WINONA — Yo Yo Ma isn’t there this year, but that won’t stop the Minnesota Beethoven Festival in Winona from selling out nearly all of its concerts — as usual.
The festival, which opened June 28 and runs through July 19, this year has concerts by pianist Garrick Ohlsson, the Takacs Quartet, soprano Dawn Upshaw, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and other artists.
All will be either be sold out or close to sold out, said Ned Kirk, director of the festival. “People have learned they need to get their tickets in advance,” he said.
It’s an enviable track record, especially in light of the naysayers who expressed doubts the festival would ever survive when it was launched nine years ago.
“There were plenty of people who said “Classical music? You’ll never get away with it in Winona,” Kirk said. “They were wrong.”
Now, the festival, which has attracted artists like Yo Yo Ma and Branford Marsalis, has built a reputation, among both artists and audiences, as one of the best summer music festivals in the Midwest, year in and year out.
“People have come to trust that even artists they don’t know will be of the highest quality,” Kirk said.
As for the performers, Kirk said, “There’s no question a handful of artists have become friends personally, and of the festival.”
The classical music world is hearing about Winona and taking note. Minnesota Public Radio this year will broadcast live the festival finale concert by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with MPR’s Alison Young hosting.
The complete 2015 Minnesota Beethoven Festival follows. Unless otherwise noted, tickets for each concert are $25 for adults, $21 for senior citizens and students.
— Garrick Ohlsson, piano, 3 p.m., Sunday, Somsen Hall, Winona State University. Ohlsson returns to the festival after a one-year absence.
— Takacs Quartet, 7:30 p.m. June 30, Page Theatre, Saint Mary’s University. The concert will include Beethoven’s Quartet in F major.
— Minnesota Orchestra, 8 p.m. July 2, outdoor pops concert at the Lake Park bandshell. Free admission. Rain site: Winona Middle School auditorium. This concert marks the return of the orchestra to the festival.
— Vadym Kholodenko, piano, 7:30 p.m. July 7, Page Theatre, Saint Mary’s University. Winner of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
— Dawn Upshaw, soprano, 7:30 p.m. July 9, Somsen Hall, Winona State University. Upshaw has won multiple Grammy Awards and has performed 300 times with the Metropolitan Opera.
— Dale Warland and the Festival Chorale, 7:30 p.m. July 11 and 3 p.m. July 12, Chapel of Saint Mary of the Angels, Saint Teresa Campus of Saint Mary’s University. The concerts feature the acclaimed choral piece “Walden Revisited: The Inspiration of Water.” Brian Newhouse, of Minnesota Public Radio, hosts. A pre-concert talk with Warland and Newhouse is held one hour prior to the start of each concert.
— Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, 7:30 p.m., July 14, Page Theatre, Saint Mary’s University. Pieces by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are on the program.
— Yolanda Kondonassis, harp, 7:30 p.m. July 16, 7:30 p.m. July 17, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Drive, Winona. Both concerts are already sold out.
— Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. July 19, Somsen Hall, Winona State University. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 will be the featured work. Alison Young, of Minnesota Public Radio, hosts the live broadcast of this concert.
If you go
What: Minnesota Beethoven Festival
When: Sunday through July 19
Where: Various venues in Winona
Tickets: $25 adults, $21 students and senior citizens; 507-457-1715