Matthew Dirst, recently described in the Washington Post as an “efficient, extremely precise conductor who has an ear for detail,” is the first American musician to win major international prizes in both organ and harpsichord, including the American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition and the Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition. Widely admired for his stylish playing and conducting, Dirst leads Ars Lyrica Houston, a period-instrument ensemble with several acclaimed recordings, one of which—J. A. Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra—was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Opera. His degrees include a PhD in musicology from Stanford University and the prix de virtuosité in both organ and harpsichord from the Conservatoire National de Reuil-Malmaison, France, where he spent two years as a Fulbright scholar. Equally active as a scholar and as an organist, Dirst is Professor of Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, and Organist at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston. His publications include Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Bach and the Organ (University of Illinois Press, 2016).
Matthew Dirst is the featured artist in “A Bach Keyboard Extravaganza” premiering on YouTube on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. Pacific. To join the post-concert Zoom Q&A party with the Festival’s artistic director Elizabeth Blumenstock and Matthew Dirst immediately after the premiere streaming, at 8:00 p.m. that evening, please ensure we have your email address on our mailing list so we can send you the Zoom link. Contact us here.