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  The Art of Business
Quarterly Luncheon Series in Houston

This series was born of a desire to provide Houston's business professionals with a forum in which to showcase their personal passion for arts-related projects while sharing a scrumptious meal with like-minded individuals.  The events are open to everyone, with reservations handled through the French American Chamber of Commerce. 



For our most recent Art of Business luncheon on  May 4 at the Tasting Room in Uptown Park, we were delighted to have as our speaker Albina Shagimuratova, one of the world's leading opera singers, who was starring in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio from April 28 to May 12 at Houston Grand Opera.  Albina shared what's involved with running the business of being an opera singer in a changing world while balancing her career and spending time with her family.  
enchanting coloratura soprano first found international acclaim in 2007 when she won the Gold Medal in the Vocal Division of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Soon after, she made her European opera debut as the Queen of the night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Riccardo Muti. Established as the leading interpreter of this fiendishly challenging role, she has performed it in other venues including Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala Milan (released on DVD), Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Bolshoi Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Hamburg State Opera, and the Lucerne Festival.
Albina’s operatic roles include other heroines of the dramatic coloratura repertoire such as Violetta (
La Traviata), Elvira (I Puritani), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Gilda (Rigoletto), Musetta (La Bohème), Ludmilla (Ruslan and Ludmilla for the grand re-opening of the Bolshoi Theatre), and Konstanze (The Abduction from the Seraglio).
Click here to download the program. 

Albina Shagimuratova

Registration and Networking

The Tasting Room (Uptown Park)

Lunch (including Houston's best burger)

Andrew Pidgirsky, Albina Shagimuratova,
Princess Maria-Anna Galitzine, Meril Markley

Albina in Conversation with Meril Markley

Albina Shagimuratova


We thank RSM US LLP and its Houston office leader, Tom Rourick, for his commitment to this project at the crossroads of culture and commerce in Houston.  Constance Bost, outgoing Executive Director of the French American Chamber of Commerce was our unflagging advocate in promoting the events and spurring participation by members of the Chamber.  We are grateful that her successor, Joana Videgain, and Geoffroy Petit, President of the Chamber, continue to champion these events.  On the heels of the Habsburg Splendor exhibits in the U.S.of works from the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) in Vienna, its International Friends organization is our third sponsor, with the enthusiastic support of the museum's General Director, Dr. Sabine Haag, its Director of Communications, Florian Pollack, and the head of the Friends initiative, Baerbel Holaus.  We are very grateful to KHM for permitting us to use paintings from its collection as cover art for the programs.




Photos and links to the programs for each of the past luncheons


Our luncheon on Friday, March 3, 2017 was held in connection with the inaugural visit to Houston of --

Making Your Passion for Art into a Successful Business


Our speaker was Sebastien Laboureau, International Art Curator, whose earlier career included investment banking at Goldman Sachs.  Click here to download the program.

Luncheon at the Winter Street Studios
(catered by Le Mistral)

The Collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm
by David Teniers
From the Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Sebastien Laboureau





Striking the Right Chord When Safeguarding Your Brand with Bruce Patterson, Intellectual Property Lawyer and Founding Partner of Patterson & Sheridan, who not only recounted his efforts on behalf of Taylor Guitars but played one of his own guitars for us (December 6, 2016 at Artisans Cuisine et Savoir Faire).  Click to download the program.

Artisans Cuisine et Savoir Faire

Portrait of a Young Man with a Lira di Braccio
(Unknown 16th Century Venetian Artist)
From the Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Bruce Patterson


Guardians of the Digital Galaxy, featuring Gregory Servos, President of Ovation Data Services, Inc. (September 13, 2016 at Masraff's).  Click to download the program.  Gregory recounted how his efforts at helping oil companies to find a common computer language for preserving their valuable libraries of seismic information led to helping film museums and television networks preserve their cultural heitage for future generations.

Gregory Servos 

The Tower of Babel (1563) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
From the Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienn



Looted, Lost and Stolen Art featuring Andrius Kontrimas of Norton Rose Fulbright law firm (June 7, 2016 at Hotel Granduca).  Click to download the program.  Veteran international tax lawyer, Andrius Kontrimas, recounted how his early experience in probating an estate involving works of art led to a lifelong interest in helping to restitute works taken in the run-up to World War II, during the war itself, and in its aftermath behind the Iron Curtain.


Andrius Kontrimas

The Art of Painting (c. 1667) by Johannes Vermeer
From the Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Hotel Granduca


No Time Toulouse -- The Origins of Modern Corporate Governance in Medieval France by Meril Markley of RSM US LLP and M. Markley Antiques (March 30, 2016 at Etoile Cuisine et Bar).  Click to download the program and a copy of the presentation.  Meril Markley told of discovering quite by accident, while preparing a speech on Sarbanes Oxley in 2004, that the first modern corporation had been founded as a power generation company in the 13th century in southwestern France.  It survived for more than 600 hundred years owing to a system of corporate governance which kept in check the impulses that led to the demise of Enron.


Meril Markley

Etoile Cuisine et Bar 
With special thanks to the following --

Constance Bost (FACC)

Geoffroy Petit (FACC)

Joanna Videgain (FACC)

Dr. Sabine Haag (KHM) and Barry Margolis (RSM)

Tom Rourick (RSM US LLP)