This Kind of Life


Date: 21 July 2018
Time: 8pm
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

As Halcyon celebrates 20 years of exceptional music-making, come and join us for a midwinter evening of intriguing and eclectic new chamber music. 

The program features Australian premieres by mid-career composers Japanese-born Dai Fujikura and Belgian Annelies Van Parys alongside a couple of songs from our Kingfisher project and a brand new work by Elliott Gyger, celebrating his 50th birthday this year. 

Halcyon’s long and fruitful relationship with composer Elliott Gyger, spanning more than three decades, has produced a series of outstanding vocal works.  Beginning with From the hungry waiting country in 2006 (commissioned for Halcyon by the first Aurora Festival) through giving voice (winner of the 2013 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award) to Un poilu australien in 2015 (for our War Letters project), these pieces have been some of the most challenging and rewarding works in Halcyon's repertoire. Each one is a tour-de-force for both performers and composer, as Elliott descirbes here:

From the hungry waiting country (2006) weaves together fifteen texts – seven in English, eight in ancient languages – each sung by a different soloist or subset from its female vocal quartet; at times two or three texts are superimposed, working in independent tempi.  Petit Testament (2008), by contrast, comes as close as possible to multitracking a single voice in live performance; Jenny and Alison are called upon to play vocal hide-and-seek with one another, merging into a single line featuring unison, heterophony and interior dialogue."

This year as the ensemble and composer both celebrate significant milestones, it seemed the perfect time to join forces again.  

"This kind of life (2018) is written once again for Alison and Jenny’s voices, but rather than blending and blurring they are kept quite distinct, as they sing the words of two people in dialogue with one another.  Each is supported by her own miniature ensemble of two instruments (clarinet and piano with the soprano; cello and harp with the mezzo), although as the work progresses these ensembles begin to overlap and fuse. 
A musical celebration of friendship, This kind of life seems an apt choice for a program highlighting the rich network of collaborations that has developed across Halcyon’s 20-year history – a network which I am grateful and proud to be part of.

Elliott Gyger This Kind of Life  WORLD PREMIERE
Dai Fujikura  Being as One  AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Annaliese Van Parys  Three Mew Poems  AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Ross Edwards The Tranquil Mind
Rosalind Page Aquila’s Wing

Alison Morgan soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo-soprano,  Laura Chislett flute, David Rowden clarinet, Georgina Oakes bass clarinet, Geoffrey Gartner cello, Jo Allan piano, Rowan Phemister harp

Tickets $35/$25 through Classikon

The bar will be open before and during the show with light food and drink for sale


A Child of Earth and Heaven

Date: 15 November 2017
Venue: Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre

Presented in collaboration with Inventi Ensemble and Melbourne Recital Centre

A Child of Earth and Heaven celebrates two generations of Australian vocal writing, showcasing works by award-winning composers Nigel Butterley and Elliott Gyger inspired by childhood and the natural world.

In an all-new collaboration, drawing together renowned performers from around the country, Inventi Ensemble (Melbourne) and Halcyon (Sydney) with guest conductor Matthew Wood (Darwin) present two intriguing song cycles for voice and chamber ensemble.

Gyger’s Paul Lowin Award winning composition, giving voice (2013), is an intimate exploration of the theme of early childhood. With diverse texts drawn from eight female Australian writers including his own daughter Sophia, giving voiceencapsulates a roller-coaster of emotions – such as fear, wonder, joy and frustration – in eight highly individual songs. Drawing inspiration from the Orpheus myth, Butterley’s Orphei Mysteria (2008) is a work of great beauty whose subtlety painted colours bring forth a richly evocative soundscape and show a master craftsman at the height of his powers.

Elliott Gyger - giving voice (2013)
Nigel Butterley - Orphei Mysteria (2008)

Matthew Wood  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Vladimir Gorbach  guitar  Inventi Ensemble

First Stones

Date: 19 November 2011
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Presented in collaboration with the New Music Network

First Stones is Halcyon’s inaugural chamber song project for emerging composers.  This is a wonderful opportunity for emerging Australian composers to explore the intimate realm of vocal chamber music under the mentorship of one of Australia’s leading contemporary art music ensembles.  Nine new composers; nine new works. Nine talented young composers will develop new works throughout the year, under the mentorship of Halcyon and composer Elliott Gyger. Come and hear their final works performed by Halcyon on November 19 and prepare to be surprised, challenged and delighted by fresh ideas!   

Broadcast by ABC Classic FM Friday 13 January 2012, 10.30pm

Featuring new works by emerging composers Damian Griffin, Lachlan Hughes, Nicole Murphy, Pedro Oliveira Woolmer, Anastasia Pahos, Peggy Polias, Owen Salome, James Wade and Chris Williams, commissioned by Halcyon for our 2011 First Stones project

Nicole Murphy - Temple Bell
James Wade - The Voice Of The Ancient Bard
Owen Salome - The Queen
Anastasia Pahos - Seeking Eurydice
Chris Williams - that a circle, this a line
Elliott Gyger - Petit Testament
Lachlan Hughes - Lines Drawn Of My Cartilage
Damian Griffin - Fzzzt-pop!
Peggy Polias - Digital Lullaby
Pedro Oliveira - In Eternity

Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Diana Springford  clarinets  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Genevieve Lang  harp  Sally Whitwell  piano

Sirens @ Riversdale

Date: 27 November 2011
Venue: Boyd Education Centre, ‘Riversdale’, West Camberwarra
presented by the Bundanon Trust

The widely acclaimed and stunningly virtuosic Halcyon has been performing and commissioning new vocal music for more than a decade, forging connections with talented Australian and international composers in their search for the best of contemporary chamber music for voice. For artistic directors Alison Morgan and Jenny Duck-Chong, Sirens is an opportunity to relax and make beautiful music with their best friends, who are all exceptional solo artists in their own right. This alluring program features music by some amazing Australian talents including Dan Walker and Graham Hair, alongside some international treats. If you love close harmonies and the entrancing qualities of the harp, don't miss this special event at Bundanon.  
 Dan Walker - King Ludwig’s Swans (2004/09)                   
Kerry Andrew - luna-cy (2001)                      
Ruth Lee Martin - Fairie Lover and Good Wish from Carmina Gaedelica (1999)                              
Nicola Lefanu - The Swallow from Rosetti Songs (2008)                                            
Ross Edwards - The Harp and the Moon (2008)                                                                                   Stuart Greenbaum - Three Songs of Sleep (1998/2006)               
Gavin Bryars - Laude 7: Ave regina gloriosa from Laude Cortonese (2002-2004)                       
Graham Hair - O Venezia (2004)
Alison Morgan soprano Belinda Montgomery soprano Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano Jo Burton mezzo soprano Genevieve Lang harp

Life On Paper

Date: 18 September 2011
Venue: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

“Write in this book – Things that I see
Things that I hear and know”

How do three composers respond to three writers from very different worlds?

Take a rich and stimulating musical journey with Halcyon inspired by poets and writers who help us understand our lives from every wondrous angle.

Federico Garcia Lorca’s dark and brooding fragments are woven into George Crumb’s Madrigals 1 and 2; Sei Shonagon, Japanese court lady and author of The Pillow Book, lists her vivid collection of gossip, poetry and observations of court life in a new Halcyon commission by Andrew Schultz, I am writing in this book; and the classical Haiku poet and priest Kobayashi Issa reflects on the small wonders abounding in the natural world in Joseph Schwantner’s Sparrows. All works of exceptional beauty and insight.

George Crumb - Madrigals, Books I & II (1965)
Joseph Schwantner - Sparrows (1978)
Andrew Schultz - I am writing in this book Opus 88 (2011) * 
* World Premiere

David Stanhope  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano
Laura Chislett Jones  flutes  Diana Springford  clarinets  Alex Norton  violin  Luke Spicer viola  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Jenny Druery  double bass  Zubin Kanga  piano  Melina van Leewen  harp  Daryl Pratt  percussion  Anna Zeltzer percussion


Date: 15 December 2010
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Presented in collaboration with austraLYSIS and the New Music Network

Renowned for its stunning performances of contemporary vocal chamber music, Halcyon enters the world of electronic music with atmospheres, a sound adventure spanning almost three decades of musical experimentation. In this special collaboration, electro-acoustic experts Roger Dean and Greg White of austraLYSIS transform the pure voices of Halcyon, enhancing the human voice beyond its natural capabilities into intriguing new sound territories.

