Ars Lyrica Houston & The Moores School
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston presents a diverse array of music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. Its local subscription series, according to the Houston Chronicle, “sets the agenda” for early music in Houston and it also appears regularly at major festivals and conferences, including the 2014 Berkeley Early Music Festival & Exhibition. Ars Lyrica’s distinctive programming favors Baroque dramatic and chamber works, and its pioneering efforts have won international acclaim: the ensemble’s world première recording of Johann Adolf Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra, hailed by Early Music America as “a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality,” was nominated for a Grammy Award® for Best Opera 2011.
Free admission, complimentary childcare
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The Moores School Concert Chorale is the University of Houston’s premiere large choral ensemble and was ranked No. 3 in a 2015 list of the world’s leading choirs. The group has been under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber since 2002. Since that time the group has appeared as an invited choir before the 2004 national convention of the American Musicological Society, the 2005 and 2008 Texas Music Educators Association conventions, and the 2007 American Choral Directors Association national convention in Miami. The choralnet.org blog described their Miami performances as “absolutely outstanding” and “stunning.” In 2016 summer, Chorale members traveled to compete at the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, and were invited to represent the United States at this prestigious festival's opening night concert. At that world-renowned festival, Chorale won or placed in every category they entered, including a first place in the most coveted category of all, Chamber Choir.
Handel’s Oratorio Jephtha
Featuring Dominique McCormick soloist in Jephtha and in Long Live the Queen
Matthew Dirst, Artisitic Director and Founder
Ars Lyrica Founder & Artistic Director Matthew Dirst is the first American musician to win major international prizes in both organ and harpsichord, including the American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition (1990) and the Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition (1993). Widely admired for his stylish playing and conducting, the Dallas Morning News recently praised his “clear and evocative conducting” of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, which “yielded a performance as irresistibly lively as it was stylish.” Dirst’s recordings with Ars Lyrica have earned a Grammy nomination and widespread critical acclaim. 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, France, where he spent two years as a Fulbright scholar. Equally active as a scholar and as an organist, Dirst is Professor of Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, and Organist at St Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston. His book Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. He is also the editor of Bach and the Organ, which appears in the Bach Perspectives series from the University of Illinois Press in early 2016.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen
Dominique McCormick is a lyric soprano from Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music, and the Conservatoire National de Région Boulogne-Billancourt in France. Currently completing her doctoral dissertation in music, Dominique is happy to be newly relocated to the Houston area and is overjoyed to be performing with Ars Lyrica.
In the domain of competitions, Dominique has been the recipient of the: First prize for women in the Concours International d’opérettes of Marseille 2010 ; Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan National Council Awards in Louisiana. From September 2011- August 2013, she held the position of assistant Music director at the American Cathedral in Paris. In October 2011 she was appointed Voice professor for Choeur Régional Vittoria d’ile de France under the direction of Michel Piquemal.
Countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has been identified as one of opera and early music’s most promising rising stars. In 2017, he was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and First Prize Winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition. In the 2017-18 season, he joins the Houston Grand Opera Studio, as the first countertenor in the studio’s history, for productions of Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Strauss’ Elektra. He also joins American Bach Soloists for performances of Handel’s Messiah in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.
He made his European debut at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, singing the primo uomo role of Timante in Gluck's Demofonte with baroque ensemble Il Complesso Barocco. Additional credits include performances with the Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Leipzig Barockorchester, the Venice Music Project, and the Newberry Consort.
The Grammy-nominated British counter-tenor Ryland Angel has built an international reputation on both the opera and concert stage, in repertoire ranging from the Baroque to new operatic commissions at major opera houses, concert halls and festivals throughout Europe and the USA. He has performed in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Gavin Bryars’s Doctor Ox’s Experiment (English National Opera), Fairy Queen (Barcelona), Gluck’s Orfeo (Koblenz), Amadigi Karlsruhe), Venus and Adonis (Flanders Opera), Dido and Aeneas (Opera Comique), The Play of Daniel (Spoleto), and Ballet Comique de La Royne (Geneva). Angel has sung on over 70 recordings including music of Buxtehude, Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Spears, O'Regan, Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach and on the film soundtracks of Jack Reacher - never go back, Zoolander 2, Freedom, Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete, The Mystery of Dante and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices.
In 2006 Ryland Angel received a Grammy® nomination. He has performed on over 50 recordings including music by Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Lorenzani, Peri, Händel, Monteverdi, Beaujoyeux, Purcell, Bach, Spears, Rosenmuller, Bobby Mcferrin (EMI, Universal, Sony, K317, Koch, Virgin Classics).
Ryland Angel composed the score and sang the title track of the forthcoming Warner Bros documentary film The Mystery of Dante. He also features on the film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices.
Baritone Mark Diamond debuted with Ars Lyrica last season in Bach’s Coffee Cantata. Mr. Diamond is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio where performances included Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Marcello in La bohème, and has since returned to sing Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music. Last season Mr. Diamond debuted with the French opera theaters of Limoges, Caen, and Reims. He is the first prize Winner of the 2010 Eleanor McCollum Competition as well as the recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from Glimmerglass Festival and the Sarah Tucker Study Grant.
Tenor Tony Boutté is described in the current issue of Opera News as “possessed of a radiant, communicative tenor." A native of Louisiana, Tony has traveled extensively, here and abroad, including New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles. Tony has sung with such established ensembles as Les Arts Florissants, Les Talens Lyriques, Tafelmusik, Musica Angelica and Ars Lyrica Houston. His extensive recording catalog includes works by Lully, Handel and Bach, as well as world premier recordings by Philip Glass, Douglas Cuomo and Michael Gordon. Upcoming releases include Fauré songs (Edition Peters Sounds) and music of Boismortier (Centaur) with Arcanum Ensemble. Tony recently joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University, and is excited to be joining the thriving cultural life of Houston. For more info, visit www.tonyboutte.com.
Originally from Austin, TX, Nathaniel Mayfield was awarded a four-year scholarship to study trumpet at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. After acceptance into both The Juilliard School and Columbia University, Mr. Mayfield graduated after three years of studies with Professor Raymond Mase (Chairman of the Juilliard Brass Department), and earned a BA in Classical History from Columbia. Other awards and honors included first prizes in The National Trumpet Competition, The Aspen Music Festival Concerto Competition, and the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition.
A world-renowned baroque trumpet soloist, Mr. Mayfield has presented masterclasses at such institutions as: The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Laval University in Quebec, UT Austin, Baylor, TCU, Lausanne Conservatory Switzerland, and many others.