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Classical Spectres

Sunday, April 2 at 6pm

Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts

Interest in the uncanny brought about all manner of oddities during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, from wax museums to gothic fiction. In chamber works from this era, musical depictions of the supernatural took on a life of their own outside the opera house. Shorn of traditional theatrical trappings, the purely aural spectres of J. C. F. Bach and Beethoven make powerful impressions, indeed.

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Pygmalion
Jean-Marie LeClair, Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 7/1
Ludwig van Beethoven, "Ghost" Trio in D Major, Op. 70/1
Ludwig van Beethoven, An die ferne geliebte


Thomas Meglioranza

Matthew Dirst

Adam LaMotte

Barrett Sills

About the Artists:

Thomas Meglioranza

Baritone Thomas Meglioranza, a winner of the Naumburg and Concert Artists Guild competitions, has sung Carmina Buranas, Messiahs and Bach passions with many major orchestras, as well as Eight Songs for a Mad King with the LA Philharmonic, Bach cantatas with Les Violons du Roy and Orpheus, Copland's Old American Songs with the National Symphony. He has also sung with Philharmonia Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, the American Bach Soloists and Mercury. Operatic roles include Pierrot in Die tote Stadt, Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China and Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös' Angels in America. An avid recitalist, he has recorded two Schubert CDs and a French album with pianist Reiko Uchida, as well as Bach cantatas with the Taverner Consort, and songs of Virgil Thomson with BMOP. He is a graduate of Grinnell College and Eastman.

Adam LaMotte

Violinist Adam LaMotte is becoming well known to audiences throughout the country as a leader of both period and modern ensembles.  He has appeared as soloist, concertmaster, and conductor of numerous orchestras, including the NorthwestSinfonietta in Seattle, String Orchestra of the Rockies, Astoria Festival Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Maggini String Orchestra in Houston.As violinist and violist, Adam has been hailed by critics as an "especially compelling" and "superbviolinist" with "exceptional talent," whose performances are "energetic and exquisite." As Artistic Director of the Montana Baroque Festival, he brings first-class period instrument performances to the rural Montana community.  He has co-founded two critically-acclaimed ensembles, in Portland and in Houston, and continues to produce many chamber music and chamber orchestra performances.  In collaboration with ensembles such as American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, and Chanticleer, Mr. LaMotte performs on period instruments, using a fine Italian instrument made in 1730 by Bernardo Calcagni, for which he is indebted to his generous patrons who made the purchase possible.

Barrett Sills

Barrett Sills is a prizewinning cellist in international competitions in Europe and South America. A native Texan, he was a scholarship student at Yale, where he was a teaching assistant to Aldo Parisot and recipient of the prestigious Maxwell Belding Internship Award. Mr. Sills has performed with orchestras in France and Germany, and as recitalist has performed in Paris, the south of France, and throughout South America as an Artistic Ambassador for the United States Information Agency. He is principal cellist with both the Houston Ballet Orchestra and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, and he is frequently featured soloist for the Houston Ballet. In addition to performing on the modern cello, he is a recognized artist on both the baroque cello and viola da gamba and is often heard in concert with Ars Lyrica Houston.

Matthew Dirst

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.