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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.

Fast passagework? High notes? No problem for the greatest virtuosos of the early 18th century, whose talents inspired some of the most spectacular music of the late Baroque.  J. S. Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, one of the great showpieces of the soprano and trumpet repertoire, headlines a program that also includes showstoppers by Vivaldi and Scarlatti.

Free admission, complimentary childcare

P L A N  Y O U R  V I S I T

Johann Sebastian Bach, Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052

Alessandro Scarlatti, Su le sponde del Tebro

Antonio Vivaldi, "Folia" Sonata in D minor, Op. 1/12 (after Corelli) 

Johann Sebastian Bach, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51



Sherezade Panthaki


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.

Nataniel Mayfield

Natural Trumpet

A Texas native with international roots, Nathaniel Mayfield has shared his passion and love of the modern and baroque trumpet with audiences across the world. Honored as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts by President Clinton and the NFAA, aFulbright Scholar to Germany, aBeebe and Rapaport Fellow, as well as winner of numerous solo competitions (Level 1 Award, A.R.T.S.International Trumpet Guild Solo CompetitionYamaha Young Performing Artist CompetitionAspen Solo CompetitionNational Trumpet Competition), Mr. Mayfield is currently on the music faculty at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, Concordia University, and serves both as Director of Music and on the board at The Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts (ASPVA). Mr. Mayfield is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, and also the Columbia University/The Juilliard School exchange program, where he studied with Professor Raymond Mase (Chairman of the Brass Department) while earning a degree in history. In addition to studies at Tanglewood Institute, Mr. Mayfield completed two years of postgraduate work at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, Germany under Professor Reinhold Friedrich.

Mr. Mayfield has given masterclasses at such institutions as: The Juilliard School, Eastman School of MusicBaylor UniversityGrinnell CollegeTexas Christian University, Zagreb Conservatory in Croatia, Lausanne Conservatory in Switzerland, Laval University, and in past years served on the faculty of The American Festival for the Arts, and Domaine Forget in Quebec, Canada. He has appeared as featured baroque trumpet soloist with Mercury Baroque,Ars LyricaLa FolliaTexas Bach Choir, Camerata Ventapane, Dallas Bach Society, Aulos EnsembleHouston Chamber Choir, St. Cecilia Festival Baroque Orchestra, andBach Society Houston, and as principal trumpet with Les Violons du RoyDes Moines Metro Opera,Singapore Symphony, and The Pacific Music Festival JapanThe National Repertory OrchestraWorld Youth Orchestra (Jeunesses Musicales International) in Berlin, Germany, Victoria Bach Festival, Round Top Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival.

While not traveling, Mr. Mayfield calls his native city of Austin home, where he lives with his wonderful wife Ulrike and beautiful daughter Elizabeth. Other interests include long distance running, studying German, physics and electricity, microbiology, home-brewing, military history, and collecting antique bricks. He can be contacted anytime through his website,

Matthew Dirst

Artistic Director, Harpsichord

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. He is the author of Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and the editor of Bach and the Organ (University of Illinois Press, 2016).

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