UH Music Professor Matthew Dirst Among Grammy Nominees

The 2010 Grammy nominees were announced this week, and a University of Houston professor is among the esteemed musicians up for the golden gramophone trophy.

Matthew Dirst, associate professor of musicology at UH's Moores School of Music (MSM), and his ensemble Ars Lyrica Matthew DirstHouston received a nomination for Best Opera Recording for Johann Adolf Hasse's "Marc Antonio e Cleopatra" on the Dorian Sono Luminus label.

This is the first nomination for Dirst and Ars Lyrica, the vocal and instrumental ensemble he founded in 1998 at UH. In 2003, it was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization. Ars Lyrica performs regularly at Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

He learned of the Grammy nod through text messages from colleagues who worked with him on "Marc Antonio e Cleopatra."

"I am stunned, delighted and very grateful," Dirst said. "The competition in this category is world class. We're honored to be in such amazing company."

Competing with Dirst and Ars Lyrica for the Best Opera Recording prizes are the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestra Of The Mariinsky Theatre and the BBC National Orchestra Of Wales.

 "A project such as the Hasse opera could not have happened without Matthew's vision and guidance," said David White, director of the Moores School of Music. "His impressive musicological insight and superb abilities as a performing musician give him the edge over most who are active in the performance of early music today."

In addition to Dirst, another Moores musician participated in "Marc Antonio e Cleopatra." Alan Austin, who directs the annual Texas Music Festival, plays violin on the recording.

 At UH's Moores School of Music, Dirst teaches music history and performance practice. He also directs the school's Collegium Musicum, an ensemble specializing in music dating from the Middle Ages through the 18th Century.

An accomplished organist and harpsichordist, Dirst has performed around the world. To learn more about Dirst and his work at UH's Moores School of Music, visit his online biography. For more details on Ars Lyrica, visit http://www.arslyricahouston.org/.

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be presented on Feb. 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For more details, visit http://www.grammy.com/.