At 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, the Lakes Area Music Festival will continue its 2019-20 Winter Series featuring artistic directors John Taylor Ward (baritone) and Scott Lykins (piano) in a vocal recital titled “Tragic Comedy." The event will take place at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

No tickets are required, with donations to the festival encouraged in lieu of ticket fees.

The music to be performed will hit the highest highs and lowest lows, with everything from heartfelt serenades to silly standards. Opening with selections from Gustav Mahler’s tragic and heartfelt Kindertotenlieder, the program will continue to two sets of "Songs of Don Quixote," by French composers Jacques Ibert and Maurice Ravel. Several short songs by American composer Charles Ives will end the program, alongside silly American standards and musical theater selections.

The duo founded the Lakes Area Music Festival as undergraduate students at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, and has performed together across the United States and Europe over the past decade.

This concert will also be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis where the Lakes Area Music Festival is returning as artists in residence.

Ward performs regularly with the world’s finest baroque musicians and ensembles, including Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata, Paul O’Dette, Steven Stubbs and the Boston Early Music Festival, William Christie and Les arts florissants, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists. In 2016, he was featured in the U.S. premiere of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, directed by Peter Sellars at the Ojai Festival, and he began a series of recitals at Joe’s Pub with Cantata Profana. In 2017 he made his debuts at the Salzburg, Berlin, and Luzerne Festspieles.

Recent highlights include Berio’s Sinfonia with the New York Philharmonic and Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinski’s The Rake’s Progress, conducted by Barbara Hannigan in Gothenburg, Sweden. Taylor holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music and an MMA from Yale School of Music; he is the founding Associate Artistic Director of the Lakes Area Music Festival, an Associate Artist of Heartbeat Opera, and an avid Sacred Harp singer.

Lykins' career uniquely blends artistic performance as a cellist and pianist with administrative creativity as founding artistic and executive director of the Lakes Area Music Festival in his native Brainerd. He has received both bachelor's and master's degrees in cello performance from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Steven Doane and Alan Harris, respectively.

Lykins is a graduate of the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program at Eastman and was a member of the 2014 cohort of the Institute for Executive Director Leadership presented by St. Thomas University’s College of Business.

Each summer, the Lakes Area Music Festival brings 200 all-star artists from top orchestras and opera companies around the world to perform three weeks of classical music performances in the Brainerd lakes area. From chamber music and symphonic orchestra, to productions of opera and ballet, and drawing thousands of attendees each year, LAMF has become a summertime destination for classical music in the Midwest.

The 2020 Festival will take place July 31 through Aug. 23, with season details to be announced early March. For more information about the Lakes Area Music Festival, visit lakesareamusic.org.