Concert #3

Luminescence Chamber Singers

Luminescence Chamber Singers is a vocal ensemble based on Ngunnawal and Nambri country [Canberra, Australia]. Luminescence gives voice to human experiences of all kinds, and performs a wide range of repertoire from the Renaissance to the 21st century. We frequently premiere new music by Australian composers, including composers within our own ranks.  Luminescence is also the umbrella organisation for the Luminescence Children's Choir.

Since 2015, Luminescence has performed extensively in Canberra and the surrounding regions, presenting an annual concert program as well as appearing for a range of festivals, collaborations and special events. Highlights have included performances at the High Court of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, and Parliament House, as well as appearances for the Performing the Jewish Archives Festival (Sydney, 2017) Enlighten Festival (2018), Four Winds Festival (Bermagui, 2019; 2020).

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Luminescence with Roland Peelman             Image© Hilary Wardhaugh

For further info visit:
www.luminescence.org.au

Since 2017, Luminescence has appeared annually at the Canberra International Music Festival, performing in over 10 festival programs including the world premiere performance of the 2017 Opening Gala Betty Beaver commission, alongside William Barton and Clive Birch. Festival appearances have included collaborations with Ensemble Offspring, the Song Company, and Bach Akademie Australia. In 2018, Luminescence Chamber Singers joined Amelia Farrugia and Tamara Anna Cislowska in DIVA! at the City Recital Hall (Sydney) as well as at the National Gallery of Australia for the Flowers of War production, ‘The Lost Jewels’.   In 2020, Luminescence joined forces with the Canberra International Music Festival to present 'A Luminous Christmas' - three days of music for the festive season, including new arrangements of well-known carols and Britten's Ceremony of Carols.

In 2021, Luminescence Chamber Singers' engagements have included performances of David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion, Gordon Hamilton's Mozart Recomposed, and salon concerts for Musica Viva. Luminescence Children's Choir appeared at multiple performances of the National Gallery of Australia's Every Heart Sings project performing the world premiere of Jess Green's 'We Are The Skywhales', as well as in the Flowers of War premier of Vietnam Requiem.    

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Image © Hilary Wardhaugh

AJ America

Artistic Director / Mezzo Soprano 

AJ is a performer, conductor and creative producer. She is the Artistic Director and founder of Luminescence Chamber Singers and Children's Choir, and currently serves as Deputy Chair of the Minister’s Creative Council.

AJ grew up in Sydney as a member of the Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices and has toured nationally as well as across the USA, Canada, China and New Zealand. She has recorded for a number of Australian film soundtracks, including as a soloist for PJ Hogan’s Mental and Baz Luhrman’s Australia. AJ performs regularly as a soloist and a consort singer in Sydney and Canberra, appearing with the Luminescence Chamber Singers, the Choir of St James’ King St, Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera and Vox Plexus (Melbourne).

She is a regular collaborator with pianist Ella Luhtasaari and guitarist Minh Le Hoang, and a member of Ampleya, a multimedia collaboration with pianist and composer Rasa Daukis and visual artist Genevieve Swifte.

 

In recent years, AJ has also served as the Musical Director of Canberra Community Chorale, the ANU School of Music H-Course Vocal Ensemble, and Director of Choirs at Radford College. In her spare time, AJ is a casual academic with strong ties to the Australian National University. In 2017, AJ completed her PhB with Honours in History. She has taught 20th Century European History at the ANU, is a contributor to the recently published Cambridge University Press NSW Year 9-10 History Textbook, and has worked as a research assistant for a number of pre-eminent historians and social scientists, including Rosanne Kennedy and Joy Damousi.

Veronica Milroy - Soprano / Pianist

An experienced consort singer, Veronica performs with Luminescence Chamber Singers, Coro, and the Choir of St James’ King Street. Veronica has toured both nationally and internationally across the UK & Europe, the USA, and New Zealand.

Veronica has been an educator for over a decade and has worked as a singing tutor, accompanist and director with many organisations across Canberra & Central Western NSW, as well as the Rhapsody Rotorua Festival (New Zealand).

 

She is currently the Associate Artistic Director of the Luminescence Children’s Choir, and teaches privately from her studio in Canberra.

Image © Hilary Wardhaugh

Image © Hilary Wardhaugh

Rachel Mink - Soprano

Rachel Mink, soprano, is a versatile artist interested in music that inspires connection. A singer-songwriter turned opera singer, Rachel enjoys genre-bending work and is committed to accessibility in classical music. 

Rachel joined Luminescence Chamber Singers in 2021. In addition to performing with Luminescence, Rachel is a 2021 Pacific Opera Young Artist, and a chorus member of Victorian Opera.

