houston early music FESTIVAL! — a week of early music and more

Second Annual Houston Early Music Festival

Houston Early Music Festival

  • Visit the HEMF Web Site (videos featuring local artists publicising the festival will be featured on the website)

Ars Lyrica Houston, Bach Society Houston, Houston Early Music and Mercury – The Orchestra Redefined will host the second annual Houston Early Music Festival (HEMF) from February 8-16, 2014 at venues across the city. The festival will feature four main-stage performances, two ancillary performances and four lectures.  

Festival LogoFeatured HEMF soloists include a number of local and international early-music experts and recording artists including Grammy–nominated conductor Matthew Dirst; Dresden music scholar and conductor, Peter Kopp; Texas-based vocalists Meredith Ruduski, Randall Umstead and Timothy Jones; Canadian soprano Meghan Lindsay; internationally renowned countertenors John Holiday, Jay Carter, and Ryland Angel; British harpsichordist Richard Egarr; and the UK-based ensemble Orlando Consort.

Festival OrganizationsThe combined efforts of four distinctive and innovative early music organizations will provide an excellent educational platform and multiple opportunities to bring greater awareness to Houston’s extraordinarily diverse and robust arts scene. 



Saturday, February 8, 2014, 8 pm | Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Sposa dei Cantici (Ars Lyrica Houston) The modern world premiere of a 1703 oratorio. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center. Tickets: www. arslyricahouston.org or 713-315-2525

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 7:30 pm | The Orlando Consort (Houston Early Music)
“Forward to the Past: 25 years with the Orlando Consort” | Medieval and Renaissance vocal works. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center. Tickets are available online from the Hobby Center Box Office or by phone (713) 315-2525. 

Friday, February 14, 2014, 8 pm | Complete Brandenburg Concertos (Mercury Orchestra) Featuring world-renowned harpsichordist Richard Egarr. Wortham Center, Cullen Theater. Tickets and information: www.mercuryhouston.org or 713-533-0080

Sunday, February 16, 2014, 6 pm | J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor (Bach Society Houston) Bach’s monumental masterpiece directed by Dresden baroque specialist Peter Kopp, with Bach Choir Houston and Mercury. Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center. Tickets and information: www.bachsocietyhouston.org or 713-315-2525


Sunday, February 9, 2014, 6 pm | Bach’s Eighteen “Leipzig” Chorales, an organ recital by Stefan Bleicher and Mario Hospach Martini, presented by the Bach Society Houston. Christ the King Lutheran Church. A FREE-WILL DONATION ACCEPTED.

Sat, Feb 15 at 7:30 pm | “Portraits of Love,” a chamber program featuring tenor Daniel Mutlu, harpsichordist Matthew Dirst and others, presented by Ars Lyrica and Music at St. Philip. St. Philip Presbyterian Church. FREE WITH FESTIVAL PASS.  Individual tickets available at the door: $10, Information: www.saintphilip.net/Music.html


Individual tickets to concerts available through respective organizations. 
Discounted Festival Passes available via phone at 713-533-0080.
All five concerts: $120 – save up to $90  |  Pick 3:  $90 – save up to $75  |  Best Available Seating.

Click to Purchase Festival Passes

2014 HEMF LECTURES – Center Stage in Houston: Early Music

Houston Early Music Festival is proud to collaborate with the Houston Seminar on a series of educational lectures entitled “Center Stage in Houston: Early Music.”  The Houston Seminar, founded in 1977, is a non-profit organization devoted to stimulating learning and cultural awareness.

A Pulitzer Prizenominated Bach biographer and a Grammy-nominated artistic director will be among the speakers in this Houston Seminar series celebrating the second Houston Early Music Festival. The speakers will preview the music to be performed at the festival, which spans four centuries of Western music from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque. They will explain the phenomenon known as HIP—historically informed performancewith its use of period instruments and styles.

Center Stage in Houston: Early Music will take place on January 14, 21 and 30 and February 6 from 7 – 8:30 pm at Christ the King Lutheran Hall (Parish Hall), located at 2353 Rice Blvd. (at Greenbriar Dr.) 
Parking is available at Rice Stadium lot, Entrance 13A from Greenbriar or Entrance 16 from Rice Blvd.  ($1 charge; credit card required).

Tuesday, January 14 — Critics’ Circle  

Public radio’s St. John Flynn will lead a panel discussion by current and former Houston music critics Steven Brown, Charles Ward and Carl Cunningham. They will discuss why early music seems so compelling globally and locally and will describe the organizations that are leading the movement in Houston.

Tuesday, January 21 — Early Masters

Gregory Barnett is co-director of the Collegium Musicum and chair of musicology in the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. He will explore both the connecting threads and the distinguishing traits found in works by Guillaume de Machaut and Josquin Desprez, the respective masters of medieval and Renaissance vocal polyphony.

(Houston Early Music presents the Orlando Consort, February 11)

 Thursday, January 30 — Baroque Musical Theater

Matthew Dirst will explore Baroque opera and oratorio and introduce Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera La Sposa dei Cantici, which will receive its modern world premiere in Houston. He will conclude the evening by playing music by Domenico Scarlatti, son of Alessandro, on the harpsichord.   

(Ars Lyrica Houston presents La Sposa dei Cantici, February 8)

 Thursday, February 6 — Christoph Wolff: Defining Bach the Composer

What do Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concertos and the B-Minor Mass have in common? On the surface, they could not be more different—one a group of instrumental compositions for courtly entertainment and the other a monumental vocal work of sacred character. Today’s leading Bach scholar, Christoph Wolff, will delve into how these works reveal Bach’s ambitions, goals and gifts.

(Mercury Orchestra presents the complete Brandenburg Concertos, February 14; Bach Society presents Mass in B Minor, February 16)

Christoph Wolff’s lecture is underwritten by the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association. 

Registration for Center Stage in Houston: Early Music

Regular admission: $95 for four sessions, $25 for one session; Houston Early Music Festival ticket holders receive $10 discount per session (limited availability). Student admission $10 for one session.  Register online after December 15, 2013 at www.houstonseminar.org, or reserve a place by calling the Houston Seminar
at (713) 666-9000. 

Read or download  HEMF 2014 Press Release