PRESS


Grammy Nomination

Ars Lyrica Houston is honored that the world première recording of J.A. Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award. 


News + Media

2016:

"Old Yet New: Ars Lyrica’s Fresh Take on Vivaldi and Next Season’s News" - Steven Brown, Arts+Culture Texas
"... Ars Lyrica wants to show you the Baroque warhorse in a fresh light."

Summer Zephyr - Vic Shutte, HoustonPress
Summer Zephyr is "hot, bothered and breezy," and it begins with Vivaldi’s Summer


German Violin > Italian Violin at Ars Lyrica Concert - Steve Jansen, HoustonPress

Handel’s Messiah: The Most Treasured Choral Work Is Beautiful and (Possibly) Revolting - Steve Jansen, HoustonPress

Classical music: Orpheus, Ars Lyrica restore ‘Messiah’ to rightful time period - Scott Cantrell, The Dallas Morning News

Ars Lyrica Covering Easter at Hobby Center:  Early music group Ars Lyrica Houston celebrates Easter with Handel’s “Messiah.” - Leah Rose, Houstonia


2015:

Early Music, Late Night:  Matthew Dirst’s Ars Lyrica rings in 2016 in a very classy way
- Nick Esquer, Houstonia


"Ancient Airs: New York Baroque Dance Company Performs with Dallas Bach Society and Ars Lyrica" - Nancy Wozny,  Arts+Culture Texas

"Barton Lets Vocal Fireworks Fly In Baroque Showcase" - Classical Voice America

"Ars Lyrica’s Four Seasons in One" - Steven Brown,  Arts+Culture Texas

Ancient Airs: New York Baroque Dance Company Performs with Dallas Bach Society and Ars Lyrica -  Arts+Culture Texas

Barton Lets Vocal Fireworks Fly In Baroque Showcase - Classical Voice America

2014 and Before:

Houston Chronicle Interview with Matthew Dirst
Matthew Dirst talks to Arts+Culture Texas Magazine about Venetian Carnival

PODCAST: Houston Public Affairs interviews Matthew on interpreting lesser known repertoire

ALH in Modern Luxury Houston's "Arts & Power" Edition

 

Photos + Videos

View photos on Flikr

View videos on YouTube

Hail! Bright Cecilia

Hail! Bright Cecilia

Il Trionfo del Tempo

Il Trionfo del Tempo

Magnificat

Magnificat

Hasse: Marc Antonio e Cleopatra

Hasse: Marc Antonio e Cleopatra

A Viennese New Year

A Viennese New Year

Susanna

Susanna


Press Kit

Download the 2014–2015 Season Press Release

Download the 2015–2016 Season Press Release

For more information, please contact Ars Lyrica at info@arslyricahouston.org

Publications

Books: “Engaging Bach” by Matthew Dirst


Reviews of Recordings

HASSE:
MARC’ANTONIO E CLEOPATRA

“a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality” 
— Early Music America

Full Reviews:

Grammy Nominations 2010

 

DOMENICO SCARLATTI:
LA DIRINDINA

“Such theatrical works have become the calling card of Ars Lyrica and its artistic director, Matthew Dirst. They seem to evoke inspired performances by the group.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

Full Reviews:

HEART AND SOUL: DEVOTIONAL WORKS FROM THE GERMAN BAROQUE FOR VOICE

"Listeners who enjoy the countertenor voice will find a good deal to admire in Ryland Angel's interpretations, for not only does he sing with a sweet and penetrating sound but gives keen attention to the meaning of the text and the varied affects of the pieces... fine, sonorous pieces ... played sweetly... the vocal element is the main attraction here and the reason most listeners will want the disc. The disc serves as a good representative survey of 17th-century German devotional music, with fine recorded sound"  - Fanfare

 

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI:
EURIDICE DALL’INFERNO / LA CONCETTIONE DELLA BEATA VERGINE

“...impassioned performance of strongly characterized and eloquent music.” “...played with exemplary skill and taste”
— John Vickers, Gramophone

“It's heartening to see Ars Lyrica enhancing its reputation with the release of this recording. Long may they keep the Baroque fires burning, not just in Houston but now around the world!”
— St. John Flynn, KUHF

