Ars Lyrica Houston’s harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst collaborates with The Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar and The San Francisco Early Music Society (co-presenter) to offer an immersive concert experience to an international audience through an online program.

Specially filmed for this presentation, the performances and commentary were captured in May 2021 at Rienzi, the MFAH House Museum for European Decorative Arts, and at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston where Dirst serves as organist. “A Bach Keyboard Extravaganza” explores and celebrates the music of J.S. Bach for harpsichord and organ, alongside that of Bach’s key contemporaries.

This program is a co-production of the Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar (artistic director Elizabeth Blumenstock) and Ars Lyrica Houston (artistic director Matthew Dirst). Co-presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society, and premieres on YouTube on Thursday, June 24, at 7:00 pm Pacific/5:00 pm Central.

After an introduction to Dirst by the The Baroque Music Festival’s artistic director and regular Ars Lyrica concertmaster, Elizabeth Blumenstock, the performances will be interspersed with engaging commentary on the composers, pieces, locations, and instruments-including the wonderful 2020 “Gräbner” harpsichord by John Phillips (Berkeley, CA) complete with rich decoration by Janine Johnson. This collaborative creative project was made possible by a cultural arts grant from the City of Newport Beach, CA.

How to watch

The Baroque Music Festival YouTube Premiere: Thursday, June 24, 7:00 pm Pacific (viewers are encouraged to subscribe to the Festival’s YouTube channel) followed by:

Zoom Q&A social hour: Thursday, June 24, 8:00 pm Pacific

Streaming is free to view as is participation in the Zoom after-party with the musicians.

Ars Lyrica Houston streaming event: Watch on ALH concert page/YouTube Channel on June 25 at 7 pm Central and register for post-concert Baroque Cocktails with the artists starting at 8 pm Central


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Prelude and Fugue in B-flat Major BWV 866

Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703): Excerpts from the Livre d’Orgue Dialogue à 2 Tailles de Cromorne et 2 dessus de Cornet; Dialogue de Flûtes; Dialogue sur les Grands jeux

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major BWV 852

Bach: Two Cantata Transcriptions, transcribed by M. Dirst

Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe BWV 156/1; Valet will ich dir geben BWV 95/3

Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780): Trio in E-flat Major Adagio; Un poco Allegro

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in A Minor BWV 865

Nikolaus Bruhns (1665-1697): Praeludium in G Major

The Baroque Music Festival highlights one portion of a larger project taken on by Dirst. As the 300th anniversary of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier: Book 1 (a collection of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys) approaches, Dirst has paired the 18th century harpsichord copy with its natural surroundings at Rienzi for a bi-weekly Bach program that will air virtually this summer and in both live and online formats in the fall and spring as part of Ars Lyrica’s subscription series. “Rienzi is the perfect setting for this decorative instrument painted in a typical 18th century fashion. Subscribers have been enjoying its beauty all season, and miniatures from the instrument served as the iconic artwork for our recent Side by Side season.”

Source Article