As the Lakes Area Music Festival moves its performances online for the 2020 season, it has developed a new suite of world-class education programs for learners of all ages and levels of experience with classical music.

Through interactive discussion sessions, lecture series, musician interviews and children’s programs, the festival has seized the opportunity to expand its educational impact locally and nationwide through distance learning.

Munich-based conductor and festival favorite, Christian Reif, will lead informal discussions that bring the history of music to life every Saturday from July 11-25. These introductory-level Symphony 101 chats will be co-hosted by associate artistic director John Taylor Ward.

Allison Chu of Yale University will lead more advanced discussions at 10 a.m. every Tuesday now through July 28. Featuring guests like Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, Chu will guide in-depth explorations of topics like women composers through the centuries and the history and present of chamber music. Attendees will be invited to engage with their own questions and comments. Space is limited, and registration is required.

John Taylor Ward will also offer a series of video interviews with favorite LAMF personalities, where you can get to know what makes these artists tick - on and off stage. In “Backstage with John Taylor Ward,” you will hear stories from artists around the world about their musical development, their fond memories of LAMF and their extra-musical interests.

Explore Music!, LAMF’s week-long day camp for elementary students, has long been one of the festival’s most popular education programs. This year, it’s going digital. Youth education director Alexander Peña of Hawaii’s Iolani School has created a cutting-edge package of online activities that connect to the music being broadcast in this summer’s festival.

With scavenger hunts, simple at-home musical projects, coloring pages, digital activities and exclusive performances from LAMF musicians, kids and families will have an inspiring week of music, improvisation and storytelling. Registration is required.

The Lakes Area Music Festival will present 11 unique concerts, broadcast from July 31 to Aug. 16, and before each of them, you are invited to a Q&A with one of the musicians who will be featured. Learn more about them and ask your questions, then tune in for their performance later that day.

For more information and registration for any of these programs, visit or call 218-ASK-LAMF.

The Lakes Area Music Festival, an annual summer series attracting leading instrumental and vocal performers from around the world, takes place July 31 through Aug. 16 with Facebook broadcasts from Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Concerts are free of charge, with no tickets required.