About Halcyon

Regarded as a leading exponent in the field of new music, Halcyon presents stunning performances of vocal chamber music from around the world, with a special emphasis on Australian content. Artistic directors and singers Jenny Duck-Chong and Alison Morgan direct the popular and acclaimed Halcyon concert series, showcasing many rarely heard international works and premiering new offerings from some of Australia's most esteemed composers. With the help of generous sponsors, Halcyon is currently recording many of these works for commercial release.

In recent years the ensemble has performed at the Aurora Festival in Western Sydney, the Four Winds Festival, the House Music series (Government House Sydney), the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and in the highly successful collaborative presentation of Tehillim at City Recital Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre. Halcyon makes regular guest appearances at music industry events including the annual Peggy Glanville Hicks Address, the AMC/APRA Classical Music Awards and the Paul Lowin Awards, where the ensemble has been associated with short-listed and winning pieces since 2006; last year new song cycles by Andrew Ford (Highly Commended), Ross Edwards (Highly Commended) and Elliott Gyger (First Prize) all had connections with Halcyon, either as performed pieces or commissions. As well, Halcyon was a finalist in the 2011 APRA/AMC Art Music Awards in the Performance of the Year category for its acclaimed performance of Elliott Gyger’s From the Hungry Waiting Country.

In its mentorship role, Halcyon has presented concerts and workshops focusing on vocal writing and contemporary Australian repertoire to secondary and tertiary composition students at Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, The University of Western Sydney, The Australian National University, St Andrew’s Cathedral School and Radford College. Halcyon has been guest ensemble with Chronology Arts and Kammerklang, both dynamic emerging commissioning groups. In 2011 Halcyon launched its inaugural emerging composer’s project, First Stones, which culminated in a showcase of the new works at Sydney Conservatorium.

2013 was Halcyon’s 15th birthday year and amongst the celebrations the ensemble launched Kingfisher, a commissioning project featuring new works by 21 Australian composers, celebrating the relationships established between the composers and the ensemble over this time. Recently Halcyon performed Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Opera House in the presence of the composer and Reich’s Drumming as part of Synergy’s 40th birthday celebrations. 2014 highlights also included the premiere of Elliott Gyger’s award-winning giving voice and the return of Nigel Butterley's Mysteria Orphei and Rosalind Page's Hrafnsöngvar.  A studio recording of the Kingfisher works will be released in 2015.


Artistic Director

Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano

With a career spanning more than 25 years, mezzo soprano Jenny Duck-Chong has established herself as a versatile and intelligent musician with extensive experience in a broad range of classical repertoire.  She has worked with Sydney's finest vocal ensembles, including Opera Australia, Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company and Cantillation. 

Renowned for her dramatic portrayals of tragic heroines, such as Purcell’s Dido, Monteverdi’s Arianna and Britten’s Phaedra, as well as her formidable performances of contemporary works such as Ligeti’s Síppal, Dobbal, Nahigedüvel, Macmillan’s Raising Sparks, Benjamin’s Upon Silence and Berio’s Folksongs, she has been a featured soloist with ensembles as varied as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Sydney Baroque, Ensemble Offspring, the Renaissance Players and the Kevin Hunt Jazz Trio.

She is the director of acclaimed new music ensemble Halcyon, with whom she has been active in commissioning, premiering and performing Australian and international repertoire of the highest calibre for more than fifteen years.  A passionate advocate of vocal chamber music Jenny has run classes, seminars and workshops for secondary and tertiary students and has and built relationships with composers, performers and institutions around the globe. 

Also an avid recitalist, Jenny has recorded numerous concerts for broadcast by the ABC and 2MBS-FM and in the recording studio, has featured as a soloist for ABC Classics and Walsingham labels as well as in film and TV scores and numerous other recordings with Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company, The Renaissance Players and Halcyon’s own recordings.


Please contact Halcyon for further information

    contemporary art music

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