Erin Helyard has been acclaimed as an inspiring conductor, a virtuosic and expressive performer of the harpsichord and fortepiano, and as a lucid scholar who is passionate about promoting discourse between musicology and performance.
Erin graduated in harpsichord performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with ﬁrst-class honours and the University Medal. He completed his Masters in fortepiano performance and a PhD in musicology with Tom Beghin at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal. He was named the Westﬁeld Concert Scholar (Cornell University) on fortepiano for 2009–10 and from 2003 to 2012 was a central member of Montreal’s award-winning Ensemble Caprice.
As Artistic Director and co-founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes Erin
has forged new standards of excellence in historically informed performance in Australia. He has conducted from the keyboard performances of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen (Montréal Baroque Festival), Handel’s Acis and Galatea (NZ Opera), Handel’s Orlando (Hobart Baroque), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Faramondo and Agrippina (Brisbane Baroque), and for Pinchgut Opera: Cavalli’s Ormindo, Purcell’s Dioclesian, Vivaldi’s Griselda, Cavalli’s Giasone, Salieri’s The Chimney Sweep, Vivaldi’s Bajazet, Grétry’s L’Amant jaloux, Handel’s Theodora, Rameau’s Pigmalion and Anacréon, Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and Handel's Athalia. Operas under his direction have been awarded Best Opera at the Helpmann Awards for three consecutive years (2015–17) and in 2017 he was awarded a Helpmann Award for Best Music Direction for Handel’s Saul at the Adelaide Festival in a fêted revival of a Glyndebourne production directed by Barrie Kosky. Erin has also distinguished himself directing dynamic performances with the Adelaide, Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Haydn Ensemble.
Erin duets in 19th-century repertoire on historical pianos with renowned Alkan exponent Stephanie McCallum and on fortepiano and harpsichord he has recently been described as ‘Australia’s most engaging soloist’ by Limelight magazine. In 2017 Erin was awarded a major Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for a collaborative project entitled Performing Transdisciplinarity: Image, Music and Text in Eighteenth-Century Print Culture.
Erin conducts our upcoming productions of Hasse's Artaserse, Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses and Vivaldi's Farnace, as well as both concerts in our 2019 season.