Reserve your seats...

Change of Plans?
Subscribers can exchange tickets for another Ars Lyrica 2017/18 Season performance — Learn more

Hobby Center Box Office:
713-315-2525



Sweet Philomela

Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm

Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts

Opening night of our 2017/18 season of Artful Women features exotic musical works inspired by Philomela, mythical princess of Athens, whose transformation into a nightingale has fascinated poets and musicians for centuries. Soprano Sherezade Panthaki returns to the Zilkha Hall stage for evocative arias from Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato and Johann Adolph Hasse’s lyric cantata L’Armonica, while Dennis James makes his Ars Lyrica debut on the glass harmonica, an instrument whose ethereal sounds fascinated both Hasse and Mozart. The ensemble of strings and winds soars as well, with one of C. P. E. Bach’s vibrant symphonies for twelve obbligato instruments.


SOLOISTS

Sherezade Panthaki, soprano

Sherezade Panthaki, soprano

Dennis James, glass harmonica

Dennis James,
glass harmonica

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin

Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Soprano Sherezade Panthaki’s international success has been fueled by superbly honed musicianship; “shimmering sensitivity” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “astonishing coloratura with radiant top notes” (Calgary Herald); a vocal color “combining brilliance with a dark, plumlike tone” (The Wall Street Journal), and passionately informed interpretations, “mining deep emotion from the subtle shaping of the lines” (The New York Times). An acknowledged star in the early-music field, Ms. Panthaki has developed strong collaborations with many of the world’s leading interpreters including Nicholas McGegan, Simon Carrington, the late John Scott, Mark Morris, Matthew Halls, Nicholas Kraemer, and Masaaki Suzuki, with whom she made her New York Philharmonic debut in a program of Bach and Mendelssohn.

Highlights of her current and recent seasons include Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan (Tokyo), National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.), National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa, Canada), Calgary Symphony, and Nashville Symphony; Handel and Bach oratorios with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco; several productions with the Mark Morris Dance Group, including Handel’s L’allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the title role of Galatea in the company’s premiere performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea; Handel’s Saul with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto; Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Houston Symphony; Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and Brahms Requiem with the late John Scott and the Choir and Orchestra of St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, New York City; numerous Bach cantatas and Mozart Requiem with Music of the Baroque (Chicago); Handel’s Solomon with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie in Holland; Handel at Carnegie Hall with William Christie and the Yale Philharmonia; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and solo cantatas with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York city; Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate and Requiem with the Washington Bach Consort (Washington D.C.); and solo concerts of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi cantatas with the Rebel Baroque Orchestra. She is a frequent soloist with the most accomplished early music ensembles in New York, including the Choir and Orchestra of Trinity Church Wall Street (with whom she performed on a Grammy nominated recording).

Born and raised in India, Ms. Panthaki holds an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where she won multiple awards, including the prestigious Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize, awarded to launch the career of a student who demonstrates exceptional promise and talent as an artist. She earned a Masters degree from the University of Illinois and a Bachelors degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Ms. Panthaki is an active and passionate music educator, frequently called upon to present vocal masterclasses at Universities and Arts Schools across the United States. She teaches as an adjunct voice professor at Yale University.

Dennis James is an American musician and historic preservationist who played "a pivotal role in the international revival of silent films presented with period-authentic live music."[1] Beginning in 1969, he presented historically informed live accompaniments for silent films, with piano, theatre organchamber ensemble and full symphony orchestras, throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and overseas. He is now primarily active as a noted multi-instrumentalist, specializing on musical glasses and the glass armonica, prominently performing in New York at the Caramoor Festival and Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival (2011) plus debuting at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 2013.

James has also recently become active in the preservation and restoration of historic theremins and Ondes Martenot instruments plus has begun performing syncopated and moderne period piano repertoire within a multitude of other specialist musical activities generally considered of marginal cultural impact subject to the whims of amateurs and enthusiasts.

Widely admired as a Baroque violinist of expressive eloquence and technical sparkle, Elizabeth Blumenstock is a long-time concertmaster with the Bay Area's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and American Bach Soloists, concertmaster of the International Handel Festival Orchestra in Goettingen, Germany, and Artistic Director of the Corona del Mar Baroque Music Festival in Orange County, California.  Her love of chamber music has involved her in several accomplished and interesting smaller ensembles including Galax Quartet, Live Oak Baroque, Sarasa, and Voices of Music.  Ms. Blumenstock teaches regularly for the Juilliard Historical Performance program, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the American Bach Soloists' summer Festival and Academy, the International Baroque Institute at Longy, and the Valley of the Moon Music Festival.  She plays a 1660 Andrea Guarneri violin built in Cremona, Italy, on generous permanent loan to her from the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust.