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No conductor

New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is the standard-setter in playing without a conductor, creating performances by collective decisionmaking. Bach's "Brandenburg" Concertos are ideally suited to the group's intimate ethic. They will perform Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 at the Minnesota Beethoven Festival. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Harriet Johnson Auditorium, Winona State University, Winona, Minn.; $25, 1-507-457-1715 or

Chamber music for voices

The elation of the open road, visceral encounters with the natural world, the pain of separation from loved ones. All of these emotions are covered in "Songs of Travel," a cycle by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Williams' 1904 song cycle forms the centerpiece of a special concert by Twin Cities vocal ensemble Cantus. The eight-voice group is promising a mix of solos, smaller combinations of singers and full-ensemble pieces. Billed as a "chamber music" concert for voices, this is a midsummer must-see for vocal enthusiasts. (7 p.m. Wed., American Swedish Institute, Mpls.; 7 p.m. Thu., the Museum of Russian Art, Mpls.; $20, 612-435-0055 or

Super-duper Dover Quartet

String quartets maintain stratospherically high standards nowadays. And yet the Dover Quartet still stands out. Hailed by the New Yorker as "the young American string quartet of the moment," the Philadelphia-based group has beguiled critics with the sumptuous tonal quality of its playing — not to mention the intelligence of its interpretations. With a current season dedicated to Beethoven, the Dover brings the composer's mighty Op. 130 Quartet to the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, complete with the original "Great Fugue" ending. Quartets by Mozart and Simon Laks complete the program. (7:30 p.m. Tue.; Page Theatre, St. Mary's University, Winona, Minn.; $25, 1-507-457-1715 or

Prison arias

The Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra premieres New York composer Wang Jie's short opera "It Rained on Shakopee." Produced in collaboration with the Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility, it features taped contributions from the prison's choir plus live soloists Jeffrey Madison and Vicki Fingalson. (7:30 p.m. Thu., Weber Music Hall, University of Minnesota Duluth; $5-$20, lakesuperior

Cellos galore

CELLOici is a new concert series curated by the International Cello Institute, which holds its annual summer camp at St. Olaf College this year. The inaugural recital showcases Tanya Remenikova, cello professor at the University of Minnesota, in a program featuring Shostakovich's dark-hued Cello Sonata as well as works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. (7:30 p.m. Tue., Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Mpls.; $20,