Shining Shores

liquid crystal dna © Linden Gledhill

DATE: 1 December
TIME: 8pm
VENUE: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Celebrating 20 years of performing, promoting, recording and curating new music, Halcyon’s last program for 2018, Shining Shores, collects together pieces inspired by the natural elements of water and moonlight. Taking time to reflect on the world around us, we wander beside the flowing Seine in Rosalind Page’s Apollinairesongs, are transfixed by the minute life in rockpools or towering mountains reflected across the bay in Gordon Kerry’s Three Malouf Songs and walk in the wet sand beside the seashore, following the lark’s song or a boat adrift on the tide, in Gillian Whitehead’s Girl with a Guitar. The night sky appears - ‘the sleepy stretch and dazzle of it’ ablaze with stars ‘like bees’ - and the changing moon is ‘like an apricot’, ‘honeyed’ or ‘silvering shores’.

In our 20th anniversary year, this program again features composers of outstanding vocal music with a deep responsivenes for the poetry that inspires them, many of whom have had long associations with Halcyon. Works have been drawn from Australia (Rosalind Page, Gordon Kerry, Sadie Harrison, Ross Edwards), New Zealand (Gillian Whitehead) and the UK and USA (Hilary Tann and Robert Lombardo) and the program sees the return of a two signifcant and quintessentially Halcyon works, Rosalind Page’s Apollinairesongs (2002) and Gordon Kerry’s Three Malouf Songs (2016).

On December 1, come and experience again the magic of Halcyon in performance and the artistry refined over 20 years of musical exploration.


Rosalind Page Apollinairesongs (2002)
Hilary Tann Winter Sun, Summer Rain (1986) ^
Gilian Whitehead Girl with a Guitar (2000) ^
Gordon Kerry Three Malouf settings (2015)
and shorter works by Ross Edwards, Sadie Harrison ^ and Robert Lombardo ^

^ Australian Premiere

Elizabeth Scott conductor Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo-soprano Laura Chislett flute Jason Noble clarinet Anna McMichael violin
Nicole Forsyth viola Geoffrey Gartner cello Daniel Herscovitch piano/celeste

$40/$25 through Classikon

Image © Linden Gledhill




A New Way of Looking at Music
Presented by Halcyon and Artsite Galleries

Date: 9 Sept 2018
Time: 3.30pm
Venue: Artsite Galleries, Camperdown

Halcyon is celebrating the start of Spring by trying out something new this September. We’re scaling things down to their barest form and offering a very intimate experience of music and visual art

Contemporary arts often look to find new connections across art forms.  A recent article about one such crossover of music and visual art at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival concludes:

“Contemporary art was no longer either audible or visual: it was simply art.”

The intersection between visual art and music has always been part of Halcyon’s history. Our logos, concert programs and album covers have regularly featured a wide array of local and international artists and photographers such as Catherine AbelRobert BoynesLorenzo CortellettiLinden Gledhill and Richard Woldendorp.

art:music is our latest experiment.  With the support of Artsite Galleries, we wanted to create a more informal space for people to experience contemporary art - to let you engage with the music and the visual artworks in your own ways - perhaps sitting and watching with focused intent, moving around the space or just listening in and reflecting on the visual works on display while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine and nibbles. 

The performance will feature Jenny and flautist Sally Walker presenting a short program of contemporary works predominantly by Australian composers, in conjunction with the art exhibition From the Blue House by contemporary Australian artist Victoria Peel.  

Performed in two short sets, with time to wander in between, this informal afternoon is the perfect place to invite someone to get a taste of some small-scale new music in an intimate setting. While we will give occasional insights into the works being performed, there are no rules of concert etiquette to be observed and we hope that you will simply enter the space with expectation and curiosity. 

The performance starts at 3.30pm, but feel free to come anytime from 3pm to pick up a glass of wine and take some time to look around the gallery before it begins.  If you have an artistically curious friends, now’s your chance to bring them along to this low key event and share in an afternoon of contemporary art.

