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Halcyon World Music Institute

Mission statement
Our mission is to provide an intimate space, via concerts and workshops, in which students and lovers of music can connect directly with master musicians and skilled practitioners from the world’s great musical traditions and burgeoning cross-cultural forms.

Program Offerings

  • Retreat workshops (4 days long; 2 or more per year)

  • Masterclasses (3+/- hours long; as scheduled per interest and availability)

  • Concerts (12 per year, including concerts from workshop instructors)

  • Halcyon House Ensemble (1 concert/retreat per year)

  • Halcyon World Music Festival (1 per year)

Workshop/Masterclass values statement
Musical transmission happens beyond books, theory and academic observation.  We at Halcyon believe in sitting with the master and in traditional teaching methods that emphasize the orality of deep musical learning.  This style of musical training asks more of the student than mere specialization and integrates into its subject matter other disciplines and human experience as a whole.

Halcyon aims to provide an environment in which students can sit at the feet of masters of the great traditions and learn from them on their own terms.   We expect our students to respect the traditions, but not to treat them as fixed exotic forms.  We recognize that these traditions are contemporary living entities and we aim to cultivate an environment of discipline, play, experiment, and full-bodied engagement.


  • Thursday through Sunday program at retreat centers in New England

  • Taught by a visiting artist or ensemble

  • Public concert to be given on Saturday night by the artist and accompanying musicians of their choosing


  • Located at Halcyon affiliated venues in Western, MA, and across the New England region or online via Zoom.

  • 3 hour +/- sessions designed by the visiting artist

  • Masterclasses may be paired with an evening concert as part of the concert series

Concert Series

  • Located at Halcyon affiliated venues in Western, MA

Halcyon House Ensemble

  • A collective ensemble of regional musicians who each bring an original composition or repertoire piece

  • Musicians will arrive on Friday evening, rehearse Saturday and Sunday morning and give a public matinee concert on Sunday

  • Ensemble will be provided with meals and lodging Friday through Sunday and will be paid an honorarium (or a proper professional rate if possible)

  • Ensemble will begin by invite only; as it becomes established we will open it to applications

Halcyon World Music Festival

  • An annual music festival lasting a weekend​

Michael Harrist ©meghanireland2019_25_edited.jpg

Founding Director

Michael Harrist

Michael is a New England based musician, educator and concert promoter.  He specializes in contrabass and yaylı tanbur and works with artists in a wide array of traditions including Turkish art and folk music, Jazz, Western Classical, Hindustani and American roots music.  Michael has concertized and taught throughout the Americas and Europe.  As a private music teacher, he tailors to the specific needs of the student while drawing upon a rich background of repertoire and practices.  Michael's desire is to aid the student on the journey to their own innate knowing.

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Managing Director

Robert Bowler or "Beau"

Beau founded Halcyon Arts in 2020 to continue doing what he loves, presenting cultural and educational programs in world music and spirituality. He managed Stone Church Arts, a concert series focused on world music inspired by cellist Eugene Friesen, from 2006 - 2020. He was also the Director of Stone Church Center, a retreat and conference center in Bellows Falls, Vermont. ​

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