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Biography
The mission of Minnesota Beethoven Festival is to increase appreciation of classical music and the work of Ludwig van Beethoven through education and the presentation of nationally-and-internationally recognized artists.

Our Vision

to create an annual series of concerts that exemplify artistic excellence in the classical repertoire.
to explore the range of Beethoven's work by presenting high-caliber soloists, ensembles and orchestras.
to provide educational events and activities for K-12 students that focus on the genre of classical music and Beethoven's legacy as a composer.
to enhance the education of middle school, high school and university musicians through master classes, workshops and lecture/demonstrations with guest artists.
to reach a broad and diverse audience through educational and public events presented in a variety of locations throughout Winona.
to build cultural awareness and earn regional, state and national recognition as a premiere summer music festival.

Artistic and Managing Director

Ned Kirk, artistic and managing director of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, is a native of Redding, California, where he received his early musical training. He has performed extensively in the United States and Europe as a piano soloist and chamber musician. Recent concert engagements have included the Chateau De Gilly, Beaune, France; the Phillips Collection and Polish Embassy in Washington D.C.; the Elvehjem Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin; the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; the Colorado Music Festival; various concerts in California; concerto performances with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra in Wisconsin; the Minnesota Beethoven Festival; the Estes Park Music Festival; and the Governor's Mansion and Second City Chamber Series in Washington State. For the 2009-2010 concert season, Kirk will be performing solo recitals and concerto concerts in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Germany, Denmark, France, Hong Kong and China. In addition he has concert projects in various stages of development in Oregon, Washington, Poland, Brazil, Singapore and Kenya.

Kirk has collaborated with numerous outstanding musicians, many of whom serve as conductors and principals in major orchestras around the world - Michael Christie, Kevin Kenner, Charles Kavalowski, Glenn Einschlag, Olav Van Hezewijk, Ron Ephrat, Jeffrey Work, David Jones, Lisa-Maree Amos, Daniel Rothmuller and Donald McInnes.

In 2007, guided by the vision of Hugh Miller and with the collaboration of board members Ken Lanik and Julie Smith, Kirk helped found the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. Now in its third season, the festival is dedicated to showcasing the tremendous talent found in the region as well as featuring some of the most important international concert artists of our time including Joshua Bell, Marc-André Hamelin, Branford Marsalis, Thomas Hampson and many others. The festival is also proud to feature the Minnesota Orchestra in two performances each summer.

From 2002-2004, Kirk served as orchestral pianist for the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. Over the course of three summers, he performed 25 concerts on piano, harpsichord and celesta including Stravinsky's Petrouchka, Piazzolla's Three Chamber Pieces for piano and string orchestra, a complete baroque program with Michala Petri (recorder), various chamber music concerts, and Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals for two pianos, with his wife, Caroline.

Kirk earned his Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Walter Hautzig and his Master of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, studying under Nigel Coxe. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance as a student of Craig Sheppard at the University of Washington. Additional piano and chamber music coaches have included Earl Carlyss, Tinka Knopp, Lillian Freundlich, Estela Olevsky, Charles Treger and Yefim Bronfman.

Kirk has been a faculty member at the Marrowstone Music Festival and spent four summers teaching piano masterclasses to students from rural Alaska at the Sitka Fine Arts Institute in Sitka, Alaska. Before moving to Minnesota in 1999, he served for seven years on the piano faculty at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. In addition to his work with the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Kirk is also an associate professor of piano and chair of the music department at Saint Mary's University in Winona, Minnesota. Kirk's website can be found at nedkirk.com.
This biography was most recently edited by...
holdik12 - 26 Dec 2019
maestro - 7 Jul 2009
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