David Adamcyk - Avant la larme... (2006) ^
Trevor Wishart - Vox 2 (1982-84)
Kasia Glowicka - Luminescence (2009) ^
Kaija Saariaho - Nuits, Adieux (1991/1996)
Roger Dean - Toy Language 2 (2010) *
* World Premiere  ^ Australian Premiere

Alison Morgan soprano   Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano  Jo Burton  mezzo soprano Andrei Laptev tenor  Clive Birch*  bass  James Nightingale  saxophone  Zubin Kanga  piano

Roger Dean and Greg White

Where The Heart Is

Date: 7 September 2010
Venue: Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music

Date: 13 September 2010
Venue: Bay 20, CarriageWorks

Date: 16 May 2011
Venue: Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne

Presented in collaboration with ANU, CarriageWorks and the University of Melbourne

Renowned for stunning performances of contemporary chamber music, Halcyon shines its light on Australian composers in Where the Heart Is, an intimate and enticing program for two voices, flute, cello and piano. Highlights include the beautiful new Wimmera Song Cycle by Canberra composer Ruth Lee Martin on poems by the internationally recognised Australian poet, literary critic and philosopher Kevin Hart and To the Evening Star by Sydney composer Andrew Schultz, the winning work in the Paul Lowin 2009 Song Cycle Prize.

Ross Edwards - Maninya I (1981)
Anne Boyd - 3 songs from Cycle of Love (1981)
Mary Finsterer - Sentence for Dinner (1986)
Elliott Gyger - Petit Testament (2008) *
Andrew Schultz - To the Evening Star (2009)
Graham Hair - Yigdal (2010) * °
Ruth Lee Martin - Wimmera Song Cycle (2010) *
* World Premiere  ° Canberra performance only

Alison Morgan soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano  Sally Walker flutes  Geoffrey Gartner cello  Sally Whitwell piano

Ross Edwards - Maninya (1981)
Elliott Gyger - Petit Testament (2008)
Mary Finsterer - Sentence For Dinner (1986)
Ruth Lee Martin - Wimmera cycle (2010)

Alison Morgan soprano   Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano Lamorna Nightingale flute  Geoffrey Gartner cello  Sally Whitwell piano

The Late Night Sonic Space

Date: 31 July 2010
Venue: Studio 227, ABC Centre, Ultimo

The Late Night Sonic Space presented in association with the New Music Network
Jenny is guest artist with austraLYSIS.

In the first of two collaborative concerts this year between austraLYSIS and Halcyon, Jenny performs the premiere of two new works by Roger Dean - Wordspotting and Toy Language 1 alongside other austraLYSIS works by Canadian Robert Normandeau, Hazel Smith and Joanna Still (UK) and Roger Dean.

Recorded live in front of a studio audience and broadcast on ABC Classic FM 7 January 2011

Sirens at Carriageworks

Date: 26th March 2010
Venue: CarriageWorks, Sydney
Presented in association with Carriageworks

Entitled Sirens, Halcyon’s first concert for 2010 features the combined talents of five exceptional solo artists in a distinctive blend of four female voices and harp. Sopranos Alison Morgan and Belinda Montgomery, mezzo sopranos Jenny Duck-Chong and Jo Burton and harpist Genevieve Lang are joined by guest flautist Laura Chislett Jones in a sublime performance of music by local and international composers.

Kaija Saariaho - Quatre messages I (1999)  
Dan Walker - King Ludwig’s Swans (2004/09)    
Kaija Saariaho - Quatre messages II (1999)   
Kerry Andrew - Song of Doves (2006)                  
Kaija Saariaho - Quatre messages III (1999)
Roxanna Panufnik - The Spirit of the Saints (2007)
Kaija Saariaho - Quatre messages IV (1999)
Nicola LeFanu - The Bourne (2008)
Raffaele Marcellino - A Strange Kind of Paradise (2010)
Younghi Pagh-Paan - Dreisam-Nore (1975)  
Gordon Kerry - Sappho’s Reply (1994)              
Ross Edwards - The Harp and the Moon (2008)   
Kerry Andrew - ojo (2004/07)
Gillian Whitehead - Clangam Filii from Nga Haerenga (2000)
[WP] World Premiere [AP] Australian Premiere

