Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ars Lyrica's first CD on Naxos

Audiences and critics alike have been enthusiastic about Ars Lyrica programming in general and the Alessandro Scarlatti programs in particular. We are pleased to announce that a recent Ars Lyrica recording of Scarlatti's music will be available on the NAXOS label later this year. The disc features two major works of Scarlatti that have never before been recorded: Euridice dall'Inferno and La Concettione della Beata Vergine (plus his Sonata in C minor for cello and continuo and Toccata in A major for solo harpsichord).

Read what critics say about Ars Lyrica's performance of Scarlatti's music:

"Dirst led a vigorous performance that revealed the brilliance and depth of Scarlatti's music very well. Every singer poured great intensity into the music [and] the accompaniment by the continuo group was exquisitely sensitive and colorful."
Houston Chronicle on l primo omicidio

"Ars Lyrica's presentation came as close to opera as I've ever seen with three sterling singers, crisp articulation from the period-instrument string-and-continuo band, and intelligent, detailed direction."
Arts Houston on La Giuditta

Free Concert at the Museum of Fine Arts

MFAH "Artful Thursday" presentation

Learn more about Alessandro Scarlatti's masterpieces in a lecture presentation by yours truly, with musical illustrations by Ars Lyrica's singers.

Lecture recital: A Marian Feast

Thursday, Feb 21, 2008, at 6:30 pm, MFAH Brown Auditorium

Matthew Dirst, lecture
Kinga Ferguson, soprano
Gerrod Pagenkopf, countertenor

Co-sponsored by KUHF 88.7 FM.

The program will be followed by a reception

Pictures from New Year's Eve celebration

We are happy to report that our New Year's Eve celebration was a great success.
The concert had the largest audience to date, and the party and the auction were also well attended and received.

For pictures from both events, please visit:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Early Music a luxury item again!

Have a look at the January issue of Houston Modern Luxury magazine for the latest sign that Kinga Ferguson, Ars Lyrica's executive director, is finding creative new ways of getting the word out. There's a profile of yours truly just inside the back cover, with the obligatory glam photo. It's a great piece of publicity, though I'll admit that the pic is kinda scary. Houston Luxury can be found in high-end shops, hair salons, restaurants, etc and is available for free at those locations.

After years of jokes about harpsichordists and their granola and birkenstocks, it's interesting to see that early music is once again a luxury item -- which is, after all, precisely what it was during the 18th century and before.