Ars Lyrica Houston, It Takes Two
The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston kicks off its its 2012-13 season, entitled Anticipations, on September 21st at the Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall with It Takes Two.
This program of double concerti features Bach's 4th "Brandenburg" Concerto and Haydn's Concerto in F Major for violin and harpsichord. Ars Lyrica welcomes back Canadian violinist Marc Destrubé, Dutch recorder virtuoso Paul Leenhouts, and Kathryn Montoya on Baroque oboe and recorder. Music Director Matthew Dirst conducts from the harpsichord. An additional performance is scheduled for September 20th at SAN JACINTO College in Pasadena, TX.
Following the performance on September 21, subscribers and members of the ensemble will gather for a celebration of the season kickoff and the release of Ars Lyrica's newest recording, Domenico Scarlatti's comic intermezzo La Dirindina, on the Sono Luminus label. The recording includes seldom heard chamber works by this master of the keyboard sonata, performed by Matthew Dirst.
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston is a Texas-based ensemble that performs world-class Baroque music on period instruments. Ars Lyrica's world premiere recording of J.A. Hasse's Marc Antonio e Cleopatra brought the ensemble its first Grammy nomination for "a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality" (Early Music America). Ars Lyrica's distinctive programming, drawn from the rich chamber and dramatic repertories of the 17th and 18th centuries, "sets the agenda for imaginative period instrument programming in Houston," according to the Houston Chronicle.
The ensemble's first commercial release, on Naxos International, features the world première recordings of Alessandro Scarlatti's La Concettione della Beata Vergine and Euridice dall'Inferno. This disc brought international recognition to the ensemble: Gramophone, the leading journal of the classical recording industry, praised this CD for its "exemplary skill and taste," and Ars Lyrica's musicians for their "impassioned performance" of never-before recorded works. For more information visit www.arslyricahouston.org.
Matthew Dirst is a prizewinning American harpsichordist and organist who also serves as Associate Professor of Music at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music and organist at St Philip Presbyterian Church. His degrees include a PhD in musicology from Stanford University and the prix de virtuosité in both organ and harpsichord from the Conservatoire National de Reuil-Malmaison, where he spent two years as a Fulbright scholar. Noted for his stylish playing of Baroque music in particular, his recent performances of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" were praised as "an extremely taut and accurate traversal" (The New York Sun), "a technically dazzling, deeply moving performance" (Houston Chronicle), "of irresistible rhythmic impulse [and] dazzling virtuosity" (Dallas Morning News). Mr.Dirst's book, Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2013, is now available online.