area Music Festival reaches across Minnesota


Photo courtesy of Altius Quartet.

First time Touring Fund grantee, Lakes Area Music Festival (LAMF), proposed such a robust schedule for their residency with the Altius Quartet that we at Arts Midwest wondered if there was a miscommunication.

But no—we had read their application correctly. Throughout the month of July, the Altius Quartet travelled throughout the state of Minnesota to perform ten times for the general public and conduct over ten community outreach activities. They could be found in a variety of venues, from churches to an alpaca farm.

The quartet performed in nine different venues, most of which were in rural areas. Their outreach activities allowed them to reach three additional communities.

These events were part of LAMF’s new String Quartet Fellowship, which invites one emerging ensemble to spend the summer in Minnesota for an intensive schedule of rehearsals, performances, and community activities. The Altius Quartet was chosen from a pool of international applicants for the 2019 fellowship.


Altius Quartet performs in the historic Butler Opera House in Aitkin, MN. Photo courtesy of Lakes Area Music Festival.

LAMF’s Artistic Director, Scott Lykins, explained the importance of their outreach activities: “[These activities] showed our commitment to the many definitions of the word accessible: the musicians went to senior care facilities that were home to long-time patrons of the arts who could no longer travel to our venues; they created a sensory friendly children’s music program in collaboration with a local music therapist; and they put on performances of musical storytelling at an equine therapy center and library. They also worked with at-risk youth, inmates, and survivors of domestic abuse, which are demographics usually excluded from classical music performances.”

LAMF plans to continue its String Quartet Fellowship in the following years, building off the momentum it gained this summer. The support from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund allowed the quartet to tour further throughout the state than previous, volunteer-led outreach activities, and enabled a deeper connection between the artists and community members in rural areas.

Ava Figliuzzi, LAMF’s Outreach Coordinator, summarized the experience: “Performance isn’t about individual achievement; it’s about the power a group can have to cultivate and transform an entire community. That’s exactly what accessibility to arts can do, and that what everything Lakes Area Music Festival does comes down to.”

“Performance isn’t about individual achievement; it’s about the power a group can have to cultivate and transform an entire community. That’s exactly what accessibility to arts can do.”
—Ava Figliuzzi, Lakes Area Music Festival Outreach Coordinator

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