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Sydney Philharmonia Choirs | Dawn Chorus

Photography by Hamilton Lund, courtesy of Sydney Opera House Trust, 2017



Yes, we’re inviting you to head out to the Sydney Opera House in the wee hours of the morning to witness a musical performance at dawn on a Sunday. And whether you’re a morning lark by nature or a night owl who has to stay up all night to see the sunrise, we’re going to make it worth your while.

Picture it now: first light… the horizon tinged with pink as the sun rises over the Heads… the Opera House sails glistening… the granite underfoot is cool, the waters of the harbour are lapping quietly… Sydney Philharmonia Choirs assemble on the Monumental Steps… voices rise as the sun climbs…

In just over an hour of inspirational a cappella music, we’ll be welcoming a new day in the (still) new year – singing the city into 2020. At the same time we’ll be launching our Centenary Season and celebrating the dawn of a new era as we take up our status as a resident company of the Sydney Opera House.

Light, possibility and hope. Our themes are timeless and the music traverses the ages, from the ancient round “Sumer is icumen in” and traditional songs like “Morning Has Broken” to contemporary expressions such as Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and the “Aquarius – Let the Sunshine In” medley from Hair.

We’ve also commissioned young Sydney composer Luke Byrne to write a piece especially for Dawn Chorus and we’ll be premiering Deborah Cheetham’s Tarimi nulay – Long time living here, a choral Acknowledgement to Country, composed in collaboration with Matthew Doyle.

Whether you’re beginning the day or ending the night, join the audience for Dawn Chorus as we sing in a new day, a new season and a new era!

Presented by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Sydney Opera House.

Sunday 19 January 2020, at dawn (arrive by 5:30am)
Sydney Opera House Monumental Steps


Inspirational a cappella music including…
Luke BYRNE Earthrise*
Deborah CHEETHAM & Matthew DOYLE
Tarimi nulay- Long time living here*
Eric William BARNUM & Robert BODE
William BYRD
Sing Joyfully (Psalm 81)
Edward ELGAR (arr. John Cameron)
Lux Aeterna
Lux Aeterna
O Nata Lux
O Radiant Dawn
Morning Star
Dolly PARTON (arr. Craig Hella Johnson)
Light of a Clear Blue Morning
Thomas TALLIS O Nata Lux
ANONYMOUS Sumer is icumen in
TRADITIONAL Scottish, words by Eleanor FARJEON Morning Has Broken
TRADITIONAL Spiritual (arr. Stuart P. O’Neil)
My Lord, What a Morning
John DAVID (arr. Peter Knight)
You Are the New Day

Brett Weymark conductor
Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

This event has now ended