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 2009-2010 and from 2003 to 2012 Erin was a central member of the award-winning Ensemble Caprice (Montreal). As Artistic Director and co-founder of the celebrated Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes (Sydney) he has forged new standards of excellence in historically-informed performance in Australia. He has conducted from the keyboard performances of Purcell’s Fairy Queen (Montreal Baroque Festival), Cavalli’s L’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 Coronation of Poppea (Pinchgut), 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).
Operas under his direction have been awarded Best Opera at the Helpmann Awards for three consecutive years (2015-2017) and in 2017 he was awarded a Helpmann for Best Music Direction for Handel’s Saul at the Adelaide Festival in a fêted revival of a Glyndebourne production directed by Barrie Kosky. As a conductor Erin has distinguished himself in dynamic performances with the Adelaide, Tasmanian, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Haydn Ensemble. Helyard duets in nineteenth-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 Helyard 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. He is currently Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and appears by kind courtesy of that institution.