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Matthew Dirst

Keyboard Conductor, harpischord and organ
Matthew Dirst is the first American musician to win major international prizes in both organ and harpsichord, including first prize at the American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition (1990) and second prize at the Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition (1993). Noted for his stylish playing of Baroque music in particular, Dirst recently attracted national attention for his "extremely taut and accurate" (New York Sun) traversals of Bach's "Goldberg Variations, in performances that had "irresistible rhythmic impulse and dazzling virtuosity" (Dallas Morning News). His work on the podium is similarly praised for the "brilliance and depth" (Houston Chronicle) he elicits from players and singers.

As Artistic Director of Ars Lyrica Houston, Dirst "sets the agenda for imaginative period instrument programming in Houston," according to the Houston Chronicle. His recordings with Ars Lyrica include a Naxos International CD devoted to vocal and instrumental chamber works of Alessandro Scarlatti, and the world première recording of Johann Adolph Hasse's Marc'Antonio e Cleopatra on the Sono Luminus label. The latter recording was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Opera 2011.

Dirst also serves as Associate Professor of Music at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music and Organist at St Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston. His degrees include a PhD in musicology from Stanford University and the prix de virtuosité in both organ and harpsichord from the French National Conservatory, where he spent two years as a Fulbright scholar. His publications on the music of J. S. Bach and its reception include a recent book from Cambridge University Press entitled Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn.


Guest soloist
Vocalist & Dancers