The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble continues its annual New Year’s Eve gala and concert tradition 

HOUSTON, TX (JANUARY 3, 2019) – Ars Lyrica gala guests were greeted to a glittering Founders Club on the third floor of the Hobby Center for the Performing Ars on December 31, 2018 to free-flowing champagne, and sweet and savory bites catered by the newly renovated Diana American Grill while being entertained by the “Chicago-style” performance by soprano Dominique McCormick and pianist Keith Weber. The festivities included dancing on the checkerboard dancefloor to the music and lighting by DJ Cory Frederick and Catalyst Design. All in attendance rang in 2019 to a shower of ticker tape with downtown Houston fireworks as a backdrop and raised their champagne glasses for a toast and rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.”

 The New Year’s Eve celebration began with a seated dinner with prix fixemenu in Diana American Grill, was then followed by the Baroque Razzle-Dazzleconcert program that included both first and third “Brandenburg” Concertos and featured acclaimed violinist Adam LaMotte and Grammy-nominated Ars Lyrica ensemble instrumentalists. The audience showed their excitement with a standing ovation.

 Among the Ars Lyrica supporters were: Ars Lyrica founder and artistic director, Matthew Dirst; Gala chairs, Michelle Stair and Carlos SierraJulie and John CoganJano and John Kelley; Ars Lyrica board members, Kathryn andBrendan Godfrey;John LemenRichard and Eleanor Viebig; Ed and Janet Hess.

Gala Media Sponsors: HoustoniaCKW Luxe Magazine

Ars Lyrica Houston’s 2018/19 Out of the Box season continues with Claudio Monteverdi’s Scherzi musicali(“musical jokes”) and inspired one of the most famous debates in music history Monteverdi’s experimental style of vocal writing favored the words, whose careful expression justified the occasional compositional 

impropriety. Love in all its delicious colors is on the menu, as served up by soprano Dominique McCormick

mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and baritone Brian Shircliffe on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 7:30 pm in Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center. For tickets and information visit or call the Hobby Center box office (713) 315-2525.


For high-resolution images, please contact Shannon Langman at 713-622-7443 or


About Ars Lyrica Houston


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.


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.