WarlandThis is my all-time favorite photo ever taken at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. Some of you may remember this moment during a pre-concert talk given before one of the Festival Chorale concerts. On the left is choral legend Dale Warland, center is Brian Newhouse of Minnesota Public Radio, and on the right is composer Dominick Argento. In my view this photo captures the spirit of MBF through the personal friendships represented here, the professional relationships represented here, the humor and good spirit reflected here, and the unique individual artistic depths represented here.

Dominick Argento, who recently passed away at the age of 91, was our honored guest for two summers at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival (2014 and 2015). His close friend, Dale Warland, was in the middle of an eight-year residency conducting the Festival Chorale, an ensemble created by Warland for the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. Warland conducted Argento’s The Seasons, a world premiere performance and it was decided that somehow, someway, we must make a recording, of not just the The Seasons, but this final collaboration that was taking place – a collaboration of spirit, artistry, and friendship. The rehearsal schedule was pushed around toward the end of the week of the residency and a full day was set aside to record. With the help of many people, including the generosity of Classical Minnesota Public Radio, it all came together. The singers and Dale were impeccably prepared, the MBF crew were in the wings, the MPR engineers and producers were in place, and then all were witness to the glorious music that filled the beautiful and acoustically stunning, Chapel of Saint Mary’s of the Angels (listen to the recording on MPR’s website by clicking here).

When the first concert day arrived, many were caught by surprise when at one point during the performance, Brian Newhouse invited Argento to stand and be recognized. Having the composer in the audience at an MBF concert is not a common event and his presence added a wonderful personal moment to the evening.

Ned Kirk, Artistic & Managing Director