by ALEXANDRA RETTER
Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics will soon dot the lawn around the Lake Park Bandshell for a pops concert.
The outdoor performance by the Minnesota Orchestra is part of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, now in its 15th year.
“It’s always a wonderful evening,” Minnesota Beethoven Festival Artistic and Managing Director Ned Kirk said. At this family and community event, he said, children can be seen jumping and swinging at the nearby playground prior to the performance. Then, attendees enjoy a performance of film scores, classical music and patriotic music, such as “Fanfare for Democracy” and “Carnival Overture, Op. 92” by Antonin Dvorak. He added that several years have passed since the last concert of this type, so it is great to be back.
In addition to the performance at the Lake Park Bandshell, the festival will feature a number of concerts happening on different dates over a few weeks. Other performers at the festival include the Merz Trio, the King’s Singers, the Ariel Quartet and Pablo Saint Villegas. The Merz Trio features a violinist, pianist and cellist whose work aims to bring together different fields in an interdisciplinary way. At the festival, some of the pieces they will perform are Beethoven’s “Piano Trio No. 6” and Brahms’ “Piano Trio No. 2.” The King’s Singers, an a cappella group performing for more than 50 years that has earned two Grammy awards, will bring pieces from the Beatles’ “Blackbird” to Schubert’s “Flucht” to life. The Ariel Quartet will perform pieces including “Quartet K. 465” by Mozart and “Quartet Op. 59, No. 3” by Beethoven. The group, which began during the members’ teenage years in Israel, features two violinists, a violist and a cellist. Villegas, a guitarist, will perform pieces such as “Adelita” by Tarrega and “Sevilla from Suite Espanola Op. 47” by Albeniz. The festival will conclude with a return from the Minnesota Orchestra playing pieces including Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3 In C Minor, Op. 37” and “Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36.”
“I intentionally craft our festival to try to appeal to different audiences and genres,” Kirk said. He added, “Many of the concerts have unique things that excite different groups.” Overall, the festival has a lot of energy and excitement, he said.
“We have a core group of people coming for years, and they relish this every summer,” Kirk said. “At the same time, we have attracted new audiences. And I’d say a large part of our audience … drive some distance to get here because of the artists we offer.” Part of the festival organizers’ goal is for people to spend time in the community, he said. Another goal is keeping ticket prices as low as possible so the concert is accessible, he continued.
More information may be found at www.mnbeethovenfestival.org.