Alison Morgan soprano Belinda Montgomery soprano Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano Jo Burton mezzo soprano Genevieve Lang harp Laura Chislett Jones piccolo, flute, alto flute

This concert is sponsored by Paul Davies Pty Ltd

Willow Songs

Date: 26 September 2009 
Venue: Trackdown Scoring Stage, Moore Park

Presented by the New Music Network & Halcyon

Japanese haiku has been a influential poetic form from the 16th century until the present age of twitter-inspired 'twaiku'.  This succinct poetic style responds beautifully to a vocal chamber music setting; each carefully chosen word can inspire fresh musical colours.  Halcyon showcases the talents of composers from around the globe, including Roberto Gerhard, Anne Boyd, Elena Firsova, Colin Matthews and Julian Yu, with a selection of contemporary haiku settings for voice and instruments. The performance culminates in the world premiere of a new song cycle by composer, writer and broadcaster Andrew Ford, on poems by Anglo-American poet Anne Stevenson. Willow Songs is a picture of a woman’s life in reverse, from defiant, outrageous maturity to vulnerable girlhood.

Julian Yu - Four Haiku (1992)                   
Anne Boyd - 3 songs from Cycle of Love (1981)
Elena Firsova - Seven Haiku after Matsuo Basho Op. 47 (1991) ^
Roberto Gerhard - Sept Haiku (1922/58)               
Ton de Leeuw - Song I & III from Haiku: Songs and Interludes for voice and piano (1963)
Colin Matthews - Strugnell’s Haiku (1990)                              
Andrew Ford - Willow Songs  (2009) *
* World premiere  ^ Australian premiere

Mark Shiell  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Sally Walker  flutes   Laura Chislett Jones alto flute  Jason Noble  clarinets  Rie Tamaru  oboe   Gillian Hansen  bassoon  John Douglas  percussion  Stephanie McCallum piano  Sally Whitwell  piano  Steven Meyer  cello  Joseph Littlefield  guitar

Extreme Nature

Date: 7 August 2009
Venue: Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

From water choked valleys and scorching winds, to a clandestine romp in nature, two intrepid Australian composers draw inspiration from powerful and confronting texts. Written in response to Australia’s drought and water crisis, Elliott Gyger’s From the Hungry Waiting Country is a beautifully complex work for four female singers and harp, while Nicholas Vines' Torrid Nature Scene for two singers and ensemble delivers a passionate and heady ode to nature. After the performance, meet the composers and celebrate the launch of Halcyon's latest CD Cool Black featuring song cycles by Australian composer Rosalind Page.

Elliott Gyger - From the Hungry Waiting Country (2006)
Nicholas Vines - Torrid Nature Scene (2008) ^
^ Australian premiere

Matthew Coorey  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Lindy Montgomery soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano 
Jo Burton  mezzo soprano  Sally Walker piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute  Euan Harvey  french horn  Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich  violin  Thomas Talmacs  violin  Luke Spicer  viola  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Genevieve Lang  harp  Claire Edwardes  percussion  Zubin Kanga  piano

Sirens in Armidale

Date: 1 May 2009  
Venue: Armidale Town Hall

Presented as part of Musica Viva's regional touring program

Dan Walker - King Ludwig’s Swans (2004)                                    
Kerry Andrew - luna-cy (2001)                                                                       
Ross Edwards - The Harp and the Moon (2008)                                                      
Stuart Greenbaum - Three Songs of Sleep (1998/2006)                                                
                                 1. Late Autumn Lullaby 2. Lullaby (from Nelson) 3. Balloon Ride
Gavin Bryars - Laude 7: Ave regina gloriosa from Laude Cortonese (2002-2004) [AP]
Kerry Andrew - The Song of Doves (2006) [AP]                                                                                  
Ruth Lee Martin - Fairie Lover and Good Wish from Carmina Gaedelica (1999)       
Stuart Greenbaum - Nine Candles for Dark Nights (2006)                                            
Kerry Andrew - ojo (2004/7) [AP]                                                                                   
Graham Hair - O Venezia (2004)     
[AP] Australian Premiere                                                                        
Alison Morgan soprano Belinda Montgomery soprano Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano Jo Burton mezzo soprano Genevieve Lang harp

House Music

Date: 19 April 2009
Venue: Government House, Sydney

Halcyon has been delighting audiences for a decade with exciting and sophisticated performances of contemporary vocal chamber music. Artistic directors Alison Morgan and Jenny Duck-Chong join with three of Australia’s most esteemed artists in an intimate program of rarely heard musical gems from around the globe, inspired by poets Anna Akhmatova, Christina Rossetti and Aguedo Pizarro.

