Annual Blair Lawhead Concert planned for 4 p.m., Aug. 27

Published 5:39 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

This year’s Blair Lawhead Concert series show is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Aug. 27, and will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

This year’s concert includes Francesca Anderegg, Millie Masse, Peter Arnstein and Donaldson V. Lawhead.

Admission is a free will donation.

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Started in 2018, the series blends premier artistry and exceptional local talent for a unique experience that also raises money such things as original music compositions for the Big 9 Music Festival, restoration of Steinway choir piano and other music opportunities.

Musicians participating in past shows include former drummer for Prince and the Revolution Bobby Z, associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra Roger Frisch and Elizabeth Hunter Ashley, Miss Minnesota and concert vocalist.

“In presenting these concerts, we hope to express gratitude, while providing opportunities for future artistic generational growth,” said Brandon Lawhead. “One component that I think is important is to honor the great community members, who have dedicated their lives to helping music education and collaboration in Austin. This year, we will honor Millie Masse.”

Millie Masse

Millie Masse

Masse graduated from Austin High School, and has played in the Austin Symphony Orchestra since her sophomore year in high school. She credits her mother for her passion in music. Millie studied at Carleton College, Columbia University and Stanford University.

“The Austin Symphony would not be where it is today without Millie’s keen intellect, grant writing, organizing, and artistic inspiration,” Lawhead said. “Millie is the glue to so many great musical experiences in Austin. She is and was the heart and soul of musical collaboration in Austin. Through her kindness, Millie inspired everyone to be a better musician and person. The highest level of artistry is love, compassion, and kindness. Millie has lived that, and it has inspired generations of musicians from Austin.”

Francesca Anderegg

Hailed by the New York Times for her “rich tone” and “virtuosic panache,” violinist Francesca Anderegg delivers insightful accounts of contemporary and classical music. Since her Carnegie Hall debut performance in 2008, Anderegg has soloed all over the world. Her three solo albums have been featured on radio programs throughout the country.

Anderegg’s appearances include concerts at Chicago’s Symphony Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with Itzhak Perlman and members of the Perlman Music Program.

Since 2007, when she made her New York concerto debut performing Ligeti’s Violin Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra, she has championed the artistic and emotional expression of works by 20th century and living composers. One of Anderegg’s recent performances was rated one of classical music’s top 10 events of the year by Time Out magazine.

Anderegg holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and masters’ and doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School.

Peter Arnstein

Peter Arnstein

Anderegg will perform with celebrated pianist, Dr. Peter Arnstein, who is well known in the Midwest as one of the pre-eminent piano soloists and accompanists.

Arnstein has often served as pianist and harpsichordist with the Minnesota Orchestra. When artists, like Itzhak Perlman, come to Minneapolis, they call Peter. In fact, Peter’s Arnstein has several recordings with violinist Michael Antonello. A winner of international competitions in both composition and piano, Arnstein has toured the world as both a pianist and composer.

Arnstein attended Manhattan School of Music before obtaining his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Peter serves as the Twin Cities’ Classical Music Examiner for, and writes for

Donaldson V. Lawhead

Donaldson was one of only 10 selected from around the world to serve as composer-in-residence under a two-year Ford Foundation grant.

Donaldson V. Lawhead

Donaldson’s musical experiences include collaborations with Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Stan Kenton, and others.

His love of music came from his mother, who was a violinist, and therefore, it’s not a coincidence that all of his children (and grandchildren) play the violin.

“Fantasy” was written in 1963 in collaboration with Josef Gingold, Blair Lawhead’s eventual teacher. Blair performed “Fantasy” in its New York debut.

“Aleost” was originally written for the Owatonna High School Orchestra and it also features the violin with a solo.

“Aleost” was subsequently performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and St. Louis Symphony. Aleost was recorded by the Louisville Symphony and it was reissued many times.