Concert archive (1998-2014)

Stay tuned for 2018

when we will celebrate 20 years of Halcyon



'Argema mittrei moth wing scales' © Linden Gledhill

Tuesday 10 October at 6.30pm

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.

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

Date: 10 October 2017
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Tickets:  $25/$15

For bookings or further information click here

Wednesday 15 November at 6pm
A Child of Earth and Heaven

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 voice encapsulates 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.

Date: 15 November 2017
Venue: Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre
Tickets: $39/$29

For bookings or further information click here




April at 5pm

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)

Artists: Jenny Duck-Chong mezzo soprano and Geoffrey Gartner cello

Date: Saturday 16 April at 5pm
Venue: St Bedes Anglican Church, 14 College St, Drummoyne


10 Sept at 5pm

“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 (world premiere)
Andrew Schultz        Paradise (2013)
Roger Smalley          Piano Trio (1991)
Elliott Gyger             Petit Testament (2008)

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

Date: Sept 10 at 5pm
Venue: St Bede’s Anglican Church
14 College St Drummoyne


Special event on Sept 30 at 6pm

In a special behind-the-scenes event, join Halcyon at the final rehearsal of giving voice, alongside composer Elliott Gyger.

Venue:  St Bede's Anglican Church 14 College St Drummoyne
Entry is by donation. 





 18th January


 Alison and Jane Sheldon are performing together in a fabulous program of new music. Don't miss!


 13th June  SOLD OUT


A RHYTHM THAT DANCES: A celebration of the music of Ross Edwards

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.

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

DATE: 13th June at 6.30pm

VENUE: Recital Hall East, Sydney Conservatoirum of Music

For more information click here


Friday 4th September 7.30pm


Image: Moon with a View by Kay Stratman
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.

Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Tickets $35/$25 through Classikon


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

Supported by the New Music Network

Image: Moon with a View by Kay Stratman 11″ x 10”, watercolor on silver shikishi board


Tuesday 15th September  6pm


Ken Murray (guitar) and Jenny Duck-Chong (mezzo soprano) present a recital of Australian songs written for voice and guitar over the past three decades. Featuring Matthew HINDSON’S Insect Songs, Helen GIFFORD’S Spell Against Sorrow, John PETERSON’S Of Quiet Places, Christine MCCOMBE's Halcyon and some Ditties by Andrew SCHULTZ.

Part of the Guitar Perspectives series

Wyselaskie Auditorium, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

This is a FREE event

For more details click here


Thursday 17th September 1pm



Halcyon Halcyon presents a captivating chamber music program for voice, cello and piano by Australian composers Andrew Schultz and Rosalind Page. Includes the Australian premiere of Schultz' Paradise and Prelude and Postscript. 

Artists: Alison Morgan (soprano), Geoffrey Gartner (cello) and Jo Allan (piano)

Io Myers Studio, University of New South Wales Kensington Campus

This is a FREE event. 

For bookings click here.  For more information click here


Saturday November 7th at 7pm


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.

Featuring four new works written especially for the concert

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

Ku-ring-gai Town Hall
1186 Pacific Hwy, Pymble

Tickets: $20/$15
Bookings through Classikon
Enquiries: 02 4736 0164

Artists: 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

Tuesday November 10th at 1.30-3pm

WAR LETTERS Schools Performance



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