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Entrepreneurial Spirit

Twenty-five years ago Lyric Opera cellist Laura Deming and several orchestra colleagues performed the opening concerts launching The Pine Mountain Music Festival in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Laura’s home at the time. Celebrity radio voice-over and Word Jazz creator, Ken Nordine, a summer resident of the U.P., narrated Peter and the Wolf. The next summer, they added opera, and drew a dedicated audience with Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. This July, for the Silver Jubilee year, the PMMF ( is producing Rossini’sBarber of Seville, including some members of the orchestra and cast from the musicians of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s orchestra and Ryan Opera Center. As Founder, Laura’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired a decade of growth, producing classical music and building audiences, reinvigorating the historic venues of the U.P.’s rich cultural history. Laura was named “Artistic Director Emerita” when she handed off leadership to Chris Mattagliano who moved on directly to become Portland Opera’s General Director. Last September Laura accepted the role of Interim Festival Director of the Green Lake Festival of Music,, which opened June 19 at the historic Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake and closes August 22nd. Many Chicago residents have summer homes on Green Lake, 182 miles northwest, about a three-hour drive from Chicago. The Green Lake Festival of Music features a concert series, a two-week Chamber Camp, and a four-day Choral Institute directed by Apollo Chorus Conductor, Stephen Alltop.

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