Gillian Whitehead Because of the child (2013)
Claude Debussy Syrinx (1913)
Brad Taylor-Newling Ombrone (2014)
Larry Sitsky The Jade Flute from Two Li-Po Settings (1973/2016)
Robert Lombardo At Parting Now, Harvest Moon from Three Haiku (c. 2000) [AP]
Andrew Ford “Once upon a time there were two brothers…” (2013)
Elliott Gyger Unfractured Light from giving voice (2012)

[AP] Australian premiere

Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano, Sally Walker flute/alto flute/piccolo

All tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the store here but as there are limited numbers they MUST BE PRE-BOOKED. Sales will close on Saturday 8th at midday and there will be NO tickets available at the door

A New Way of Looking at Music

Sunday 9th September at 3.30pm
Artsite Galleries
165 Salisbury Rd Camperdown
For directions to the gallery click here

Artsite is an Independent Australian Contemporary Art Gallery dedicated to promoting exemplary local and Australian artist practices.  Read more about the gallery

artsite galleries logo

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 - Halcyon & Inventi Ensemble

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

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

The Poet's Voice

Date: 10 September 2016
Venue: St Bede's Anglican Church, Drummoyne

“A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate; it goes on to become.”

— W.H. Auden

Each art has a language of its own that can ’speak’ to us. Poetry can resonant within us, its chosen words honed into crystallised form. Music, wordless, can stir, move, shake or provoke us.  In song, these two powerful languages are synthesised, the poet’s and the composer’s voices intertwining, shining new light on the words while drawing out fresh musical ideas. Yet no one song or poem speaks in the same way to us all; our responses are as diverse as our human experience.

The songs and cycles in The Poet’s Voice are the work of contemporary Australian composers, inspired by Australian poets and writers, who explore their shared understanding of our world, our environment and our everyday life with works spanning a period of almost 50 years. Captured moments of simple lives often have a surprising depth when words and music combine; love letters and clotheslines, birds and birth, gazing in rockpools or at mountain ranges.  Alongside songs by Margaret Sutherland, Brett Dean, Elliott Gyger and Katy Abbott Kvasnica are the words of Judith Wright, Michael Leunig, the fictional Ern Malley and Christopher Wallace-Crabbe.  Andrew Schultz is both poet and composer in his recent song cycle Paradise, setting his own words to music.

Roger Smalley's Piano Trio (1991), commissioned for the 1st Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and still one of his most popular and recorded works, acknowledges the anniversary of the composer’s death in 2015.  Inspired not by words, but by the music of another composer, this tour-de-force piece is one of several that Smalley wrote based on Chopin's Mazurkas. 

Gordon Kerry is renowned for both his words and music.  He is an author and experienced music journalist and the composer of vocal works of many forms: among them operas, choral works and chamber songs (including a work for Halcyon’s 2013 Kingfisher project).  The Poet's Voice will feature the world premiere of his new work Three Malouf Songs (2015).  Commissioned by John and Denise Elkins, the piece celebrates a place of special significance to them - the Glasshouse Mountains.  Kerry's own love of the Australian bush and the beach drew him to three poems by David Malouf -  Stars, Rockpools and Glasshouse Mountains.  With his sensitivity to text and ear for delicate sonorities, Kerry has created a substantial through-composed chamber work for mezzo, violin, cello and piano.

Gordon Kerry - Three Malouf Songs*
Andrew Schultz - Paradise (2013)
Roger Smalley - Piano Trio (1991)
Elliott Gyger - Petit Testament (2008)
* World Premiere

Katy Abbott Kvasnica - The Domestic Sublime Part 1
Margaret Sutherland - Woman's Song, Midnight and Winter Kestrel from Six Songs: Settings of Judith Wright
Brett Dean - Literature & A Child is a Grub from Poems and Prayers


Of Earth and Stars

Date: 16 April 2016
Venue: St Bedes Anglican Church

Halcyon begins the year with an intimate program featuring the sonorous and captivating combination of voice and cello. 
In Of Earth and Stars long-time collaborators Jenny Duck-Chong and Geoffrey Gartner present a program of duos and solos spanning four decades and three continents. 
You will be introduced to gems by Julian Yu, Moya Henderson, Martin Wesley-Smith, Sadie Harrison, Brad Taylor-Newling, Simon Holt and Michael Berkeley, and to celebrate Alberto Ginastera's centenary year there will be a special performance of the composer's tour-de-force for solo cello, Puneña No. 2.

