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Music Speaks Volumes In Ars Lyrica's New Outreach Programs

The ensemble offers customized learning opportunities including interactive and online musical experiences.

Music Speaks Volumes In Ars Lyrica's New Outreach Programs

Ars Lyrica Houston, the Grammy-nominated early music ensemble, announces new outreach programs in multiple languages with a focus on literacy: Musical Storytime Series, the bilingual Orígenes, and Musical Detectives.

Following through on their promise to create content that makes music, literacy, and learning accessible to their widest audience yet, the ensemble offers customized learning opportunities including interactive and online musical experiences tailored to specific modalities and age groups. Their unique voice combining social emotional learning with their commitment to demystifying the world of early music for audiences of all ages is evident in their body of online programming:

Musical Storytime debuted in May and reached thousands of viewers with its original soundtrack, Spanish/English narration, and captivating presentation. The stories of the series are brought to life by an array of talented artists and musicians who represent the diverse community of Houston. Executive Director, Kinga Ferguson, knew from inception that these musical adventures would have a significant impact. "We are already at work on more episodes in Spanish, as well as in Russian and Hebrew, to reflect the multicultural composition of our city." Released in January, the German/English Pied Piper of Hamelin makes the second in a series of planned episodes. Sonja Bruzauskas, Board Vice President and mother of the talented young soprano and narrator, shares that "Just like the music, folk stories play an important part in Germany's cultural tradition." In addition to the natural combination of music and stories, organic partnerships are formed that strengthen the fabric of the community.

Listen to Musical Storytime: The Pied Piper of Hamelin in German and English with Clara Haymon, sopranoand narrator and Kathleen Staten, recorder

Listen to Musical Storytime: A Boy Named Giotto in Spanish and English with Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-sopranoand Jesús Pacheco, percussion

A highly sought after $10,000 Innovation in Action grant from partner organization Arts Connect Houston backs Musical Detectives, a listening and learning adventure. Arts Connect Houston works to ensure that all students in Houston ISD have access to quality arts education by supporting arts and culture partners to create new, inventive and responsive arts programs. Emma Wine, Operations and Outreach Manager, says "'Musical detective' has a double-meaning: early music performers and scholars are musical detectives, studying art, history, and first-person texts and accounts that inform their practices. We can also be musical detectives by following clues to learn how to better understand our own emotions and the emotions of others. Baroque music is perfectly suited to the task with its emphasis on expression and the human experience, and there has never been a greater need for our children to understand and express their emotions." Musical Detectives will be available in early March for HISD teachers through the Hub, which is a free resource for teachers to find content.

Orígenes highlights Spanish and Latin American cultures in a bilingual mini-concert and presentation with singing and percussion. Along with featuring mainstage artists and native Spanish speakers Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-soprano and Jesús Pacheco, percussion, Orígenes is accompanied by instructional lessons in subjects including History, Social Studies, Art, Math, Language Arts, and Science. Educational Consultant Kathleen Staten has designed cross-curricular programming for several organizations including the British International School and brings years of classroom experience to the endeavor. "Music comes to life when it has relevance and context. We are creating an easy to use and effective learning experience that uses music as the keystone." Orígenes is available for schools and community venues to purchase, and scholarships are also available.

For more information on Ars Lyrica's Virtual Education Suite, please visit their website:

Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston presents a diverse array of music in its original context while creating connections to contemporary life. Intelligent programming features neglected gems alongside familiar masterworks, and extracts the dramatic potential, emotional resonance, and expressive power of music. Its local subscription series, according to the Houston Chronicle, "sets the agenda" for early music in Houston. Ars Lyrica appears regularly at international festivals and conferences because of its distinctive focus, and its pioneering efforts in the field of authentic performance have won international acclaim.

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