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John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band
Thursday, November 17, 2022

J2B2 is an all-star bluegrass supergroup featuring four legendary, award-winning musicians – John Jorgenson on acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals; Herb Pedersen on banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals; Mark Fain on bass; and Patrick Sauber on acoustic guitar and vocals – delivering bluegrass like no one has ever heard it before. The band’s undeniable live shows have received stellar reviews and have the bluegrass world buzzing. The four combine forces to form a spot-on union of impeccable musicianship, incomparable songwriting, incredible harmony vocals (a fresh twist combining bluegrass with elements of West Coast folk rock) and seasoned showmanship. This is the “high lonesome sound” of American roots music at its finest.

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Have Yourself an OK Christmas
Thursday, December 15, 2022

Playful and unexpected, new-classical crossover duo The OK Factor writes and performs folk-inspired music influenced by multiple genres, with an artistry that reveals their classical training. Cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Colahan find great joy in defying expectations and delivering an experience outside of what audiences anticipate from a cello and violin combo. Organic and genuine, their original compositions feel both comfortingly familiar and uniquely fresh, and have been described as "genre-bending" (Julie Amacher, MPR) and "pure magic" (Wausau Pilot & Review). The ease with which they write and perform and their passion for educational outreach has caught the attention of the Minnesota music community in which they live and work, bringing them success on stages such as The Cedar Cultural Center, as frequent featured artists with Minnesota Public Radio, and as finalists for the McKnight Fellowships for Musicians in 2018. Olivia and Karla invite audiences to explore music and cultivate a curiosity about its role in their lives.

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Good Morning Bedlam
Thursday, February 16, 2023

Good Morning Bedlam has become a staying force in the folk genre with a 200 plus show tour in 2019 before the COVID-19 shutdown, claiming the first-place title at the John Hartford Memorial Festival Band Competition, and being finalists at the NWSS Band Competition. Their shows are known for their wild energy and stunning harmonies. GMB has played at festivals alongside artists such as Shakey Graves, Sam Bush, Jason Isabell, The Infamous Stringdusters, Trampled By Turtles and others. In 2021 GMB ran a successful Kickstarter in July of 2021 for their much anticipated third full-length record ‘Lulu’ where fans from around the world pledged a total of $34,000. GMB has been featured on Bluegrass Today, Relix Magazine, Glide Magazine, and Paste Magazine.

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Ames Piano Quartet
Thursday, March 23, 2023

In various iterations, the Ames Piano Quartet has been the ensemble-in-residence at Iowa State University since its inception in 1976. One of the few regularly constituted piano quartets in the world, the Ames Quartet briefly became the Amara Quartet in 2012, upon the retirement of two of its long-term members. Wishing to reconnect with more than thirty years of tradition, the Quartet has now returned to its original name of Ames.


The Quartet has an extensive discography, including fourteen CDs under the Ames name and a further two as Amara. Labels for which the group has recorded include Musical Heritage, Dorian, Sono Luminus, Albany, and Fleur de Son Classics. “One finds critics writing of their commitment, passion, power, and sensitivity, not to mention their collective technical skills,” writes Robert Cummings on the AllMusic.com web site. Of their most recent release (Faure Piano Quartets) critic Huntley Dent writes in Fanfare magazine, “As to the performances on this release, the second by the Amaras on Fleur de Son, they equal the best in the catalogue...we get the two virtues that make for a superb chamber ensemble: each player has an individual voice, and the group as a whole expresses a unified musical conception.”


The Ames Quartet has appeared in concert throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in France, Austria, Taiwan, South Africa, and Russia. One of its most notable concert tours occurred in 2003 when it traveled to Cuba, the first American chamber ensemble to be invited to perform there since the country’s 1959 revolution. Radio appearances by the Quartet include “St. Paul Sunday,” “Music at First Hearing,” “The Listening Room,” and “Performance Today.”
The group has sought to expand the available repertoire for piano quartet, both by reviving unjustly neglected piano quartets of the past, and by commissioning new works. Two of the most Quartet’s most notable commissions are Lee Hoiby’s Dark Rosaleen, premiered in 2000, and George Tsontakis’ Piano Quartet #4, premiered in 2019. Members of the Ames Piano Quartet include Borivoj Martinic-Jercic, violin; Wei-Ting Kuo viola: George Work, cello; and Mei-Hsuan Huang, piano. The Quartet is represented by Joanne Rile Artists Management of Philadelphia.

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Dessa
March 31, 2023 – 7:30pm

Singer, rapper, and writer Dessa has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations—her résumé as a musician includes performances at Lollapalooza and Glastonbury, co-compositions for 100-voice choir, performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, and top-200 entries on the Billboard charts. She contributed to the #1 album The Hamilton Mixtape and the RBG documentary; her track, “Congratulations,” has notched over 20 million streams. As a writer, she’s been published by The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler, broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio, and published a memoir-in-essays (My Own Devices, 2018) in addition to two literary collections. As a speaker, Dessa has delivered keynote speeches and presentations on art, science, and entrepreneurship; guest lectures at universities and colleges across the US; and a TED Talk about her science experiment on how to fall out of love. She’s also the host of Deeply Human, a podcast created by the BBC and American Public Media. Dessa has been covered by Pitchfork, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal amongst others. The LA Times says she “sounds like no one else.” NPR’s All Songs Considered calls her “a national treasure.” On the stage and on the page, Dessa’s style is defined by ferocity, wit, tenderness, and candor.

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