Luminescence Chamber Singers

Luminescence Chamber Singers

Luminescence Chamber Singers is a professional vocal ensemble based in Canberra, Australia.  Typically performing unconducted and unaccompanied, the Chamber Singers perform a wide range of repertoire from the Renaissance to the 21st century, and frequently premiere new music by Australian composers, including composers within their 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).

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 Akadamie Australia. In 2018,  Luminescence Chamber Singers joined Amelia Farrugia and Tamara Anna Cislowska in DIVA! at the City Recital Hall (Sydney) with  as well as at the National Gallery of Australia for the Flowers of War production, ‘The Lost Jewels’.   In 2020, Luminescence joined forced with the Canberra International Music Festival to present 'A Luminous Christmas' - three day 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 performig the world premier of Jess Green's 'We Are The Skywhales', as well as in the Flowers of War premier of Vietnam Requiem.

Photographer: Hilary Wardhaugh

AJ AMERICA | 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. 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. In 2012, both her vocal performances and choral composition were nominated for Encore.

AJ appears regularly as a soloist and a consort singer in Sydney and Canberra, performing 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.

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VERONICA MIRLOY | Soprano

Soprano, pianist & chamber musician, Veronica grew up in regional NSW and studied at the Mitchell Conservatorium. She was a member of Gondwana Choirs from 2003 – 2017 and has toured both nationally and internationally across the UK & Europe, the USA, and New Zealand. In 2014, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Voice) from the ANU School of Music under the tutelage of Alan Hicks & Louise Page OAM.

An experienced consort singer, Veronica performs with the Luminescence Chamber Singers (Canberra), Coro (Canberra) and the Choir of St James’ King Street (Sydney). Veronica has been an educator for nearly 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) . In addition to performing with the Chamber Singers, Veronica is the pianist for Luminescence Children's Choir and was a founding member of the Luminescence Board of Directors.

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RACHEL MINK | Soprano

Rachel Mink, soprano, is a versatile artist interested in music that inspires connection. A singer-songwriter turned classical singer, Rachel enjoys genre-bending work and is committed to accessibility in classical music. In addition to performing with Luminescence, Rachel is a 2021 Pacific Opera Young Artist. Her engagements for 2021 include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Marzelline in Fidelio, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, and Spirit in Gustav Holst's Savriti. She is a chorus member with Victorian Opera.

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.

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.

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 womxn.

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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.

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JACK STEPHENS | Bass

Sydney-born bass, Jack has worked in extensively in Australia and overseas as a soloist and ensemble singer. 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. He works as the Assistant Director of Music at St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir, working alongside Ross Cobb. Whilst at St Andrew’s Cathedral, he has been the bass soloist in numerous Bach cantatas with a period orchestra, as well as conducted the choir on a number of occasions, including at the Sydney Town Hall. He also works extensively with the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence and St Mary’s Cathedral Choir Sydney. Jack is on the Board of the Royal School of Church Music NSW, and in July 2019 organised their SydneyinSpires conference, bringing together hundreds of singers and conductors from across the world. He is currently studying a Doctorate at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, supervised by Dr Erin Helyard and Dr Rowena Cowley, looking at Regietheater and its application to the staging of Bach’s cantatas.

Jack has performed across Australia, including with Cantillation, St George’s Cathedral Consort, and West Australian Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist in Gounod’s Requiem at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne with Victoria Chorale, in Schubert’s Mass in G with the Choir of St Mark’s Darling Point, and was the bass soloist in the world-premiere arrangement of Alice Chance’s Fiat Lux with chorus and orchestra.

Jack is the Artistic Director and Producer of Opera in the Quad. He also producers and performs in a regular concert series of Bach cantatas. Upcoming performances include a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for Albury Chamber Music Festival, where he will perform as the Sorcerer, alongside Sally-Anne Russell, Andrew Goodwin and Janet Todd. 

In addition to performing as a singer, Jack also plays the French Horn, having been awarded his AMusA with Distinction. 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.

 

 

Luminescence Chamber Singers at the High Court.
Luminescence Chamber Singers at CIMF 2019 (Photo: Peter Hislop)