Matthew Dirst, ars lyrica houston, early music, early music houston, bach, handel

Matthew Dirst
Artistic Director

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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Kinga Ferguson, ars lyrica houston, early music, early music houston, bach, handel

Kinga Ferguson
Executive Director

Kinga Ferguson has experience in both arts administration and vocal performance that spans three countries. She holds an MBA from the University of Lyon, France, and has worked, in Paris, for the Jacques Thelen Agency and European Artistic Management. She has also worked with the USA International Harp Competition and a number of arts organizations in Poland. She holds a Masters and Performer’s Diploma in Voice from Indiana University and has sung with Chicago Opera Theatre, Chicago Humanities Festival, Marion Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Opera Company of the Highlands, Indiana University Opera Theatre, and Houston’s own Opera Vista. She holds an Artist’s Diploma in Piano from the State School of Music in Lodz, Poland. Ferguson is a Fellow of the Paul Daisy Soros Foundation for New Americans.

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Emma Wine
Operations Associate 

Emma Wine is a Rice University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, her work has been performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Rice University Chorale, and throughout the United States. Eager to teach and inspire, Emma is passionate about spreading her enthusiasm for classical music to new audiences, from schoolchildren to young professionals to seasoned concert-goers.  As Operations Associate at Ars Lyrica, Emma is excited to gain an in-depth understanding of administration in performing arts organizations. Her dream is to one day lead an arts organization of her own that pushes the envelope of contemporary classical music programming. Even so, her favorite pieces in all of classical music are Renaissance motets, and her favorite composer is JS Bach. 

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Kathleen Staten
Marketing & Events Associate

Kathleen Staten synthesizes 20 years of experience in world-class historical performance, education, and arts advocacy in this meaningful role as an advocate for historically informed performance in our community. Kathleen graduated with a BM performance and coveted Artist Diploma from IU Bloomington in oboe, and performed as soloist and ensemble member with some of America’s premier orchestras including Ars Lyrica. Most recently, she served as Performing Arts Teacher and Director of a bespoke summer camp curriculum that she designed for the British International School of Houston. It is her passion to provide context and ascribe importance to our cultural legacy. Listen to her 2001 recording of Zelenka Sonatas and follow her on LinkedIn.


BOARD of Directors

John Lemen

Ed Grusnis

Darrin Davis

Richard Viebig

Brendan Godfrey

Shelby Allen

Alan Austin

Elizabeth Bellows Brockman

Sonja Bruzauskas

Joyce Fox

Ed Hess

Schubert Huang

Gabriel Loperena

Wil McCorquodale

Ed Rinehart

Dorry Shaddock

Eleanor Viebig