Claire Jordan - Memory (2001)       
1. A Birthday / Love from the North   2. Pastime   3. Promises like Piecrust 4. Echo   5. Two Pursuits
John Corigliano - Three Irish Folksongs Settings (1988)
1. The Salley Gardens  2. The Foggy Dew  3. She Moved Through the Fair           
Libby Larsen - Liebeslied & Do you know? from Beloved, thou hast brought me flowers (1994) 
John Tavener  Akhmatova Songs (1993)
1.Dante  2. Pushkin and Lermontov  3. Boris Pasternak  4. Couplet  5. The Muse  6. Death
Ross Edwards - Maninya I (1981, rev.1985)                    
Oliver Knussen - When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer from Whitman Settings (1991)   
Joseph Schwantner - Black Anemones from Two Songs of Agueda Pizarro (1980)
Anne Boyd - Cycle of Love (1981)            

Alison Morgan  soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Laura Chislett Jones   flutes
Patrick Murphy  cello  Sally Whitwell  piano

Walk to the Field of Stars

Date: 9 April 2009
Venue: Melbourne Recital Centre

Presented by the Melbourne Recital Centre

Projections by Allan Chawner

Damien Ricketson - In God's Esperanto (2007)
Based on the poem Spranto Lost by Christopher Wallace-Crabbe
Steve Reich - Music for Pieces of Wood (1973)
Peter Sculthorpe - Threnody for solo cello
Steve Reich - Tehillim for voices and ensemble (1981)

Halcyon: Alison Morgan  soprano  Belinda Montgomery  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Jo Burton  mezzo soprano

Ensemble Offspring: Sally Walker & Lamorna Nightingale  flute  Diana Springford & Jason Noble  clarinet   Ngaire de Korte & Shefali Prior  oboe  Rob Llewellyn  bassoon  Sally Whitwell & Clemens Leske  organ  James Cuddeford, Emma West, Maria Lindsay, Sophie Cole  violin  James Eccles & Nicole Forsyth  viola  Pat Murphy & Geoff Gartner  cello  Mardi Chillingworth  double bass
Percussionists: Guy du Blet, Timothy Constable, Eugene Ughetti, Vanessa Tomlinson, Rob Cossom, Evan Pritchard

Conductor: Roland Peelman



Date: 17 October 2008
Venue: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Presented in association with New Music Network  

Broadcast by ABC Classic FM Monday 29 June 2009, 8.00pm    

Gavin Bryars - The Adnan Songbook (1996)
George Benjamin - Upon Silence (1990/91)
Nigel Butterley - Orphei Mysteria (World Premiere)

Mark Shiell  conductor  Alison Morgan soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Sally Walker  piccolo/flute/alto flute  Diana Springford  clarinets  David Papp oboe/ cor anglais  Giuseppe Zangari guitars  Victoria Jacono violin  Nicole Forsyth  viola  Luke Spicer viola  Robert Jackson cello  Steve Meyer cello Julia Ryder cello  Mardi Chillingworth double bass  Jenny Druery double bass

Halcyon - Celebrating 10 Years

Date: 6 September 2008
Venue: SCEGGS Great Hall

One of Sydney’s most exciting new music ensembles, Halcyon acknowledges ten years of dedicated music-making by revisiting their very first performance with Sydney Alpha Ensemble in February 1998 in its original venue. Artistic directors and performers Jenny Duck-Chong (mezzo soprano) and Alison Morgan (soprano) will be joined by many of the original artists including conductor Antony Walker, soprano Jane Sheldon, pianist Stephanie McCallum, mandolin player Paul Hooper and percussionists Daryl Pratt & Philip South.  As well as a showcase of excerpts from Halcyon events over the past decade, Halcyon will ‘replay’ two of the most loved and masterly works of the 20th century, George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children and Luciano Berio’s Folksongs, both showstoppers on that first unforgettable night.

