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Ars Lyrica's Wide-Ranging Collaborations Inspire New Audiences

Ars Lyrica's Wide-Ranging Collaborations Inspire New Audiences

Ars Lyrica Houston, the Grammy-nominated early music ensemble, is delivering on its mission to create contemporary context for the expressive power of early music. Bringing inventive programs to diverse communities takes more than passion and imagination: it takes partnership. Specially trained artists are using music as a tool for healing, inclusion, education, and inspiration with organizations including The Children's Museum of Houston, Spring Street Studios, Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas Children's Hospital, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. Reaching more than 75,000 Houstonians annually, Ars Lyrica's bespoke programming, created with the generosity and support of CKW LUXE, is tailored to meet the needs of specific audiences around the city.

Emma Wine, coordinator of outreach programs for ALH, is thrilled because, "Kids can experience classical music not only with their eyes and ears, but they get to use their imaginations to see themselves as children 400 years ago. Instead of being transported through the screen of an Ipad or computer, they use their senses including perception as they link the music to their own experiences and emotions." Extending the impact of classical music is just the first of many layers. With Resounding Recorder, an MD Anderson music therapist is working with an ALH recorder artist to improve diaphragmatic breathing and respiration performance for pediatric cancer patients. They learn basic music skills, do an activity that helps them feel comfortable in the hospital environment, while simultaneously working on respiration and breathing. Additionally, each patient receives their own recorder, recorder method book, and a music storybook that they can keep after the musician visit. With Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine, Ars Lyrica artists perform concerts in main lobbies like the Crain Garden in order to build community and social interaction, encouraging patients to leave their rooms by giving them sounds and textures rarely heard outside the concert hall.

In schools and at community venues, Harp History teaches students about not only music and musical history, but geography, world history and culture and social studies. Harpist Therese Honey's calm, inquisitive demeanor encourages participation and connection in every student. Songs from the Heart, a bilingual program taught by Spanish-speaking artists, connects Latin-American history and music to students' emotions and experiences in the modern world. This programming is more than the music itself: it is about the relationship between the artists and the listeners. No matter the age or ability of the audience, Ars Lyrica artists have the training and experience to customize the experience to the listener.

As the most diverse city in the United States as well as its fourth-largest city, Houston's communities require the support of distinct arts programming that engages with them directly. Ars Lyrica's community outreach allows artists to present early music while breaking the barrier between performer and audience member. These programs allow time for not only reflection and listening, but also an opportunity for audience members to ask questions of, interact with, and connect with musicians in a more personal way than the traditional concert experience provides. The performances spark the imagination and create a focus on contemplation, meditation, and reflection for audiences.

Don't miss Ars Lyrica's free outreach programs with something for everyone!

The Children's Museum of Houston hosts a sensory friendly day on December 9th for children with ASD and sensory processing differences. Free to museum members, $5 for non-members. required through Lydia Dungus at (713) 535-7238.

The Heights Kids Day of Music takes place on March 28th from 10 am - 2 pm (

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