"The range and quality of Dirst’s creations are as remarkable as the relentless ease with which he brings it all off." – CounterPunch

Full Reviews:

 

MAGNIFICAT

"Ars Lyrica and Orpheus Chamber Singers presented an excellent, and sold out, concert to an enthusiastic and appreciate audience." – Theater Jones

A VIENNESE NEW YEAR

“Ars Lyrica’s concert gala nods to the merriment associated with Vienna with a playbill that includes Strauss’ adorable Pizzicato Polka—on period instruments—alongside works by Gluck, Mozart, Fux and Schmeltzer.”— CultureMap

1610 VESPERS

“Dirst’s crisp but expressive direction yielded impressive precision, but also rhythmic buoyancy and rhetorical freedom. Lines were lovingly shaped, harmonic crunches viscerally felt, phrases elegantly rounded off...It was one of the most glorious musical experiences I’ve had in 11 years in Dallas.”— Scott Cantrel, Dallas Morning News

“The musicians made the city proud. The Houston Chamber choir, instrumental ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston and visiting wind band the Whole Noyse offered the first period instruments performance — and possibly the Houston premiere — of the great Vespers of 1610 by Claudio Monteverdi. Thursday’s first-class performance...elicited warm, sustained applause from the discerning crowd in the acoustically excellent Moores Opera House.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

HAIL! BRIGHT CECILIA

“Dirst's direction in O Sing and the two instrumental pieces was precise and the music-making by the choir and period-instrument musicians...exciting.” 
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

MAD WOMEN

“Ars Lyrica sets the standard in opening the city’s classical music season. A vividly imagined program, two riveting singers and zestful music-making combined for a great evening of Baroque music.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

DUELLING DIVAS

“The concert meshed sparkling music with lush vocals. Ars Lyrica’s focus not merely on singing and playing, but also on acting and showing that classical music is fun, is a worthy endeavor, indeed.”
— Holly Beretto, ArtsHouston

CELESTIAL SIRENS

“Melissa Givens, Tracy Rhodus and Natalie Arduino...sang with vibrant style, technical pizzazz and strong communication.” “Celestial Sirens was another of Ars Lyrica’s creative and beautifully performed programs. The group continues to set the agenda for imaginative period-instrument programming in Houston.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
Listen to an excerpt: L ROSSI Udite amanti

CLORI, TIRSI E FILENO

“When cultural historians plot the development of the early music movement in Houston, the Ars Lyrica presentation of Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno will be one of the landmarks.” “The Houston singers were stylish and confident. The orchestra...played with exhilarating energy.” “With the event, Ars Lyrica has established itself as the leader among Houston’s early music ensembles.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle 
Listen to G. F. HANDEL Overture to Clori, Tirsi e Fileno

GOLDBERG VARIATIONS

“[Dirst’s] was playing of irresistible rhythmic impulse, the rhythm not of the metronome but of a fine dancer ever minutely adjusting to gravity’s tug. He commanded the music’s intellectual rigors but also luxuriated in its pure delight. And there was pretty dazzling virtuosity.”
— Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News

HAGAR AND ISHMAEL

“Countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf...sang with gorgeous, even tone and exquisite emotional nuance. Soprano Melissa Givens offered her trademark clear sound and charming involvement as Sarah and the Angel. UH bass-baritone Timothy Jones was convincingly distraught as Abraham. Mezzo-soprano Sonja Bruzauskas sang Ishmael with bright color and youthful vigor. Dirst led a crisp, expressive performance...the small ensemble played with zest.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

IL PRIMO OMICIDIO

“Dirst led a vigorous performance that revealed the brilliance and depth of Scarlatti’s music very well. Every singer poured great intensity into the music. The accompaniment by the continuo group — harpsichord or organ, theorbo or Baroque guitar, Baroque cello and occasionally double bass — was exquisitely sensitive and colorful.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

LA GIUDITTA

“Ars Lyrica’s presentation came as close to opera as I’ve ever seen with three sterling singers, crisp articulation from the period string-and-continuo band, and intelligent, detailed direction.”
— Rosemary Ponnekanti, Arts Houston