Andrew - luna-cy
Andrew - plum & cherry from fruit songs
Claire Jordan - Promises like Pie-Crust & Echo from Memory
Damien Ricketson - excerpt from Seven relics 
Katy Abbott - Night thoughts from It is Just the Heart
Saariaho - Miranda's lament from The Tempest Songbook
Denisov - Archipel des Songes 
Crumb - Ancient Voices of Children 
Berio - Folksongs

Antony Walker  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jane Sheldon  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong   mezzo soprano  Laura Chislett Jones  flutes  Steven Meyer  flute  Diana Springford  clarinet   Ngaire de Korte   oboe  Veronique Serret  violin  Mirabai Peart  violin  Nicole Forsyth  viola   Julia Ryder  cello  Jennifer Druery  double bass  Stephen Lalor  mandolin  Janet Agostino  guitar   Alice Giles  harp  Daryl Pratt  percussion  Claire Edwardes  percussion  Jeremy Barnett  percussion  Stephanie McCallum  piano  Sally Whitwell  piano

Aurora Festival 2008

April 12 2008 Campbelltown Arts Centre
Direct broadcast on ABC Classic FM 8pm

Chinary Ung - Aura ^
Gavin Bryars - Laude 17 & 29 ^
Ross Edwards - Maninya I
Michael Atherton - Of Stone and Silence *
* World premiere   ^ Australian premiere

Roland Peelman  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Steven Meyer  flute/piccolo/alto flute  David Papp  oboe/cor anglais  Jason Noble  clarinet/bass clarinet  Claire Edwardes  percussion  Sophie Cole  violin  Thomas Talmacs  violin  Nicole Forsyth  viola  Susan Ung viola  Julia Ryder  cello  Adrian Wallis  cello  Mardi Chillingworth  double bass

April 18   Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
April 20   Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith

Broadcast by ABC Classic FM Tuesday 22 April 2008 8pm

Steve Reich  Daniel Variations (Australian premiere)

Sydney Conservatorium of Music  Modern Music Ensemble, dir. Daryl Pratt
Halcyon: Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano Andrei Laptev and Dan Walker tenors

Lily on a Black Wave

Date: 6 October 2007
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

LILY ON A BLACK WAVE - modern composers interpret Shakespeare

“On the calm, black wave where the stars sleep
White Ophelia floats like a great lily,
Floats slowly, slowly, slumbering in her long winding veils...”

The character of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s ominous play Hamlet has floated her way into the modern world, inspiring creative artists as diverse as Rimbaud, T.S. Eliot, Berlioz, Nick Cave and The Grateful Dead. Award-winning ensemble Halcyon premieres a new work, Ophelie, by Australian composer Kevin March together with modern musical settings from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets by Stravinsky, Saariaho and Adès. Come and experience all the drama and passion inherent in the words of this famous bard, distilled into its musical essence.  

Andrew Ford - Snatches of Old Lauds from Hamlet (2002)
Igor Stravinsky - Three Songs to Shakespeare (1953)
Sally Beamish - Sonnet (1986/1998) ^
Tom James - Ophelia (2004) ^
Kevin March - Ophelie (2007) *
Juori Kaipainen - Sonnet 43 op. 43 (1994) ^
Kataryzna Glowicka - Summer's Day Sonnets (2000 rev.2004) ^
Thomas Ades - Court Studies from The Tempest (2005) ^
Andrew Ford - Epithalamium (1991) *
Evelyn Ficarra - Full Fathom Five (2002) from Submarine ^
Saariaho - The Tempest Songbook (1993-2004) ^
1. Prospero’s Vision 2. Miranda's Lament 3. Caliban's Dream 4. Ariel's Hail 5. Ferdinand's Comfort
* World Premiere  ^ Australian Premiere

Mark Shiell conductor, Alison Morgan soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano, Mark Donnelly baritone, Steve Meyer flute, Diana Springford clarinet, Veronique Serrett violin, Thomas Talmacs violin, Nicole Forsyth viola, Danny Yeadon cello, Paul Hooper mandolin, Raffaele Agostino guitar, Clare McDonogh harp, Sally Whitwell piano, Claire Edwardes percussion, Jenny Druery double bass.

