Houston Baroque: Handel Secular Cantatas, featuring Megan Stapleton, Soprano

Houston Baroque: Handel Secular Cantatas, featuring Megan Stapleton, Soprano

Estates Photography


Past Event
Freewill offering

Location Info:

First Evangelical Lutheran Church
1311 Holman St.
Houston, Tx  77004
[Organizer's description:] Houston Baroque concludes its third season, "Landmarks," highlighting the incomparable Megan Stapleton in a few of Handel's secular cantatas for soprano, two violins, and basso continuo.

Violinist Alan Austin performs regularly as a chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral player. He has served as concertmaster of Ars Lyrica Houston, Houston’s J.S. Bach Society (for over 20 years), Texas Bach Collegium (San Antonio), and has performed with the Texas Baroque Ensemble, Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Denver, Dallas Bach Society, Mercury Baroque, Early Music Southwest, La follia (Austin), and Texas Early Music Project (Austin). He is adjunct instructor of Baroque violin at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. He has been a featured guest performer at Early Music Weekend at Roundtop and the Amherst Early Music Festival, as well as on many recital series throughout the Southwest. He performs regularly on Austin’s St. Cecelia Music Series, including the annual Baroque Festival, held each November. Austin has performed with such Baroque luminaries as violinists Simon Standage and Manfredo Kramer, cellists Phoebe Carrai and Jonathan Manson, oboist Geoffrey Burgess, singers Julianne Baird and Ryland Angel, and conductor Nicolas McGegan.
A founding member of Ars Lyrica Houston, he has performed with the group and artistic director Matthew Dirst in concerts ranging from solo recitals to fully staged Baroque opera productions. In 2011, the group was a Grammy Award finalist for its recording of Johann Adolf Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra.
He has recorded for the Dorian, Zephyr, Gothic, Sono Luminos, and MSR Classics labels, and plays on a Bernardo Calcanius violin made in Genoa, c. 1740. In addition to performing, Alan Austin is the General and Artistic Director of the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival, a series of summer training programs centered around one of the premier Orchestral Institutes in the US.

Bruce Brogdon teaches English and music at Houston Community College. Bruce studied classical guitar at the University of St. Thomas and his interest in early music led him to take up the lute. He has studied privately and in master classes with Paul O’Dette, Nigel North, and Pat O’Brien. A former board member of the Lute Society of America, Bruce currently serves on the board of Guitar Houston. Bruce has performed with the University of Texas and University of Houston Collegiums, Texas Baroque Ensemble, the Green Mountain Consort, the Houston Baroque Ensemble, the Texas Early Music Project, Austin Baroque Orchestra, Aquinas, (formerly the resident ensemble of the University of St. Thomas), La Follia Austin Baroque, Mercury Baroque, and Ars Lyrica Houston. He teaches lute at the Texas Early Music Festival as well as being the accompanist for the lute song and continuo song classes.

Bulgarian-born violinist Nadia Lesinska has garnered an exceptional career spanning continents and genres. As a specialist in baroque violin technique, Nadia performs throughout the country, and is a frequent guest with Ars Lyrica Houston, Bach Society Houston, Mercury Baroque, and Viols of Houston. She can be heard on five commercial recordings, including Handel’s Op.6 Concerti Grossi, Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico, and Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes with Mercury Baroque, Colonna’s Psalmi ad Vesperas with the Houston Chamber Choir, and Ars Lyrica’s GRAMMY-nominated recording of Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra. As a modern violinist, Nadia’s credits include the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Los Angeles Pops Orchestra, and San Juan Capistrano Symphony. An active recitalist and chamber musician, Nadia can be heard throughout the year in her own concert series and as a collaborator with many of Houston’s top musicians. In addition to classical music, Nadia is also a frequent jazz violinist and fiddler. A graduate of Chapman University, Nadia’s teachers included Paul Manaster and Todor Pelev. She received her period performance training from Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute and from studies with Jann Cosart, Marc Destrube, Marilyn McDonald, and Cynthia Roberts. Nadia resides in Houston with her husband, viola da gamba player Jordan Witherspoon.

