501 Texas Ave
Houston, TX 77002
8:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, 2014
Ars Lyrica Houston, Bach Society Houston, Houston Early Music and Mercury - The Orchestra Redefined will host the Second Annual Houston Early Music Festival (HEMF) from February 8-16, 2014 at venues across the city. The festival will feature four main-stage performances, two ancillary performances and four lectures.Seeking to capitalize on the local growth of early music programming and period-instrument expertise, HEMF is an international platform for showcasing Houston’s growing talent pool and flourishing early music organizations. A longtime goal of Artistic Directors Matthew Dirst (ALH) and Antoine Plante (MO), the success of the initial HEMF in March 2013 encouraged partner organizations to expand into an entire week’s worth of activities in February 2014.Featured HEMF soloists include a number of local and international early-music experts and recording artists including Grammy–nominated conductor Matthew Dirst; Dresden music scholar and conductor, Peter Kopp; Texas-based vocalists Meredith Ruduski, Randall Umstead and Timothy Jones; Canadian soprano Meghan Lindsay; internationally renowned countertenors John Holiday, Jay Carter, and Ryland Angel; British harpsichordist Richard Egarr; and the UK-based ensemble Orlando Consort.The combined efforts of four distinctive and innovative early music organizations will provide an excellent educational platform and multiple opportunities to bring greater awareness to Houston’s extraordinarily diverse and robust arts scene.Mercury invites you to join Richard Egarr in the Complete Brandenburg Concertos as the versatile harpsichordist and conductor brings these Baroque classics to life. Friday, February 14 at 8pm.Featuring:
Richard Egarr, Harpsichordist and Guest Conductor (pictured)The English harpsichordist and conductor, Richard Egarr, was as a boy chorister at York Minster, a position that included complete musical training. He learned piano and organ, studying both at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester from age 13. He earned his diploma in organ playing at 16 and became an organ scholar at Manchester Cathedral, then at Clare College Oxford (or Clare College Cambridge). The position of organ scholar - there are generally two at any one time - is part of the tradition of university chapel choirs in the major British universities. An organ scholar receives a full scholarship to the College and participates in daily services with the College chapel choir throughout the academic year.Richard Egarr is one of the most versatile musicians around. He has worked with all types of keyboards and performed repertoire ranging from 15th-century organ intabulations to Dussek and Chopin on early pianos, to Alban Berg and Maxwell Davies on modern piano. He is in great demand as a soloist and chamber musician, as well as a conductor.As soloist, Richard Egarr has performed extensively in the major music festivals throughout Europe and Japan; his 2006 solo tour in the USA with J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) received great critical acclaim. He has appeared many times as orchestral soloist with the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, with the Orchestra of the 18th Century as well as with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.Program:
Johann Sebastian Bach – The Complete Brandenburg ConcertosWHAT IS EARLY MUSIC?Early Music is music from the mid-18th century and before, music from the Baroque, Renaissance and Middle Ages. From the Gregorian chant to Bach’s organ works, Handel’s operas, and Vivaldi’s concertos, it is the most beautiful and exciting music from our Western heritage. Early music experts strive to revive forgotten masterpieces of past eras and give us a glimpse of how this music was performed: "what are those angels singing and playing in medieval paintings…what did queen Elizabeth I dance to, what entertained Louis XIV at dinner?" (Forrest Kelly, Thomas. Early Music: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.)Early music is performed on historical period instruments (or their replicas) because they produce livelier and more authentic sounds than their modern equivalents.