Martin Wesley-Smith -  Uluru Song (1993)
Sadie Harrison -  Aster I and Aster II from Aster (1995 rev. .2014)
Michael Berkeley -  Typewriter Music (2014) 
Brad Taylor-Newling -  Ombrone (2014) & Stars (2014)
Alberto Ginastera -  Puneña No. 2 (1976) 
Julian Yu -  Three Haiku (1987)
Moya Henderson -  I Lost A World The Other Day (2014)  
Simon Holt -  Three songs from Six Caprices (1998)

Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Geoffrey Gartner  cello

War Letters

Date: 7 November 2015
Venue: Ku-ring-gai Town Hall

War Letters commemorates through music, the service and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women in the First World War during the ANZAC centenary. Four Australian composers, representing four generations, have taken excerpts from original letters written during times of conflict, and set the words to music for singers and ensemble. The letters are filled with both hope and despair, offering deep insight into life for all involved in the war zone, but especially for family and friends receiving and sending them. War Letters explores this interface between letter writing and music, bringing into focus the day to day experiences of the men and women taken up by war.

Diana Blom - Triptych (war letters) *
Elliott Gyger - Un poilu australien *
Nicole Murphy - 'Dearest Mother...' *
Larry Sitsky - Letter from the trenches *
* World premiere

Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Clive Birch  bass  James Wannan  viola  Kaylie Dunstan  percussion Jo Allan  piano

The Cavalcade of History and Fashion will present a display, Home Front Keepsakes and Nurses Uniforms at the concert.

The project was made possible through funding received from the Australian Government's ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program with support from the University of Western Sydney.

Winter Moon Secrets

Date: 4 September 2015
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Presented in collaboration with the New Music Network

Asian culture has captivated the artistic mind for centuries; the elegance and concise restraint of Oriental visual art, music and writing have been an ongoing inspiration for composers around the globe. Winter Moon Secrets brings together chamber music inspired by a world behind closed doors, where courtly life, love and secrets form the centrepiece of existence, a place where inner thoughts remain concealed, whispered only to the night air or written on a page in a private room.

In Andrew Schultz's I am writing in this book (2011), fragments of 10th century writer Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book have been threaded together to trace the life of a young woman from naive youth to old age. Sohmon III (1988), by eminent Japanese composer Minoru Miki, sets poetry from the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry, the Man'Yoshi (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) dated from the seventh and eight centuries. Miki believes that music and culture are deeply intertwined and that peace between nations can be achieved through the blending of diverse cultures. Larry Sitsky's newly penned work A Feast of Lanterns II (2015) draws texts from a collection of ancient Chinese poets and writers, employing voice and instruments to render delicate brushstrokes of colour. Joining Halcyon for this program is koto virtuoso Satsuki Odamura, performing solo works composed for her by Australians Ross Edwards and Rosalind Page. 


