29 January 2021
Ensemble Offspring: Lone Hemispheres - Solo Sessions
Ensemble Offspring, like just about every other performing ensemble, had to adjust to a different reality in 2020. With very limited live performance opportunities for much of the year, the musicians put some of their energies into recording and producing 12 solo works for online delivery. The 'Lone Hemispheres - Solo Sessions' series, sponsored by a grant from City of Sydney, features Australian works by Andrew Ford, Liza Lim, Cathy Milliken, Kate Moore, Alex Pozniak, Kate Neal and Christopher Tonkin. Ensemble Offspring's artists introduce some of these works and the project - for the whole series, see the YouTube Channel.
'When the pandemic hit, myself and the members of Ensemble Offspring found ourselves suddenly without performance opportunities for the bulk of 2020. We were very fortunate to get funding for a digital version of our solo series 'Lone Hemispheres'. With the support of City of Sydney and Create NSW, we all had a reason to practise again. We booked Baker Street Studios and got the amazing Michelle St Anne on board for creative direction, and Matt McGuigan on video. Our crack team came up with something quite unique and visually stark, with a varied array of Australian and international solo instrumental works', Offspring's Artistic director Claire Edwardes explains.
Liza Lim - Bioluminescence
"Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. As the world shut down this year, there was something about these little creatures that kept reaching out to me. Reports of its occurrence in Jervis Bay in the height of the bushfires; the release of Julia Baird's new book Phosphorescence, On Awe, Wonder And Things That Sustain You When The World Goes Dark; then a young composer/flute player Sean Quinn shared on Facebook his recording of Liza Lim's beautiful piece Bioluminescence. It seemed to be the piece for 2020! I found making sense of the sounds and drawing the light out of the dots on the page did really challenge and sustain me through the darkness."
> Bioluminescence - work information and sheet music (AMC Online)
Kate Neal - Canyon 1205
"When I perform Kate Neal/Grischa Lichtenberger's Canyon 1205, I feel as though I am being electrified by high-voltage artistic current. This magnetic new work is a testament to what is possible when the worlds of electronica and art music collide. As a project, 'Lone Hemispheres' is a tour de force of strength and versatility. To see my friends thrive as individual artists is wonderful, and even though we cannot perform together at this time, the ingenuity of Ensemble Offspring brings to life yet another important project we will all cherish."
Blair Harris, cellist
Cathy Milliken - Crie
"A woman starkly etched against a white background, her intense cry, her bow drawn quietly across the taut string of her violin. Veronique lends exquisite poignancy and depth to her performance of Crie. It is her unique artistry and sense of the physical shape of sound - almost Grotowsky like - that give the strength and yet fragility that I envisaged for this piece."
Cathy Milliken, composer
"Lone Hemispheres - a creative unravelling. This project mirrored how I felt at the height of the lockdown - a lone musician tied to my colleagues by a messy cable -grateful to create solace through the exploration of sound."
Véronique Serret, violinist
Andrew Ford - Hook
"When COVID hit, my premiere of Hook at Bowral Autumn Music Festival was cancelled. Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring, my vibraphone solo by Andy had been developed over a period of time. So when it came to the day of recording it was a pretty smooth affair. I love Andy's piece for its idiomatic vibraphone writing but also the inimitable way in which he combines melody with rhythm and harmony in such an integrated manner, which makes it super satisfying, yet also challenging, to play. It is all at once still and active, calm and energetic. Andy really captures a huge gamut of emotions in Hook - almost all those we were going through during COVID! In my view Hook is a new Australian repertoire piece for vibraphone for this reason and I was so happy to be able to document it as part of Lone Hemispheres in the middle of 2020."
Claire Edwardes, percussionist
> Hook - work information and sheet music (AMC Online)
> Ensemble Offspring: 'Lone Hemispheres' (YouTube)
© Australian Music Centre (2021) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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