Her 2021 engagements include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marzelline in Fidelio, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, and Spirit in Gustav Holst's Savitri. In June, she was a soloist for Flowers of War's Vietnam Requiem in Canberra, where she premiered a new work by Elena Katz-Chernin. Last season, Rachel sang the role of Émilie in Peabody's “Now Hear This” presentation of Kaija Saariaho's Émilie. Highlights of her previous operatic credits include Colin in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s opera Le Devin du Village, Belinda and the First Witch in Dido and Aeneas, and Zirphile (cover) in the American premiere of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Sympathy with Victory Hall Opera. As an active opera chorus member with Charlottesville Opera, she performed in La Traviata and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

In concert, Rachel has performed as a soloist with the University of Virginia University Singers, University Chamber Singers, and Oratorio Society of Virginia. In February 2020, Rachel had the distinct pleasure of premiering two new vocal works in concert: the song cycle “Breach” by B.K. Zervigon for piano and voice and “The Moon” by Aaron Mencher for voice and string quartet.

 In masterclasses, Rachel has had the honor of working with Renée Fleming, Karita Mattila, Danielle Talamantes, and Rachelle Fleming. Rachel is a multi-year finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competitions in the state of Virginia; in 2018, she won her division.

Originally hailing from the USA, Rachel is a dual master’s candidate in Vocal Performance and Musicology at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland studying in the studio of Ah Young Hong. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in music and arts administration, where she studied with Pamela Beasley.  While an undergraduate, Rachel studied vocal performance in Vienna, Austria and Florence, Italy, and was an active member of many ensembles, including the University Singers and Hoos in Treble, an all-female a cappella group.  In addition to performance, she has worked as an arts administrator for Charlottesville Opera, Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, Delaware Arts Alliance, Salon Schräg, and the UVA Architecture School.

 

Outside of classical music, Rachel is a certified yoga teacher and avid library-goer. In her spare time, she works as a fundraising professional for the Boulanger Initiative, a non-profit committed to promoting music composed by women.

Jack Stephens – Bass 

Sydney-born bass, Jack Stephens has worked extensively in Australia and overseas as a soloist and ensemble singer. Jack is the Director of Music at St Paul’s College (within the University of Sydney) and works as the Principal Lay Clerk at St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir.

 

Jack sings regularly with St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and Cantallation, and is on the Committee of the Royal School of Church Music NSW, in July 2019 organising their SydneyinSpires conference. He is currently studying a Doctorate at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, supervised by Dr Erin Helyard, looking at Regietheater and its application to the staging of Bach’s Passions and cantatas. Jack is a core member of the Canberra-based consort Luminescence Chamber Singers and has performed at the Canberra International Music Festival and the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui.

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Image © Hilary Wardhaugh

In 2020 Jack was a Reserve Finalist for the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria Competition, and in 2021 won the Audience Prize at the Sydney Cantorion Singing Competition. Jack is the Artistic Director and Producer of Opera in the Quad, which recently presented Purcell’s ‘King Arthur’, narrated by Peter Cousens. 

Whilst living in the UK, Jack performed under the direction of Nigel Short and Ralph Allwood, and took lessons with David Lowe and Sarah Walker. In 2019 he performed in Hannover with the Konzertchor Kleefeld and the Stadtkantorei Gehren in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang. Jack has worked extensively with David Hill MBE, John Rutter CBE, Barry Rose OBE, Prof Noël Tredinnick BEM, Stephen Darlington MBE, and Thomas Ospital. Jack has performed extensively across Europe, including at The Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral London, St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle, King’s College Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, Snape Maltings, Saint-Eustache Paris, La Madeleine, Sienna Duomo and San Marco Basilica Venice, he has also made recordings for broadcast on the BBC and ABC. 

In addition to performing as a singer, Jack also plays the French Horn, and in 2014 was named the Suffolk UK Wind Champion. In 2018, Jack was a concerto soloist alongside Robert Johnson (Principal Horn of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra) in Schumann’s Konzertstück (Concerto for Four Horns) and in 2018 was the winner of the Ryde Multi-Instrumentalist Eisteddfod. In 2017, Jack was featured on Channel 9’s True Story with Hamish and Andy involving tales of musical tragedy and triumph, where an event in his life was recreated by comedians such as Kitty Flanagan and Ed Kavalee in the episode titled: “Jack’s French Horn” viewed by millions across the world.

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Image © Hilary Wardhaugh

Dan Walker – Tenor

Composer, conductor and performer Dan Walker is one of Australia’s most in-demand choral specialists. He has had works commissioned by the Sydney Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Gondwana Choirs and Halcyon.

 

As a performer, Dan is a member of numerous professional vocal ensembles, including Luminescence Chamber Singers, The Consort of Melbourne, Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera, and the Song Company. He was a founding member of early music ensemble ‘The Parson’s Affayre’. 

 

He is a keenly sought-after conductor, appearing as chorus-master for Canberra Choral Society, the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Choruses, and is Artistic Director of Oriana Chorale, as well as Canberra Community Chorale.