[Composer & Piece List, indented]


Luke Spicer  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Ewan Foster  violin  Anna Martin-Scrase  cello  Jenny Druery  double bass Rowan Phemister  harp  Sally Whitwell  piano  William Jackson  percussion  Satsuki Odamura  koto

A Rhythm That Dances

Date: 13 June 2015
Venue: Recital Hall East, Sydney Conservatoirum of Music

Presented by Halcyon in partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Inspired by a deep love for the Australian natural environment, the music of Ross Edwards radiates both joyous exuberance and meditative reflection. A Rhythm that Dances celebrates these twin aspects of his writing. Showcasing works spanning almost 40 years, this retrospective program focuses on Edwards’ music in miniature and features solo performances by some of Australia’s leading contemporary musicians. The concert is also a rare opportunity to hear his two major song cycles, The Hermit of Green Light (1979) and Five Senses (2013), as well as Maninya I  for voice and cello, which is an early example of his celebrated ‘dance-chant’ style and an inspiration for his violin concerto, Maninyas. Also on the program is his Piano Sonata(2011), commissioned by the Conservatorium for Bernadette Harvey, who recently gave the US premiere.

Water Spirit Song (2003)
Hermit of Green Light (1979)
Marimba Dances (1982)
Piano Sonata (2011)
Maninya I (1981)
Selections from Mantras and Night Flowers (2001)
Prelude and Laughing Rock (2003)
Five senses (2012)

Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano  Bernadette Harvey piano  Claire Edwardes percussion  Geoffrey Gartner cello

Stolen - Halcyon & Soundstream Collective

Date: 2 September 2014
Venue: Studio 520, ABC Studios, Collinswood, Adelaide

Presented by the earin festival

Bursting with musical riches, Stolen explores ideas of displacement, dislocation and identity through the integration of music and visual image. The performances bring together two of Australia’s most innovative new music ensembles for the first time; Halcyon, Sydney’s acclaimed vocal chamber music specialists and Soundstream Collective, the University of Adelaide’s new music Ensemble in Residence. Stolen features works by Australian composers Gerard Brophy, Andrew Ford, David Harris and David Kotlowy and readings by Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney from the Bringing Them Home Report alongside art by one of the country’s most intriguing visual artists Ngarrindjeri-Kaurna-Yunkanytjatjara-man, Allan Sumner.

Introduction by Prof. Lester-Irabinna Rigney
David Kotlowy - Mitithi* (2014) 
Andrew Ford - Willow Songs (2009) 
Martin Bresnick - Prayers Remain Forever (2011) 
Gerard Brophy - When Peacocks Dance* (2014) 
David Harris - Yurrebilla Climbing* (2014)
* World Premiere

Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong   mezzo soprano  Geoffrey Collins  flutes  Peter Handsworth  clarinets  Janis Laurs  cello  Gabriella Smart  piano  Joshua Hill  percussion

Giving Voice

Date: 12 July 2014
Venue: St Bedes Anglican Church

The cry of a newborn, the first word spoken after a long silence, the energy of many voices heard as one ... as individuals, we are compelled to give voice to our thoughts from the moment we first utter a sound. A composer, driven mad by this urge, might seek to reveal not only the power of music and language, but the essence of his or her own unique and mature ‘voice’.

The three works of David Lumsdaine, Elliott Gyger and Nigel Butterley in this program are by composers at the height of their writing powers. All three are drawn to vocal writing and all have found their voice through the setting of poetry to music.

Lumsdaine, who has lived mostly in the UK since the 90s, was moved to set The Tree Telling of Orpheus by poet Denise Levertov “as Orpheus' lyre stirred the leaves of the tree”. David was so inspired by this poem about a tree that tells of hearing Orpheus play his lyre, that from the first few bars to the end, “the music spun itself swiftly and easily”. Composed in 1990, this cantata for soprano and ensemble reveals a passion for the natural world, expressed through rhythm, colour and texture; Lumsdaine draws influence not only from western European music, but also from his recorded soundscapes and published archives of birdsong. In his own words, “composition is the activity of listening”.

Elliott Gyger’s giving voice is an intimate look at the theme of early childhood, the limitless potential (and uncertainty) of a new human life and the voice as a symbol of emerging identity. Elliott has set a collection of contemporary Australian poems by women writers together with the early words of his own daughter Sophia. Halcyon has a long association with Elliott’s music, performing and recording his epic From the Hungry Waiting Country and Petit Testament and most recently his Kingfisher piece The Pleiades at Midnightgiving voice won the prestigious Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award in 2013 and receives its premiere performance in this program.

