Romantic sounds and sultry voices will fill Zilkha Hall this Valentine’s Weekend, as returning soloists mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and tenor Eduardo Tercero join on stage to sing songs about springtime during the 2016 Houston Early Music Festival.

JANUARY 7, 2016 — Artistic Director Matthew Dirst will lead the highly anticipated 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, Juan del Encina and others. Love will definitely be in the air at this Valentine’s weekend program!

The performance will take place on Friday, February 12, at 7:30p.m., at ZILKHA HALL, HOBBY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 800 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas 77002. Tickets range from $37 to $59. Student tickets are $22.  A limited number of concert tickets for this performance will also be available at the HobbyCenter Box Office up to one hour prior to concert start time. 

To purchase tickets, visit the Ars Lyrica Houston website at or call the Hobby Center Box Office at 713-315-2525. 

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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. Both the Hasse recording and Ars Lyrica’s recording of Domenico Scarlatti’s comic intermezzo La Dirindina feature 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World Jamie Barton, who returns for a program with the ensemble during the 2015/16 season. Details about Ars Lyrica’s latest recordings and upcoming programs can be found at


MEZZO-SOPRANO, CECILIA DUARTE - Latest appearances: Isabella (Rapaccini’s Daughter) with University of Houston; Daniel (Handel’s Susanna) with Ars Lyrica Houston, Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with Opera in the Heights; Jessie Lydell (A Coffin in Egypt) with Houston Grand Opera and the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, CA; and Loma Williams (Cold Sassy Tree) with 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. An early music enthusiast, Cecilia has often performed with the Bach Society of Houston, Ars Lyrica 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. Upcoming performances include singing for Nobel prize Mario Vargas Llosa in October with the Casa Cultural de las Americas, an appearance in Charpentier’s chamber opera Les arts florissants (Nov) and All in a Garden Green, songs about springtime (Feb) with Ars Lyrica Houston.

TENOR, EDUARDO ALBERTO TERCERO - A native of Panama City, Republica de Panama, is described as a “dashing” performer by the Houston Chronicle and was also listed in Symphony Magazine’s Guide to Emerging Artists.  As a concert artist his credits include the World Premiere of Nicholas of Myra by Robert Nelson in the role of Marcus, Piacere in the Houston Premiere production of Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verita, Adamo in the Houston Premiere production of Il Primo Omicidio by Scarlatti, Messiah by G. F. Handel with the Des Moines and La Cross Symphony Orchetras, Houston Chamber Choir and Bethany (KS) and Augustana (IL) Colleges, Montiverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 with Ars Lyrica Houston in conjunction with both the Houston Chamber Choir and Orpheus Chamber Singers of Dallas and his Houston Symphony debut as the Narrator in Copeland’s The Lincoln Portrait. Most recently he has appeared in the World Premier production of O Columbia with the Houston Grand Opera,  Music Box's production of Godspell in the role of John the Baptist/Judas, the Houston Premiere production of Adam Guettel's Myths and Hymns with A Bit of a Stretch productions and as lead ensemble member of the Premier production of Defy Gravity: A Stephen Schwartz Songbook with Standing Room Only productions. A longtime member of the Houston Chamber Choir under the direction of Robert Simpson, he will be making his season debut with Cantare Houston under the baton of Amy Solberg this coming season. He is a frequent soloist for Ars Lyrica Houston under the baton of Dr. Matthew Dirst and Mercury Baroque under the baton of Antoine Plante.  He can also be heard in the Newport Classics' recording of Cassanova’s Homecoming by one of America’s leading composers, Dominick Argento, and is the tenor soloist for the World Premiere recording of Giovanni Paolo Colonna's Psalmi ad Vesperas (1694) now available from MSR Classics. He can be seen next in the role of Franky in Forever Plaid. 

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 Braodway, 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.

MATTHEW DIRST - Ars Lyrica Founder & Artistic Director, 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.