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Ars Lyrica:

New Year’s Eve Celebration 2017


Photo credit: Annie Mulligan and Pin Lim for Ars Lyrica Houston

Ars Lyrica rang in the New Year in style with its annual New Year’s Eve Celebration. This is always Ars Lyrica’s most popular event of the year, and with good reason. The evening began with the seated dinner at Artista, continued with the New Year’s in Berlin concert at Zilkha Hall, and concluded with the German cabaret-themed gala at the Founders Club in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

The evening’s concert, New Year’s Eve in Berlin, part of the Artful Women series, spirited its audience away to Sara Itzig Levy’s 18th-century Berlin salon. Here she entertained the leading literary and musical figures of the day. Guests included the likes of her grandnephew, Felix Mendelssohn, and Bach’s oldest sons. Inspired by this important musical muse, the program includes several works from her legendary collection, including a Wilhelm Friedemann Bach flute concerto and a Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach double concerto for fortepiano and harpsichord. Levy, an accomplished musician in her own right, played a solo part at the latter’s 1788 première. Featured soloists were Mario Aschauer on fortepiano and Colin St-Martin on traverso, a side-blown flute. The artists were met with a standing ovation at the completion of their exceptional performance.

Guests entering the Founders Club for the gala that followed the concert were delighted to find it transformed with a red and low-light ambience. Free-flowing Champagne and a variety of delicious bites enhanced their pleasure throughout the evening. The highlight of the gala was an authentic live German cabaret performance by mezzo-soprano Sonja Bruzauskas who was accompanied by piano and accordion. Sixto Wagan emceed the lively event. The evening’s honoree was Kathryn Godfrey. At midnight everyone joined together for a traditional A Capella rendition of Auld Lang Syne led by Ars Lyrica Artistic Director, Matthew Dirst.

CKW LUXE is proud to be the media sponsor for Ars Lyrica.

Guests: Matthew Dirst, Kathryn Godfrey, Connie Kwan-Wong, Jano and John Kelley, the Grusnis family, Farida Abjani, Teresa and Bill Reading, Ann Thompson and Maurice Isaac, Carlos Sierra and Michelle Stair, John Lemen, Brendan Godfrey, Richard and Eleanor Viebig, Dorry Shaddock, and Jeanie Flowers.

About Ars Lyrica

Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston presents a diverse array of music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. Its local subscription series, according to the Houston Chronicle, “sets the agenda” for early music in Houston. The company also appears regularly at major festivals and conferences. Ars Lyrica’s distinctive programming favors Baroque dramatic and chamber works, and its pioneering efforts have won international acclaim. The ensemble’s world première recording of Johann Adolf Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra, hailed by “Early Music America” as “a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Opera 2011.

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