A dominating figure in the Australian musical landscape, Nigel Butterley’s compositional voice is one of tremendous integrity and spiritual largess. His Orphei Mysteria, commissioned by Halcyon in 2008, explores the myth of Orpheus in the hands of Melbourne writer and poet Patricia Excell, who draws on a life-long love of Greek mythology and religion. Butterley often assembles the set texts himself and has been a devotee of the poetry of Kathleen Raine throughout his musical journey. Gyger, who is intimately acquainted with Butterley's compositions and currently completing a book about his music, writes that “even Butterley's instrumental works are often poetic in inspiration.”

Giving Voice will be performed by Halcyon under the baton of Matthew Wood, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, who now shares his time between Australia and the United Kingdom working regularly with some of the worlds leading orchestras, companies and ensembles.

David Lumsdaine - A Tree Telling of Orpheus (1990)
Elliott Gyger - giving voice (2013) 
Nigel Butterley - Mysteria Orphei (2008) 

Matthew Wood  conductor  Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Sally Walker  flutes  Peter Smith  clarinet  Alexandre Oguey  oboe/cor anglais  Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich  violin  James Wannan  viola  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Giuseppe Zangari  guitar

Women's Work

Date: 9 May 2014
Venue: Recital Hall East, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Continuing its 15th birthday celebrations, Halcyon presents a program of English and Australian works by women, revisiting the captivating music of Rosalind Page, Elisabeth Lutyens and Kerry Andrew, exploring the work of Helen Gifford for the first time and premiering a new chamber cycle by Moya Henderson.

Kerry Andrew - fruit songs (2001)
Elisabeth Lutyens - The Valley of Hatsu-Se (1965)
Moya Henderson - Lovely how lives – Ensemble Version (2013) WORLD PREMIERE
Helen Gifford - Spell Against Sorrow (2003)
Rosalind Page - Hrafnsöngvar (Ravensongs) (2005)


Alison Morgan soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano, Laura Chislett Jones flutes, David Rowden clarinet, Alexandre Oguey cor anglais, Geoffrey Gartner cello, Jo Allan piano, Colin Taylor celeste,  Genevieve Lang harp, Ken Murray guitar


Dates: 15 March 2014 and 29 March 2014
Venue: The Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Halcyon proudly presents Kingfisher, Songs for Halcyon - a seminal commissioning project to celebrate 15 years of music making by Australia’s leading ensemble for vocal chamber music.

Featuring newly commissioned songs by Katy AbbottStephen AdamsNigel ButterleySharon CalcraftRoss EdwardsAndrew FordStuart GreenbaumElliott GygerGraham HairMoya HendersonGordon KerryRaffaele MarcellinoKevin MarchRosalind PageJohn PetersonAndrew SchultzPaul StanhopeJane StanleyNicholas VinesDan Walker and Gillian Whitehead.

Click here to read more about the Kingfisher project, and listen to several sample tracks.
This program is also available on CD and as a digital download.

PROGRAM 1 - 15 March 2014
Stuart Greenbaum - Opalescence
Katy Abbott - Follow Me Through the Shadow
Moya Henderson - I Lost a World the Other Day
Nicholas Vines - The King’s Manifesto
Raffaele Marcellino - Turbulent Passions Calm
Paul Stanhope - My Love in Her Attire
John Peterson - See the Prismatic Colours
Ross Edwards - The Tranquil Mind
Elliott Gyger - The Pleiades at Midnight
Stephen Adams - Sometimes Snow Fell...
Kevin March - Sea-blue Bird

Alison Morgan soprano,  Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano,  Laura Chislett Jones piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute,  Jason Noble clarinet, percussion,  Geoffrey Gartner cello,  Jess Ciampa percussion

