The Altius String Quartet will perform in nine communities around Minnesota - including Crosslake and Nisswa - as part of the Lakes Area Music Festival's annual Prelude Concert Series leading up to the festival's 11th annual season, which will run Aug. 2-25 in Brainerd.

Two distinct programs will be offered: the first will include a performance of Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at Crosslake Lutheran Church; the second will feature Beethoven’s cheerful Quartet No. 7, Op. 59, No. 1 at 7:30 p.m Sunday, July 21, at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

The rest of each program will include selections by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Janáček, and songs from the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” These programs are presented in a casual manner with brief introductions to each piece, making them a perfectly accessible experience for classical music enthusiasts and rookies alike.

Each concert is offered without tickets or a set admission fee; donations to the Lakes Area Music Festival will be accepted.

Altius Quartet is an ensemble determined to further the art of chamber music through performance, education and outreach. Deriving its name from the Olympic motto - Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger") - Altius strives to communicate art to a more diverse audience through community engagement and innovative repertoire.

Altius has also been awarded prizes at many internationally respected competitions. The quartet has an active performance schedule, including engagements at music festivals, series and universities throughout the United States.

Formed in 2011 at Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, Altius is currently based in the Denver/Boulder metroplex where they held the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. During their tenure at CU-Boulder, they were mentored by the world-renowned Takács Quartet.

Altius Quartet is committed to outreach, often performing concerts and teaching master classes in public schools and alternative performing venues, including jazz clubs, bars and homeless shelters.

The Lakes Area Music Festival, an annual summer series attracting many leading instrumental and vocal performers, will take place Aug. 2-25. All regular performances will be at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd and are free of charge. In total, 58 different events will take place during the 22 days of this year’s festival. More than 180 musicians from top orchestra and opera companies across the globe will be in the Brainerd lakes area this year as guest artists. For more information, visit www.lakesareamusic.org.