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.
The company recently won Best Rediscovered Opera (2019) for Hasse’s Artaserse at the International Opera Awards in London. Operas under his direction have been awarded Best Opera at the Helpmann Awards for three consecutive years (2015-2017). He has received two Helpmann Awards for Best Musical Direction: one for a fêted revival of Saul (Adelaide Festival) in 2017 and the other for Hasse’s Artaserse (Pinchgut Opera) in 2019. Erin has conducted from the keyboard operas by composers as varied as Handel, Vivaldi, Cavalli, Monteverdi, Rameau, Vinci, Hasse, Charpentier, Salieri, and Grétry.
As a conductor Erin has distinguished himself in dynamic performances with the Adelaide, Tasmanian, and Queensland Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Haydn Ensemble. Helyard regularly collaborates with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and duets in nineteenth-century repertoire on historical pianos with renowned Alkan exponent Stephanie McCallum. On fortepiano and harpsichord he was recently 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 and in 2018 was recognised with a Music and Opera Singers Trust Achievement Award (MAA) for contribution to the arts in Australia.