PROGRAM 2 - 29 March 2014

Andrew Ford - To My Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship
Jane Stanley - Round the Bay
Gillian Whitehead - All One Water
Dan Walker - The Mystic Blue
Nigel Butterley - Nature Changes at the Speed of Life
Gordon Kerry - Music (La Musique)
Andrew Schultz - Lake Moonrise
Sharon Calcraft - Verathmende, Schillernde, Blitzende...
Rosalind Page - Aquila’s Wing
Graham Hair - All About Anna

Alison Morgan soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano, Laura Chislett Jones piccolo, flute, alto flute, Jason Noble clarinet, bass clarinet, Geoffrey Gartner cello, William Jackson percussion

Program 2 recorded for future broadcast by ABC Classic FM

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Halcyon at the Delmar Gallery

Date: 18 February 2014
Venue: Delmar Gallery 144 Victoria St Ashfield

Halcyon is a special guest for the annual Blake Concert. 

Ross Edwards- Maninya I (1986)
John Tavener - Akhmatova Songs (1993)
Michael Finnissy - Motet: Iam mea certa manent from Three Motets, Two Interludes (1991-2006)
Gavin Bryars - Lauda 2 & 21 from Laude Cortonese (2002-2003)
Peter Sculthorpe - Requiem for cello alone (1979)
John Cage - The Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942) and A Flower (1950)
Libby Larsen - Liebeslied from Beloved, Thou Hast Brought Me Many Flowers (1994)

Alison Morgan soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano  Geoffrey Gartner cello

Kingfisher - 15 years of Halcyon celebration

Date: 23 October 2013
Venue: The Sculpture Terrace, Museum of Contemporary Art

An exclusive celebration of 15 years of Halcyon at the Museum of Contemporary Art, overlooking spectacular Sydney Harbour!

An undeniably unique evening, featuring a performance of brand new songs on the museum’s fabulous new Sculpture Terrace. Compered by harpist and friend of the ensemble Genevieve Lang Huppert, this very special event is an opportunity to commemorate 15 years of wonderful music making by Australia’s leading ensemble for contemporary vocal chamber music.

Funds raised from the occasion went on to support Kingfisher – Songs for Halcyon, a major commissioning project comprising 23 new songs by 23 composers, which is now available on CD. This incredible collection of songs represents the cream of vocal composition in Australia today.


Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Laura Chislett Jones  flutes  Diana Springford  clarinets  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Joshua Hill  percussion

The Journeys

Date: 7 September 2013
Venue: The Atrium, NIDA Parade Theatres

Presented by the New Music Network

Halcyon performs two hauntingly beautiful works on the theme of journeying; actual, mythical, legendary, allegorical, solitary.

A project some years in the making, Raffaelle Marcellino's A Strange Kind of Paradise is a response to Monteverdi's famous aria 'Lasciatemi morire', the one remaining remnant of the opera Arianna. Based on the myth of Ariadne, Marcellino's new work explores the melancholy of abandonment and uncanny respite achieved from no longer having the torment of others present – a strange kind of paradise.

Last performed by Halcyon in 2006, Gillian Whitehead's epic Nga Haerenga makes a welcome comeback to the stage. Translated from the Maori as 'journeys', Nga Haerenga tells stories about Kuniya, the Woma python tirelessly travelling through the arid centre of Australia, Kupe canoeing to discover Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Shackleton’s epic voyage across the Antarctic culminating in the destruction of his ship, the Endeavour, crushed in the ice.  Voices and percussion evoke the soundscape of each journey; birds, seals, penguins, the cracking of the ice as the ship succumbs to its end. This exceptional work comes to a profound close with the 9th century Latin poem ‘Clangam Filii’, an allegorical journey of the soul.

