With J.S. Bach cantatas as bookends, the concert helps illustrate why Parker is spearheading the ensemble. After spending four years learning and performing all Bach's organ works, he hopes to become even closer to the prolific Baroque master. -Houston Chronicle
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.
Katie Clark, mezzo-soprano, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in vocal pedagogy at the University of Memphis. She has sung as a soloist with Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Houston Young Artist Collective, Houston Baroque, and Memphis Youth Symphony Orchestra. Katie recently performed as Frau Reich in Otto Niccolai's Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor (University of Memphis). In April 2015, she performed in Carnegie Hall's Spem in Alium Project with the Tallis Scholars. Katie sings with Tennessee Chamber Chorus, Opera Memphis (chorus), Rhodes MasterSingers Chorale, Memphis Women's Chorus, and the choirs at Church of the Holy Communion. In the summer of 2016, she participated in the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco.
Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, flutist Alaina Diehl is currently pursuing her doctorate in performance at the University of Houston. Alaina made her Baroque debut in 2010 at the Victoria Bach Festival in Victoria, Texas, performing with the Victoria Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra. She has since performed several chamber music recitals on traverso in New Mexico (Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Madrid, Los Alamos) and at the National Flute Association annual convention in New Orleans.
As an orchestral flutist, Alaina performs regularly on modern flute with the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra. She has also performed on flute, piccolo, and/or alto flute with the Santa Fe Symphony, Opera Southwest Albuquerque, New Mexico Philharmonic, San Juan Symphony (Durango, CO), Festival Ballet Albuquerque, the Figueroa Project, and the 2011 New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players Pacific Coast Tour. She performed as a soloist with Santa Fe’s Canticum Novum in Cimarosa’s Concerto for two flutes. D.S. Crafts from the Albuquerque Journal described the performance as “a romp through bright Italian sunshine.” Alaina has a Bachelor of Music from Oklahoma City University, a Master of Music from the University of New Mexico, and studied at The Flute Studio of Trevor Wye in Kent, England.
Soprano Julia Fox excels in opera, concert, chamber, and new music realms, and is known for her “vibrant” performances (Gramophone) and “great sound” (Marketing for Orchestras).
A graduate of Amherst College, Ms. Fox apprenticed with the Brentano String Quartet and Peabody Trio, and was a recent Stern Fellow with SongFest Los Angeles and Young Artist Fellow with Da Camera of Houston. “Fox is at her best” hailed Opera News for her portrayal of the heroine in Lewis Spratlan’s multi-media opera Architect, released through Navona Records and screened at festivals in New York, Dallas, Chicago, and Milan.
Ms. Fox has been presented locally and internationally by the Banff Centre, A Prairie Home Companion, Mercury: the orchestra redefined, Empire Opera, Foundation for Modern Music, 47 Strings, Greenbriar Consortium, enCANTA collective, Concordia University, Midland Opera Theatre, Music at St. Philip, Grace Song Inc., Texas A&M University, Imperial Arts, the Museums of Fine Arts of Houston and Dallas, Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, Young Audiences of Houston, and Opera Leggera (www.juliafoxsoprano.com).
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, Austin Baroque, Bach Society Houston, Houston Baroque, 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 (www.nadialesinska.com).
Highly regarded for interpretations of German Romantic composers, Patrick Parker 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 (www.houstonbaroque.org) in 2014. Now in its third season, Landmarks, Houston Baroque is a quintet of professional period instrumentalists and singers with occasional guests. This year the group travels to national and international early music festivals and offers a hometown subscription series.
Patrick was recently appointed Minister of Music and Organist at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles, Louisiana. At Good Shepherd, Patrick will serve in Sunday morning worship; oversee renovation of the organ; and implement monthly Choral Evensong services, a concert series, and the children’s choir.
In concert, Patrick is currently performing the complete organ works of Buxtehude, Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Messiaen. He has performed at major venues such as St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City); St. Cecilia Cathedral (Omaha); Co-Cathedral (Houston); Trinity Cathedral (Cleveland); Nieuwe Kerke (Amsterdam); Auferstehungskirche and Michaeliskirche (Leipzig); and Michaeliskirche (Hamburg). His repertoire spans six centuries and ten nations, including the complete solo organ works of Bach, Brahms, van Eijken, Reincken, Reubke, and Schumann.
As a recording artist, Patrick partners with Raven. On this label, he can be heard on Houston Baroque's debut album, My Soul sees and Hears!, which features vocal chamber music and solo organ works by Buxtehude and Handel. Raven will also release Patrick's solo debut, a two-disc set of the complete organ works of van Eijken on the Pasi organ at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. Previous recordings include albums published by Texas Music Festival as well as Liminal, a solo organ recording featuring works from four centuries.
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 will soon hold the Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance at University of Houston. He has served in various teaching roles at University of Houston, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, and Houston Community College. His perspective has been influenced by his teachers—Robert Bates, Matthew Dirst, and Todd Wilson—and especially by 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.