Discover Great Music on Minnesota’s historic Iron Range.

One of Minnesota’s largest music festivals, the Northern Lights Music Festival offers lovers of classical music three weeks of opera, chamber music and orchestra concerts presented by an international roster of guest artists, performing faculty and prize-winning young artists.

2022 Dates Announced

Summer Music Camp for Indigenous Children.  June 26 to June 30, 2022

NLMF Festival Young Artists School:  Instrumentalists (piano, strings)  July 1-July 23, 2022. Ages 12 through Collegiate

NLMF Opera Apprentice Program:  June 28 to July 24, 2022


Thomas Gillach
(May 5, 1932  – September 19, 2021)

Photo of Tom Gillach

Northern Lights Music Festival mourns the passing of Thomas Gillach, Aurora, the Founding President of the NLMF. 
Mr. Gillach spent his life making Aurora, and the Iron Range, a better place. His list of philanthropic activities are of such quantity as to render them innumerable. Perhaps the most impressive of all his efforts was his leadership of the Aurora Centennial in 2003, and the thorough and scholarly history of Aurora that was produced as a result. The Northern Lights Music Festival was established a year later, and his vision for an arts activity that was based in his hometown constantly expanded the scope and the professionalism of NLMF. He believed NLMF was a force for art, and for the economic benefits it could bring to the Iron Range. From his relentless energy on behalf of many community activities and charities came positive changes that will live on, including his latest effort, the Mesabi East Foundation. He was a man of great religious faith, and we were blessed to have known him.
We extend our sincerest condolences to his family.


Adrian King at piano with orchestra.


Northern Lights Young Artists Program provides private lessons, chamber music coachings and multiple performance opportunities to young pianists, strings and wind players.
Opera Apprentices


Our opera apprentice program gives young singers the opportunity to train with world class vocal coaches and to perform both in our opera and in selected scene performaces.
Allysa Martin as Cinderella


The Northern Lights Festival Opera is the dazzling centerpiece of our season. Featuring internationally renowned singers with performances in multiple Range cities.
The festival is funded by the generous contributions of numerous governmental agencies,corporations and private donors, including the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, and gifts from Explore Minnesota Tourism, IBM and Minnesota Power Foundation.

Minnesota Arts Board Logo 

Logo Chisholm Community Foundation

Minnesota Power logo

B'nai Abraham logo
Gardner Trust logo


Johnson and Johnson logo
Cliffs Foundation logo
Explore Minnesota Logo
Arrowhead Arts Council logo
IBM Logo
Your Classical MPR Logo
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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