Raffaelle Marcellino  - A Strange Kind of Paradise (2013) 
Gillian Whitehead - Nga Haerenga (2000)

Alison Morgan soprano   Belinda Montgomery soprano   Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano   Jo Burton mezzo soprano  Genevieve Lang harp   Claire Edwardes percussion   Tony Llewellyn Jones narrator  Michael Bates visual media  Liz Duck-Chong  visual media

From Afar - Halcyon & austraLYSIS

Date: 24 November 2012
Venue: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Presented by the New Music Network

In a welcome reunion of singers and sound artists, Halcyon and austraLYSIS continue their encounters in voice and electroacoustics, this time joined by freelance sound artist and composer Jon Drummond. Program includes new works by Roger Dean and Jon Drummond.

Morton Feldman - Voices and cello (1973)
Iannis Xenakis - Orient-Occident (1962)
Jon Drummond - Book of Changes III (2012)*
Kaija Saariaho - Lonh (1996)
Roger Dean - Akurra: Lives in a new world (2012)*
* World Premiere

Alison Morgan  soprano  Jo Burton  mezzo soprano  Roger Dean  sound artist  Jon Drummond  sound artist  Geoff Gartner  cello

A Sense of Connection - Halcyon & Acacia Quartet

Date: 31 August 2012
Venue: The New Hall, Sydney Grammar School

Presented in collaboration with Acacia Quartet

A Sense of Connection brings together for the first time ‘new music champions’ Halcyon and Sydney’s newest ensemble, Acacia Quartet. Lovingly programmed by the two ensembles with all the music written in the past decade, the concert celebrates a shared passion for new music and the very personal relationships between the ensembles and the composers who create it.

Program features the Australian premiere of Gordon Kerry’s Goodison Quartet no. 1, the world premiere of Lyle Chan's Mark and Adrian are her sons, Graham Hair's Octet with Voices  and recently recorded works by Elena Kats-Chernin.

Elena Kats-Chernin - Suite from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook (2007)
Gordon Kerry - Goodison Quartet #1: Country Music (2004) ^
Osvaldo Golijov - How Slow the Wind (2001)
Lyle Chan - Mark and Adrian are her sons (2012) *
Graham Hair - Octet with Voices (2005)
* World Premiere   ^ Australian Premiere

Alison Morgan  soprano  Belinda Montgomery  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Jo Burton  mezzo soprano  Lisa Stewart  violin  Myee Clohessy  violin  Stefan Duwe  viola  Kenichi Mizushima  cello

Recorded for future broadcast by ABC Classic FM


Small Wonders

Date: 2 June 2012
Venue: The New Hall, Sydney Grammar School

Featuring works for duos and trios only, Small Wonders highlights the talents of each of our exceptional guest artists, cellist Geoffrey Gartner, pianist Jo Allan and flautist Laura Chislett Jones.  Alongside George Crumb’s brooding Apparition and Morton Feldman’s ethereal voices and cello, there are works by Kerry Andrew, Giorgio Colombo Taccani, Julian Yu and Nicholas Vines, a recent song cycle by Katy Abbott and two new offerings - Lovely How Lives by Moya Henderson and giving voice by Elliott Gyger.   

Currently ensemble in residence at Sydney Grammar School, Halcyon is delighted to present Small Wonders in the school's spectacular New Hall, hewn out of Sydney sandstone.

Morton Feldman - voices and cello (1973) ^
Giorgio Colombo Taccani - Soleil levant (1994)       
Julian Yu - Three Haiku (1987) °
George Crumb - Apparition (1979)
Kerry Andrew - hammock (2008) ^                                      
Katy Abbott - The Domestic Sublime Pt 2 (2011) °
1. Saucer  2. Garlic  3. At the Clothesline
Elliott Gyger - giving voice (2012) *
Nicholas Vines - Jury’s Din (2010) °
Moya Henderson - Lovely how lives (2012) *
1. Lovely how lives  2. Or Just Miss
* World Premiere ^ Australian premiere  ° Sydney premiere

Alison Morgan  soprano  Jenny Duck-Chong  mezzo soprano  Jo Allan  piano  Geoffrey Gartner  cello  Laura Chislett Jones  flute/bass flute

Recorded for future broadcast by ABC Classic FM.