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Volume 70, Issue 64, Friday, November 19, 2004


Moores taps into the French Baroque

Collegium Musicum offers a historically accurate program

By Karen Klucznik
The Daily Cougar

The Moores School of Music will blend old and new French Baroque, pieces including Marc-Antoine Charpentier's opera Acéton today in a performance.

"This is an extraordinarily beautiful piece -- one which incorporates tuneful melodies with great ensembles," Director of Collegium Musicum Matthew Dirst said. "There is dancing as well, of the modern variety, although we're using period instruments."

Dirst started the Collegium Musicum in 1996 with a group of students, local singers and musicians interested in ensemble music from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. Their goal is to play the pieces similar to the way they were originally performed.

ARS Lyrica Houston, a group of professional musicians who specialize in baroque chamber and stage works, will be the pit orchestra in tonight's show. Members play specialty instruments like the baroque violin, viola da gamba, violone, harpsichord and lute.

Dirst said Collegium Musicum will also perform French baroque cantatas and a violin sonata, involving both current and former Moores School students.

"Because the Moores School is a big opera school, we are able to do a lot of baroque stage pieces, and the Moores Opera House is a perfect baroque-sized theater as well," he said.

Dirst, also an assistant music professor, has been at UH since 1996. He was the first American musician to win major international prizes in organ and harpsichord. He also won first prize at the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in 1990 and second at the inaugural Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition in 1996.

Dirst has been a solo and chamber player and has performed with symphonies in Houston, El Paso and Marin, Calif. He is writing a book, Bach & the Public Sphere: Early Advocacy of Keyboard Works, due next year.

The Dance Theatre Ensemble will perform six dances during the opera part of tonight's program.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. today in the Moores Opera House. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 general admission. For more information, call (713) 743-3313.

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