Founded in 1998 by singers Alison Morgan (soprano) and Jenny Duck-Chong (mezzo soprano), Halcyon is the only Australian ensemble dedicated to the performance of new and recent music for voice and instruments.
Halcyon draws together some of Australia's most esteemed chamber soloists, conductors and singers, in diverse programs of chamber music from across the globe. Adventurous and sophisticated programming makes every Halcyon performance a dynamic musical experience and an opportunity to hear a wide range of music by living composers, with a special commitment to performing Australian works. Halcyon has developed a core group of singers and instrumentalists but is flexible in its personnel, utilising a varied collective of players for each project.
In recent years Halcyon has emerged as an internationally recognised driving force in the promotion of new chamber music for voice, establishing a critically acclaimed concert series, commissioning and premiering numerous works by young and established composers and directing young composer workshops. The ensemble has performed in grand houses, art galleries, recital halls, at award ceremonies and festivals, held masterclasses for school and tertiary students and collaborated with many outstanding artists and ensembles. Halcyon was a winner in the 2007 ABC Limelight Awards and finalist for the 2007 & 2008 Classical Music Awards.
In 2007, Halcyon was instrumental in mounting one of the most exciting and well-attended new music performances on the Sydney event calendar, joining with Synergy and Ensemble Offspring to present Tehillim alongside works by Ligeti, Vivier and a new commission by Australian Damien Ricketson. Projects for 2008 included performances at the Four Winds Festival (Bermagui) and the Aurora Festival (Western Sydney, a celebratory performance in September to mark the ensemble’s 10th Birthday and a CD release, Cool Black, featuring the music of award winning composer Rosalind Page. In 2009, Halcyon performed Reich’s Tehillim at the Melbourne Recital Centre, appeared at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and in the House Music series at Government House Sydney as well as presenting their own concert series.
Soprano Alison Morgan is one of Australia's foremost interpreters of contemporary vocal music. As well as co-directing and performing with Halcyon, she has performed as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Pinchgut Opera, The Song Company, Ensemble Offspring and Cantillation, with whom she has featured in numerous recording projects for ABC Classics.
As co-artistic director of Halcyon, Alison has been instrumental in commissioning and performing a wealth of new Australian chamber music, most recently premiering the works of Australian composers Rosalind Page, Katy Abbott, Kevin March, Nigel Butterley, Graham Hair and Dan Walker. She gave the first performance of the song cycle Sonetos del amor oscuro by Sydney composer Rosalind Page in 2004, which went on to win the Paul Lowin Song-Cycle prize and features on Halcyon’s CD, Cool Black.
Solo performances of new music in 2008 included George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children for Halcyon’s 10th Birthday concert in 2008, Gavin Bryars’ Adnan Songbook and Damien Ricketson's A Line has Two with Ensemble Offspring at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival.
In 2009 Alison has appeared with Halcyon at the Melbourne Recital Centre in Steve Reich’s Tehillim, again at the Canberra Chamber Music Festival and in Opera Australia’s chorus for the Baroque Masterpieces program.
Mezzo soprano Jenny Duck-Chong has established herself as a versatile and intelligent musician and is sought after by Sydney's finest vocal ensembles and has performed extensively with 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.
Performance highlights include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Jane Glover and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Orchestra, Gubaidulina’s Now Always Snow with Reinbert de Leeuw, the Sydney Symphony and Cantillation and Berio’s Sinfonia with Kevin Field, the Song Company and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Malaysia and numerous performances of Steve Reich’s Tehillim Sydney, Bermagui and Melbourne.
Active in the field of new music, she is the secretary of the New Music Network and the co-founder of Halcyon, with whom she has premiered numerous Australian and international works by both acclaimed and emerging composers including Anne Boyd, Nigel Butterley, Ross Edwards, Graham Hair, Elliott Gyger, Rosalind Page, Gillian Whitehead, Kaija Saariaho, Michael Berkeley, Michael Finnissy, Gabriel Erkoreka, Sally Beamish, Melissa Hui and Kerry Andrew. She has featured as a soloist for ABC Classics and Walsingham as well as in several film and TV scores and numerous other recordings with Cantillation, the Song Company and Halcyon’s own recordings.
Presskit pack (11.7mb)
Halcyon bio - pdf (1.9mb)
Halcyon bio - word doc (425 kb)
Please contact us for further information