Summer Solstice Morning Observance: Contemplation in Light

Summer Solstice Morning Observance: Contemplation in Light
Free with suggested contribution $5-20, masks encouraged

Contemplation in Light offers a moment of meditation and reflection in observance of the Summer Solstice. This program will include ancient music of the ninth through twelfth centuries performed by the programs’ co-curators mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and percussionist Jesús Pacheco. The experience will begin with Gregorian chant from the ninth and tenth centuries, bringing inner peace and space for meditation, and will continue with the music of Hildegard von Bingen, a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath in the twelfth century. The selected pieces highlight vocal lines of chant with added percussion instruments such as gongs, bells, vibraphone, and drums. With a program of both continuous sound and periods of silence, join us for a moment of mysticism, spirituality, meditation, and contemplation with an immersive music experience where all faiths are welcome.

About the performers
Spanish percussionist Jesús Pacheco was born in Jerez de la Frontera. Jesús graduated from Sevilla’s Conservatory of Music in 2010. During his years in Sevilla, he acquired extensive orchestral experience as a percussionist and timpanist, and he performed with many orchestras, ensembles, and chamber groups across Europe. Jesús was selected as a student at the Academy of Orchestral Studies Baremboim-Said where he was mentored by Berlin Staatskapelle's timpanist Torsten Schönfeld.In 2007 he entered the Festivalensemble Orchestra in Stuttgart, directed by Helmut Rilling, with whom he later worked at the Stuttgarter Bachakademie Orchestra. He has also been the timpanist with the West-Eastern Divan, directed by Daniel Barenboim. In 2012, Jesús moved to Houston, Texas, where he’s been very active as a performer and music educator, often playing with local ensembles such as Ars Lyrica Houston and Mercury Chamber Orchestra, amongst others.

Soloist in a Grammy-winning recording of the complete choral works of Maurice Duruflé and praised by the New York Times as “a creamy voiced mezzo-soprano," Cecilia Duarte is a versatile singer who specializes in early music and contemporary opera. Role premieres include Renata in the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (Houston Grand Opera and other national and international venues), Renata in El Milagro del Recuerdo (HGO), and Alma in the opera web series Star Cross’d (HGO). Cecy is a regular singer with Ars Lyrica Houston and Mercury Houston, a vocalist of the Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, and most recently she debuted with the Boston Early Music Festival. Future engagements include Handel’s Messiah in a Spanish-language adaptation with Bach Collegium San Diego and world premieres of music with ROCO Houston, Apollo Chamber Players, and Kaleidoscope, as well as the release of her first solo album, Reencuentros (Reference Recordings).

About Ars Lyrica Houston
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. Ars Lyrica’s acclaimed 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 concert series because of its distinctive focus, and its pioneering efforts in the field of authentic performance have won international acclaim, including a Grammy nomination for Best Opera.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
8:00 AM

Program Notes