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The Lakes Area Music Festival, now approaching its seventh summer, has expanded itself with a winter series of concerts. Last night at the Lutheran Church of the Cross, the talents of three of those musicians rang throughout the church to an audience of 185 patrons.

On the surface, the program of two different piano trios is hard-core classical music as one can get. Piano trios? A piano, a violin, and a cello? For a whole 75 minutes? Well, yes, maybe on the surface, but the music was hardly stuffy or boring at all. No, not at all.

The first trio, Piano Trio no. 2 in E Minor, written by Dmitri Shostakovich, contained a drive and a twentieth century air about it that was intense, strong, and energetic. Crisp and percussive when it needed to be, flowing and graceful in other places, not to mention the playful moments. One didn’t have to watch the musicians to realize they were leaning forward in their chairs with concentration and total involvement in the piece.

The second, Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, was more than expected as well. When I think of Mendelssohn’s music, I think of a few piano pieces I played in my piano lesson days – in other words, pretty ordinary and common as it fits into the classical music world.

Color me wrong again. More of the performers and their drive. More of the energy and pluck of the first piece. Perhaps more melodic in some ways than the first piece, but not quite as intense. The conclusion of the piece, a full oncoming rush of notes from all three performers, built to the final notes with a sprint to the end that exhilarated the audience.

The three performers are all accomplished. Pianist Mary Jo Gothman who has appeared often for the music festival, came to us from the Minnesota Opera, where she also works as a vocal coach. Violinist Jonathan Magness, who has appeared in the Lakes Area Music Festival every year since its beginning, is a member of the Minnesota Orchestra, where he is presently acting principal second violin. Cellist Scott Lykins is a Brainerd native, a graduate of Eastman School of Music, and the founder of the music festival, where he serves as both executive director and artistic director.

The three created a night of elevated musical pleasure for a good audience. Not to worry, there are more to come.

Saturday, April 4 at Sherwood Forest – A NIGHT IN PARIS with soprano Maria Jette, pianist Greg DeTurck, violinist Mayla Moffet and more from Scott Lykins. The 2015 summer season programming will be announced at this concert. This is one of the few festival events that requires a ticket – which will be available March 1 on the festival website at http://www.lakesareamusic.org. The concert will also be performed on April 2 at the Women’s Club in Minneapolis.

Sunday, April 19 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd, – BEETHOVEN’S SEPTET
This is the final concert of the first winter season of the festival, featuring many members of the Minnesota Orchestra.