Ars Lyrica Houston is a

NEXT Performance:


Friday, February 12 at 7:30pm

Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts

Songs about springtime animate our 2016 Houston Early Music Festival program, entitled All in a Garden Green after an English folksong. A menu of delectable tunes mixes items from English, Italian, French, and Spanish musical cultures and includes Vivaldi’s Spring, along with songs and cantatas by William Byrd, Thomas Morely, Clément Jannequin, Juan del Encina and others. Love will definitely be in the air at this Valentine’s weekend program!

About the Artists:

Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte returns to Ars Lyrica this season, after an appearance in Charpentier’s chamber opera Les arts florissants in November. Other recent performances include singing for Nobel Prize Mario Vargas Llosa last October with the Casa Cultural de las Americas, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Opera in the Heights, Jessie Lydell in A Coffin in Egypt with HGO and Loma Williams with the University of Houston.

Cecilia created the role of Renata in Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna-the first opera with mariachi music, and has toured with it at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera and Arizona Opera. Cecilia has premiered several chamber operas and contemporary works through HGOco such as A Way Home by Ethan Greene, The Ninth November by David Hanlon and I Am a Memorial by Paul English. An early music enthusiast, she often performs with the Bach Society of Houston, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Festivalensemble in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Festival de Música Barroca de San Miguel de Allende, México. She lives in Houston, where she is active in the contemporary music circle, performing and collaborating with composers and premiering their works.

Returning soloist, Kathryn Montoya, teaches baroque oboe and recorder at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of North Texas. She appears with a variety of orchestral and chamber music ensembles including the internationally-acclaimed Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Tafelmusik, the Wiener Akademie, Arion, Pacific Musicworks, and Apollo’s Fire among others. Kathryn received her degrees at Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington. While at IU she was the recipient of the prestigious Performer’s Certificate and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany. Recent projects include the Globe’s Tony award winning productions of Twelfthe Night and Richard III on Broadway, concerts and master classes in Shanghai, and tour of Steffani’s Niobe, Regina di Tebe with Philippe Jaroussky, Karina Gauvin and the BEMF orchestra. Kathryn very much enjoys the various thrills of recording, has been broadcast on NPR's Performance Today and can be heard on the Erato, Naxos, CPO, NCA, Analekta, and Dorian Sono Luminus labels.

Texas-born Tenor Zachary Averyt made his operatic debut in 2001, and has since continued to delight audiences.  He appears frequently with many of Houston's most notable ensembles. The 2015/16 season opened with a production of Massenet’s Manon at the Moores Opera Center, where he also appears as Ruggero in Puccini’s La Rondine and as Stiva in a new production of David Carlson’s Anna Karenina. In February, he presents Schumann’s Dichterliebe with pianist Jessica Myers. Averyt has toured the Mediterranean with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, and he began the 2013/14 season with performances of two of Britten’s masterpieces: Serenades for Tenor and Horn and Les Illuminations, garnering praise for “the warmth and power of his voice” and “a notable stage presence with solid theatrical bearing and intense focus.”  That season also included the Texas premiere of Handel's Susanna, as well as debuts in Louisiana and Colorado.

Mr. Averyt holds degrees from both the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, where he is now pursuing a doctorate in performance and pedagogy. He is on staff at the Bel Canto Institute of the Texas Music Festival, has served on the faculty of the American Festival of the Arts and currently lives and teaches privately in Houston.

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.


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Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-soprano

Zachary Averyt, tenor

Kathryn Montoya, recorder 


Alan Austin, violin
Brandi Berry, violin 
Mary Springfels, viola da gamba
Deborah Dunham, violone 
Becky Baxter, Baroque harp
Michael Leopold, archlute 
Matthew Dirst, harpsichord