The Westfield Center is proud to announce that the 2009-2010 Concert Scholarship has been awarded to fortepianist Erin Helyard. Erin is currently working towards a Ph.D. in musicology at McGill, studying with Tom Beghin. He proposed a project centering on Muzio Clementi, the “Father of the Pianoforte”, and a fascinating combination of virtuoso performer, composer, pedagogue, industrialist and publisher. Erin plans to use the opportunities offered by Westfield to perform recitals that present two versions of sonatas from Clementi’s Op. 2 on two different keyboard instruments of the time — ideally a large English two-manual harpsichord and an English 6-octave piano.
We had a number of excellent nominations this year (with organ, harpsichord and fortepiano represented — we hope to see some clavichord nominations next year!), and the level was very high. Erin's project particularly impressed the selection committee with the cogency of its concept, as well as the quality of the playing on his CD. His proposal reflects the ideal of the "scholar-performer" and his concerts promise to be both exciting and illuminating. The English school of piano playing has been comparatively neglected by the fortepiano revival, and the juxtaposition of English piano and harpsichord — focused on the figure of Clementi — is an interesting twist.
Ideally, Erin would have a Clementi or Broadwood piano, and a Kirckman or Schudi & Broadwood harpsichord. This combination may be difficult to find (and we'd welcome input from Westfield Center members), but Erin feels the program can be presented successfully with any large two- manual harpsichord. We look forward to announcing venues and dates in due course. Many congratulations to Erin!
— Westfield Concert Scholar Selection Committee (Paul Tegels [Chair], David Breitman, Annette Richards, James Weaver)
A native of Australia, Erin Helyard graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with first class honours and the University Medal and was additionally awarded the inaugural Lenore Buckle Scholarship for Music. Erin studied harpsichord with Paul Dyer, Ray Harvey and Stephanie McCallum and for his postgraduate studies in Canada he was awarded the 2003 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, the Boulton Postgraduate Scholarship, the Eleanor Sophia Wood Postgraduate Research Travelling Scholarship and the J. W. McConnell Memorial Fellowship. Erin completed his Masters in fortepiano performance at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montréal in 2005. Pursuing a passion for the music and culture of the eighteenth century and the ideals of the Enlightenment, he is currently undertaking a PhD in Musicology at the same institution under the supervision of Tom Beghin.
Together with violinist Anna McDonald, Erin has been an artistic director of the Sirius Ensemble. He was Principal Continuo with the Australian Chamber Orchestra from 1999 to 2003, and was assistant music director to Richard Tognetti for the 2001 Sydney Festival's production of Mozart's Mitridate. Erin is a founder and co-artistic director of the acclaimed Sydney-based chamber opera company, Pinchgut Opera, and is a central founding member of the Orchestra of the Antipodes. Erin was assistant conductor under Antony Walker for Rameau’s Dardanus (Wolf Trap Opera), Handel’s Semele, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Charpentier’s David et Jonathas (Pinchgut Opera) and directed the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from the harpsichord in 2003. He has also participated in numerous recordings for ABC Classics, including a soon-to-be-released collection of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos recorded partly under his direction.
Since arriving in Montréal in 2003 he has performed in the Festival Montréal Baroque, with the Theatre of Early Music with Daniel Taylor, Les Violons du Roy, Autour de la flûte and Opéra de Montréal. He is a central member of the award-winning Ensemble Caprice under the artistic directorship of Matthias Maute and Sophie Larivière. In partnership with fortepianist Tom Beghin, engagements for 2006 included performances of the Mozart two-piano concerto with Ensemble Arion and a presentation of a musical play based on the 1781 competition between Mozart and Clementi for the Festival van Vlaanderen Brugge. Erin conducted Les Violons du Roy in Christmas 2006 in concerts featuring soprano Hélène Guilmette and is featured on Ensemble Caprice’s latest releases on Analekta, including the Juno Award winning Vivaldi’s Angels. In 2009 Erin conducts Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for Festival Montréal Baroque and Cavalli’s L’Ormindo for Pinchgut Opera, Sydney.
The Westfield Concert Scholar program is an initiative of the John Ernest Foundation.