Patrick Parker is a composer, organist, harpsichordist, and pianist based in Houston, Texas. Highly regarded for his interpretations of German Romantic composers, Patrick has been noted for his "excellent technique and musicality" and "strong rhythmic lines and expressive phrasing...superlative (Classical Voice of North Carolina)." Initially compelled by the music of J.S. Bach, Patrick established Houston Baroque in 2014. Now in its third season, Houston Baroque consists of a core quintet of professional period-instrument singers and instrumentalists with occasional guests. The ensemble has performed chamber vocal and instrumental music of many of the major Baroque composers in over twenty concerts throughout Texas. This dynamic young group of friends has been featured in various publications and developed non-profit status. The musicians of Houston Baroque are currently recording their debut album, My Soul Sees and Hears!, on the Raven label. The disc features arias, cantatas, and solo organ works by Buxtehude and Handel. Houston Baroque’s third season takes the group to national and international early music festivals, as well as its hometown subscription series.
Patrick is also Minister of Music and Organist at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church and School. At Holy Comforter, he implemented the monthly Choral Evensong services, Choral Scholars program, concert series, a Royal School of Church Music in America-based Voice for Life children's choir, and is overseeing the installation of a new organ by Pasi Organ Builders, Inc. As a young dramatic tenor, Patrick enjoys using his voice in choral rehearsals and worship. He previously served at major churches in Houston and Cleveland, Ohio.
As a concert organist, Patrick's current projects include: a solo recording of the complete organ works of Jan Albertus van Eyken, world premieres of several compositions, and performing the complete organ works of Buxtehude, Liszt, and Messiaen. In 2015, Patrick resided in Leipzig and performed on historic organs throughout France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States. He holds degrees from Cleveland Institute of Music and University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate in Organ Performance in the Moores School of Music at University of Houston. He has served in various teaching roles at University of Houston, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, and Houston Community College. Patrick's repertoire spans six centuries and ten nations, including the complete solo organ works of Bach, Brahms, Schumann, and others. He freely moves through various eras and nations of Western art music according to which musical language speaks to him during a particular season of life. His perspective has been most influenced by his teachers--Robert Bates, Matthew Dirst, and Todd Wilson--as well as the great Messiaen interpreter, Jon Gillock.
Above all, Patrick is grateful for a life well spent in music of the highest caliber--the greatest musical thoughts which have been handed down from musician to musician over centuries, which he gets to recreate on a daily basis--music which has the power to comfort, heal, and sustain (www.patrickaaronparker.com).

Soprano Megan Stapleton “has a crystalline, ethereal voice. She sings purely and seemingly effortlessly…” (Broadwayworld.com). Megan has performed with Houston Grand Opera, Mercury – The Orchestra Redefined, Houston Baroque, Ars Lyrica, Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, Houston’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Ensemble Correnti, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Metro Opera and Boston Opera Collaborative. Megan holds degrees with honors from New England Conservatory and Sam Houston State University (www.meganstapleton.com).

Gambist Jordan Witherspoon is a frequent soloist, chamber musician, and continuo player with early music ensembles in Houston and beyond. Recent engagements include Ars Lyrica, Bach Society Houston, Golden West Early Music Ensemble, Mercury Baroque, Musikanten Montana, and Viols of Houston. As an active recitalist, Jordan can be heard performing throughout the year with his wife, baroque violinist Nadia Lesinska. Originally trained as a double bassist, Jordan received his music education from Chapman University, Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and from studies with Mary Springfels and Sarah Mead. He has performed in master classes with Catharina Meints, Siegfried Pank, John Mark Rozendaal, Kenneth Slowik, and the musicians of Fretwork. Jordan performs on a 7-string Tielke-model viol by Dominik Zuchowicz and a 6-string division viol by Jacques Camurat.
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