The Fire In Which We Burn

Date: 10 October 2017
Venue: Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Presented by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

The fire in which we burn is an all-Australasian program featuring works by Ross Edwards, Sadie Harrison, Tim Dargaville and Gillian Whitehead with texts that span two centuries, seven countries, and the complete cycle of seasons.  By reflecting on the cycles by which we live, we gain a glimpse of the turning wheels of history seeing ourselves mirrored in the shifting backdrop of the natural world.

Sadie Harrison’s With what does winter’s summer’s sing takes us on a journey through the seasonal patterns of nature and love, interspersing them with a series of exaltant ‘calling' songs, reminding us of those moments of joy in the midst of the passing of time. An Australian composer who has been resident in the UK for many years, her song cycle speaks of how the passing of time resonates with our own cycles of love and loss. This has been a common poetic conceit for centuries, with Spring heralding new love and Winter marking the coldness of a dying relationship, or a life which is at an end. Her texts draw on both ancient and modern literature in English translation, creating a fresh vernacular for words that span centuries.

Ross Edward’s Five Senses is inspired by the poetry of Judith Wright, renowned not only as a poet but as an environmental activist. Every poem’s images are so clearly drawn - from the fiery wheel of creation, the ageless columns of dark foreboding rainforest or the delicate dew-encrusted spider webs, right down to the individual flowers on the forest floor. At times ominous and mysterious or exuberantly joyful, it is a celebration of the Australian landscape and the capacity it has to touch us and inhabit our senses.

Gillian Whitehead’s Because of the child, a short unaccompanied song, was composed for a group of people keen to raise awareness of environmental issues and draws our attention to the role man plays in his environment. She spends time between both Australia and New Zealand, and the many natural and cultural references in her life are clearly present in her prodigious body of work.

Tim Dargaville’s Kolam, movement III for solo piano is inspired by the ancient art of Kolam, an art of symmetry, precision, and complexity, where circular patterns of geometric lines are created on the ground using curved lines and dots and drawn with powder made from rice and other natural materials. Often drawn by women at the threshold to the house, throughout the day the drawings get walked on, washed out in the rain, or blown around in the wind only to be re-made the following day. This intricate art reflects both the movement and constant nature of time, but also the renewal it will always bring.

Sadie Harrison - with what do winter’s summers sing? (2004)
Tim Dargaville - Kolam, Movement III (2014)
Brad Taylor-Newling - Ombrone (2014)
Ross Edwards - Five Senses: Five Poems of Judith Wright (2012)

Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo-soprano, Bernadette Harvey piano, Joshua Hill percussion


Date: 4 August 2007
Venue: City Recital Hall, Angel Place

Date: 11 August 2007
Venue: Riverside Theatres Parramatta

Presented in collaboration with ABC Classic FM

Internationally renowned percussion ensemble, Synergy Percussion, joins forces with Halcyon and Ensemble Offspring to present Steve Reich’s seminal work for large ensemble, Tehillim.  This driving, inspirational piece, sung in ancient Hebrew and based on biblical psalms, forms the centrepiece of a program that explores all possible combinations of the three ensembles. Steve Reich, one of the leading composers of the minimalist style, has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but also the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states The Guardian (London).

Other works on this truly international program are:
Ligeti (Hungary) - Sippal, dobbal, nádihegeduvel, mezzo soprano & percussion ensemble
Vivier (French Canada) - Bouchara, for soprano & ensemble
Damien Ricketson (Australia) – world premiere of a new work for glass percussion and ensemble

Ensemble Offspring and Halcyon are two of the most dynamic ensembles to have recently emerged in Sydney’s contemporary music scene.  Their collaboration with Synergy Percussion, whose career spans a 33-year history of performances both in Australia and overseas, will provide audiences with an opportunity to sample a wide range of musical styles and above all to experience an engaging and uplifting performance of music for voice, percussion and instrumentalists.

Steve Reich - Tehillim for large ensemble (1981)
Georgy Ligeti - Sippal, dobbal, nádihegeduvelmezzo soprano & percussion ensemble (2000) ^
Claude Vivier - Bouchara, for soprano & ensemble (1981)
Damien Ricketson - No More Than Liquid, for percussion and ensemble (2007) *
* World Premiere  ^ Australian Premiere

Synergy Percussion, Halcyon & Ensemble Offspring, Roland Peelman conductor