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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘February Fest’ classical series set in new location in Door County

Critic At Large

Peninsula Music Festival

Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion. (Kress Pavilion photo)

EGG HARBOR, Wis. (WFRV) – Peninsula Music Festival’s annual “February Fest” will return as a live, in-person series this year. Performances of classical music will be presented in a new location in Door County.

According to a press release: The chamber music series will be held in the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor. Also located in the building is the Egg Harbor Library.

Hour-long performances are at 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 7, 14 and 21. Info: musicfestival.com.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the concerts will be presented in a socially distanced setting. Temperature scans will be taken upon arrival/check-in, and masks will be mandatory at all times.

Attendance will be limited to 50 persons.

Kicking off the series Feb.7 will be two members of the Festival Orchestra’s first violin section. Alex Ayers and Paul Hauer will perform works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda, Reinhold Glière, Charles Auguste de Bériot, Pablo de Sarasate and Fritz Kreisler.

Alex Ayers is a native of Wisconsin. He has played violin with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and has performed collaboratively with such artists as Joshua Bell, Alex Kerr and Jaime Laredo. Ayers was a member of the Indiana University String Academy’s Violin Virtuosi ensemble for two years, performing in the group’s concert tours to France and

A native of Fond du Lac, Paul Hauer (violin, piano) enjoys a diverse career as a violinist in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and freelance accompanist. He is currently the accompanist for Addison Teng at the Music Institute of Chicago. International tours with the Teng Studio have taken him to Italy, San Marino, Greece and the Philippines.

The Feb. 14 concert include a 37-year member of the Festival Orchestra’s cello section, Linda Minke, and her son, Victor Minke Huls, who has also performed in the orchestra’s cello section. The two will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Gounod, Hugo Wolf, Robert Schumann, Samuel Barber, Johann Herman Schein, Paul Tortelier, Florence Beatrice Price, Cole Porter and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Linda Minke joined the Festival Orchestra as a graduate student in 1983 and has played every season since. She started her musical journey in the public schools in Rochester, Mich. Minke

served as assistant principal cello with Memphis Symphony and Opera Memphis, co-founded the Rhodes (College) Piano Trio and created a Suzuki cello program at Rhodes Music Academy. Since moving to Jacksonville, Fla., in 1993, she has pursued free-lancing, teaching and playing with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Minke joined Bold City Contemporary Ensemble, which performs music by living composers and offers residencies for student composers at universities in the region. Her hobby playing fiddle resulted in a faculty position with the Walker Family Band Fiddle Camp in Blowing Rock, N.C., and a few guest appearances at Bjorklunden’s Nordic Fiddle Fest.

Victor Minke Huls (cello, conductor, counter-tenor, and pianist) comes from a family of musicians. Raised around the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Huls has become an eclectic and avid musician. Huls earned dual-master’s degrees in cello performance and orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan (2017) and has nearly completed his doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University with Victor Yampolsky, director emeritus of the Peninsula Music Festival. Huls has performed as cellist with the Aspen Chamber Symphony, New World Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, NuDeco Ensemble, Lincoln Center Stage and Chicago Civic Orchestra, and is newly principal cellist of the Amarillo Symphony in Texas.

The final concert Feb. 21 will feature the Festival Orchestra’s concertmaster and principal keyboardist, Amy Sims and Christi Zuniga, respectively. The program includes works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Igor Stravinsky, William Grant Still, Frederic Chopin and Johannes Brahms.

Amy Sims hails from Los Angeles and is a busy freelance classical and baroque violinist currently living in Boston. She spans a wide range of musical genres from string quartets and intimate baroque chamber ensembles, to large ensembles including the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine, where she holds the position of assistant concertmaster. She also performs with Boston Baroque, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Odyssey Opera and Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Christi Zuniga is a native of Atlanta and has held the position of principal keyboardist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra since 2000. She previously performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Charleston Symphony and the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, which served as the resident orchestra of the Evian International Music Festival in France in 1990 under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich. As an accompanist, she has worked with performers in master classes taught by Jean-Pierre Rampal, Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern, Lynn Harrell, Elly Ameling, David Gordon, Peter Lloyd, Bonita Boyd and Paula Robison.

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