The Twin Cities Lute Cooperative was formed in 2006 by Twin Cities based lutenists Richard Griffith and Phillip Rukavina.  Recognizing the large number of accomplished lutenists who live and work in the area, the Twin Cites Lute Coop was created to support musical performances which include the lute in the Twin Cities area. It uses an extensive mailing list to publicize local music performances which include the lute.  In addition,  the Twin Cities Lute Coop sponsors Thursday at the Lute Café, a series of casual concerts in which the lute is the featured instrument. The Lute Café is a kind of coffeehouse experience where the performance of live lute music, either solo or in an ensemble, is at the center of the experience. It’s called “Thursday at the Lute Café” because it takes place on the third Thursday of every month from September through May.  The enterprise first opened its doors in May of 2006 and each season has included performances by the area’s most accomplished lutenists and early music performers. The home base of the Lute Café is Immanuel Lutheran Church located at 104 South Snelling Avenue in St. Paul. This year, the Twin Cities Lute Cooperative is happy to announce it is starting a new series of lute concerts in St. Paul.  This series will make its home in the intimate setting of the Baroque Room located at 275 East Fourth Street in the Lowertown area of St. Paul.

The Twin Cities Lute Cooperative featured performer for the Art Crawl is lutenist Phillip Rukavina. Phillip has performed nationally and internationally as a lute and vihuela soloist, ensemble performer, and as a continuo lutenist. He has appeared at many early music festivals including the Utrecht Early Music Festival (2013) and the Boston Early Music Festival (2015).  Phillip is a founding member of the Venere Lute Quartet and has performed with many prominent ensembles and individuals, including the Newberry Consort, the Rose Ensemble, the Texas Early Music Project, sopranos Dame Emma Kirkby and Ellen Hargis, and many others.  Phillip has served on the faculty and directed the Lute Society of America’s Summer Seminars and the Lute Program at the Amherst Early Music Festival. Phillip studied lute with Patrick O’Brien while attending Sarah Lawrence College in New York and with Hopkinson Smith at the Academie Musical in Villecroze, France and in Basel Switzerland.  In addition to his many ensemble recordings, Phillip has three highly acclaimed solo recordings to his credit, including his Studio395 release, Music from the Casteliono Lute Book 1536 (2010). Phillip also serves as the current President of the Lute Society of America.