Mission: Ars Lyrica Houston (ALH) offers audiences a broad range of music from the 17th and 18th centuries, on period instruments and with careful attention to period style and context. Ars Lyrica, which means “lyric art,“ performs on period instruments because they produce a sweeter, more intimate sound than their modern equivalents and are better suited to the performance of Baroque music especially. Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst and incorporated in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) organization, this Grammy–nominated ensemble offers a yearly series of programs at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston and also performs regularly at other area and national venues.
Programs: Under Dirst’s leadership, ALH “set[s] the agenda for imaginative period–instrument programming in Houston“ (according to the Houston Chronicle) with a distinctive blend of chamber, dramatic, and sacred works from the late Renaissance through the Classical era in music history. Its recordings have garnered international acclaim: Gramophone, the leading journal of the classical recording industry, praised Ars Lyrica’s debut CD for its “exemplary skill and taste,“ the ensemble’s musicians for their “impassioned performance“ of never-before recorded works by Alessandro Scarlatti; while Ars Lyrica’s latest CD, the world première recording of Johann Adolf Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Opera 2011.
ALH is proud to have represented Houston’s thriving early music community with programs at national meetings and conventions of the American Musicological Society, the American Bach Society, the American Guild of Organists, the Society for 17th–Century Music, and, this past summer, at the world–renowned Boston Early Music Festival. ALH also serves communities across Texas through frequent collaborations with other Texas–based arts organizations, including leading choral groups and early music sponsors. In addition to its concert and recording activities, ALH offers diverse educational and outreach programs, which focus on enriching the concert experience and on building new audiences.
Recent efforts in this area include two distinctive in–school programs for K–12 children in the Houston area, family concerts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, university-level workshops and collaborations, demonstrations of period instruments, performances at nontraditional venues, and lectures about upcoming programs.
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I've been extremely impressed and moved by the artistic quality of every Ars Lyrica performance. From the unbeatable, dynamic programming and high-quality musicianship, to the accommodating staff and passionate audience members, Houston is lucky to claim Ars Lyrica as one if its local arts organizations.
Ars Lyrica provides vital musical education along with a passion for performance that can't be matched. Houston's underground classical music scene is coming up for air at last, to the delight of all involved.
I've been a part of this volunteer group for 2 years now and couldn't be more pleased about what we've achieved under the guidance of the ALH team.
Vibrant group to volunteer for and the perks are great. Meet intelligent musicians from around the USA and learn about their passion for sharing classical music in a contemporary setting. Baroque and opera fills your heart with God's gift of the arts.
Ars Lyrica is a superb example of the beauty and fascination of Early Music. Its concerts, played on period instruments, present the music as it was originally played. Each concert is better than the one before.
ALH continues to surprise me with every work they put out. The music is at the caliber of high-budget companies, with a continued focus on staying true to the baroque era of music. They bring history to life in a unique yet classic way. Always a pleasure to watch!!
I am no expert when it comes to classical music, but I greatly enjoy Ars Lyrica's work. Not only are performances captivating and beautiful, but their events are engaging and fun (LOVE the annual NYE perf/gala). Houston is truly lucky to have ALH as a part of its thriving arts scene!
Ars Lyrica fills a unique niche by engaging the audience in Houston with the Music of the 17-18th century. It has bloomed to a string thriving organization since its inception in 1998. It enriches the youth of the city with its educational programs as well. They take pride in their image - in marketing and internal organization.