Ars Lyrica Wraps up its 2016-17 Season with a Fantastical Finale

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Ars Lyrica concludes its 2016/2017
season with a whimsical baroque
program inspired by the pathetic, but
lovable "knight-errant." Learn more at

May 21, at the Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall, Ars Lyrica will wrap up its 2016/2017 season with DON QUIXOTE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES, a whimsical Baroque program inspired by the figure of the Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha.

The tragicomic story of Don Quixote's undaunted valor and misplaced loyalty that has inspired countless composers and artists originated more than four hundred years ago in novel written by great Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes during the Golden Age of Spanish literature, "El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha."

DON QUIXOTE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES offers a "musical salute to Miguel de Cervantes' hapless knight errant" and his imaginary world in a program of "unusual and engaging repertoire," says Ars Lyrica Artistic Director Matthew Dirst.

The fantastical season finale features Grammy-nominated guitarist and lutenist, Richard Savino, violinist, Kurt Johnson, and soprano, Dominique McCormick, with an impressive ensemble of period strings and winds. Ars Lyrica's flagship outreach group, The Crumhorn Collective, will also perform.

Dominique McCormick is a lyric soprano from Long Island, New York. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Aaron Copland School of Music and the Conservatoire National de Région Boulogne-Billancourt in France. Performing in the United States and Europe, her roles include: Gretel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel; Laetitia in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief; Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro; Sola Myrrhis in Messager's Coup de Roulis; Lady Marian in De Koven's Robin Hood; Hanna Glavari in Lehar's The Merry Widow. As soloist, works include: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater; Mozart's Mass in C minor and Requiem, Brahm's Requiem; Handel's Messiah and Dixit Dominus; Bach's Mass in B minor, Magnificat, and St. Matthew's Passion; Poulenc's Gloria; Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 and Lauda Sion; Recitalist for Les Musicales de Normandie; and Les Nuits de Cheronne. Currently completing her doctoral dissertation in music, Dominique is happy to be newly relocated to the Houston area and is overjoyed to be performing with Ars Lyrica.

Grammy nominated guitarist, lutenist and director Richard Savino's performances and recordings have been praised by critics throughout the world. Within his extensive discography of over 30 commercial recordings of music ranging from the early 17th century through virtuoso music of Paganini and Mertz is the only recording of Mauro Giuliani's Op. 30 Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with the original orchestration and no cuts on a period instrument. He is also the recipient of a Diapason d'Or from Compact (the French Grammy) and a 10 du Rèpertoire. The latter has also placed his Boccherini recordings in their "Great Discoveries" category, which they deem as essential to any classical music collection. He has been a featured guest on numerous national and international television and radio programs such as NPR, PBS and CBC and CBS, and has been chosen three times as the Global Hit on the Public Radio International/BBC program The World most recently in 2016 to celebrate the release of his cd What Artemisia Heard, Music from the Time of Caravaggio and Gentileschi. This cd surveys the life of the great 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi through music. He has also created concert programs and cds on the lives of Francisco Goya and Peter Paul Rubens. In December 2016 he was asked by the Leiden Collection in New York to create a series 20 of soundtracks to accompany videos describing the world's largest collection of privately held Rembrandts, the only private Vermeer and dozens of additional paintings by other great Dutch masters.

Mr. Savino has toured and recorded with some of the world's most important performers including Joyce Di Donato, Monica Huggett, Stephanie Chase, Chanticleer, and Paul Hillier. And as a continuo player has performed as principal with groups such as the Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Opera, West Edge Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. He has also guest directed the Aston Magna Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Ensemble Rebel and Milano Classical Chamber Orchestra. From 1986-98 Mr. Savino directed the CSU Summer Arts Guitar and Lute Institute. Presently he is director of the ensemble El Mundo.

An avid writer, Mr. Savino has composed all of his cd notes and had articles and editions published by Cambridge University Press, Editions Chantarelle and Indiana University Press. He is presently a Professor of Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and at Sacramento State University where he has been the only music professor to receive "outstanding and exceptional" and "best" sabbatical awards. Mr. Savino instructors have included Andres Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, Eliot Fisk, Albert Fuller and Jerry Willard. He received his Doctorate from SUNY at Stony Brook. For more information go to:

Violinist Kurt Johnson is currently in his 15th season as a member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Before joining the HSO, he was a recipient of the Civic/Northwestern String Fellowship and held the concertmaster position of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two seasons. Kurt received his undergraduate degree in music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his master's degree from Northwestern University. His teachers have included Marilyn McDonald, Rachel Barton Pine, Gerardo Ribeiro and David Taylor. Kurt has performed with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. He performs frequently with Ars Lyrica and the Houston Bach Society. Kurt resides in the Heights with his wife, flutist Colleen Matheu Johnson, their two kids Allegra and Luke and their newly adopted dog Lulu.

The "Crumhorn Collective" was founded in 2009 as a completely student-run renaissance band based at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. They have since gathered a sizable following through frequent outreach performances, concerts at private events, and lecture recitals, all performed on combinations of crumhorns, recorders, bagpipes, cornemuses, shawms, dulcian, viols, hurdy-gurdy, sackbut, cornetti, lute, and percussion.

With their impressive arsenal of instruments and exceptionally energetic and interactive programs, the group has gained extensive outreach experience in many of Houston's public schools, as well as at Ars Lyrica events and in concert at the Miller Outdoor Theater and The Centrum. In 2010 they were awarded a Richter grant for music outreach, performed at Rice University's McMurtry College Dedication, and were honored to premier a piece written for them by renowned composer Karim Al-Zand. The Crumhorn Collective is delighted to continue their relationship with Ars Lyrica Houston as their Resident Young Artist Ensemble this season.

Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston is a Texas-based ensemble that performs world-class Baroque music on period instruments.

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