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Ensemble Offspring

Random Audio Sample: Six fish (quintets: flute, clarinet, percussion, violin, cello) by Nigel Westlake, from the CD Classic Kids: Sounds Like Australia

Ensemble Offspring are champions of new music. Presenting concerts of seminal chamber music to free improvisation, alongside the creation of striking interdisciplinary productions, the group embraces open-minded music making in all its forms.

Ensemble Offspring is led by acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes, and features some of Australia's most innovative performers. The group has toured to locations such as Hong Kong, London and Warsaw, are regularly featured at MONA FOMA, Sydney and Melbourne Festivals, and have a cult following at their Sizzle series at Petersham Bowling Club.

Passionate about nurturing the work of emerging, as well as established composers, Ensemble Offspring has premiered over 200 works in its 23-year history.

Articles by and about Ensemble Offspring

24 Dec 2008 Ensemble Offspring: To the Max by Benjamin Millar

The cavernous Carriageworks foyer greets audiences with splashes of bold modernity slotted alongside time-capsule echoes of near-forgotten industry. If the 21st century is settling into an aesthetic, it appears to be this – not obliteration of the past through fetishisation of the new, nor a desperate attempt to preserve a past slipping from our grasp as we attempt to clutch it. This compromise between the old and the new, original form and necessary function, mirrors a struggle music presents every time a composer sits to write – the weight of history pushing back, the imperative that drives them to break or break through.

31 Jul 2007 Hear the World Differently – Ensemble Offspring by Damien Ricketson

If the world isn’t ready for your music, don’t change your music, change the world that listens to it...

25 May 2009 Claire Edwardes - Coming a full circle by Anni Heino

A dozen or so years ago, Claire Edwardes was a talented young woman studying percussion at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and performing as part of the newly-founded 'Spring Ensemble'. In 2009, with a wealth of experience under her belt, she is working with young composers from the Sydney Conservatorium as part of the Kammerklang initiative – and remembering her own immersion into contemporary music as an opinionated, second-year student...

4 Jun 2009 Ensemble Offspring - Thirteen Colours by Phil Vendy

Ensemble Offspring opened the New Music Network 2009 season on the first wintry night of the year, presenting a memorable program of five works that banished all thoughts of being cold and wet. Their program was an enlightening and transporting one, free of the familiar or predictable, which held the audience attentive in silent concentration throughout. The music came from two Australian composers, Bozidar Kos and Christopher Tonkin; two French, linguist-turned-composer Tristan Murail and the late Gérard Grisey; and one American, John Luther Adams...

4 May 2011 Winners of the inaugural Art Music Awards announced by Australian Music Centre

Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre (AMC) have announced the winners of the inaugural Art Music Awards, the only national event in Australia to acknowledge the enormous achievement and creative successes of Australian performers and composers in the genres of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music.

The gala event held at the Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay on Tuesday 3rd May 2011 honoured winners across nine national categories and seven State Awards, spanning performance, composition, outstanding contributions to Australian music by individuals and organisations, music education and regional music. An additional Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music, as determined by the Board of Directors of APRA and the AMC, was also presented.

24 May 2012 Trans-Tasman Residency : Michael Norris and Ensemble Offspring by Damien Ricketson

The Trans-Tasman Composer Residency Exchange is a partnership between SOUNZ Centre for New Zealand Music, and the Australian Music Centre, to facilitate opportunities for Australian and New Zealand composers and ensembles.

Damien Ricketson, Co Artistic Director of Sydney-based Ensemble Offspring, talks about their involvement in the most recent incarnation of the project, working with New Zealand composer Michael Norris.

29 Oct 2007 A Compendium of Cage: Whales, Mushrooms and Hymns by Melissa Lesnie

A daylong exploration of John Cage’s unique sound aesthetic makes for a revelatory concert-going experience. The shared vision of Ensemble Offspring and Song Company has yielded an imaginative project, marking the 15 th anniversary of the composer’s death and celebrating the impact of his philosophies on subsequent generations of musicians and artists...

25 Sep 2012 Trans-Tasman Residency is a rare bird by Michael Norris

'The concert itself was packed to the gunwales, a fantastic result for Ensemble Offspring showing that contemporary music is developing a strong following in Sydney (how I wished Stroma would get such an audience!). I was very happy with the performance of Save Yourself and the overall level of musicianship was world-class; long may the EO reign!'

27 Sep 2012 Insight: SILVA – Something from nothing by Mary Finsterer

Something composers rarely discuss in an open way is the fear of having no ideas. There’s both an excitement and horror attached to it – like waiting for a light to shine while staring into an abyss. The only time I have had open discussions about this topic is when I am in the role of a teacher, which of course allows the student a safe environment to face the feeling of emptiness and of feeling small in front of the massive task that unavoidably lies ahead...

25 Jun 2014 Composer & performer news, June 2014 by Anni Heino

Our bulletin from the composing/performing world, with new releases, performance news, awards. Featuring: Kate Moore, Kevin March, Elena Kats-Chernin, Liza Lim, Ross Edwards, Ros Bandt, Andrián Pertout, Gerard Brophy, David Harris, David Kotlowy, Elliott Gyger, Alice Chance, Kristian Ireland, Brett, Dean, Andrew Schultz, Chris Williams, Larry Sitsky, Andrea Keller, Alister Spence, and Cat Hope, among others.

See our Scoop page with more reviews of current concerts and CDs with Australian music...

31 Jul 2014 2014 Art Music Awards - finalists by Australian Music Centre

APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) and the Australian Music Centre are proud to announce the finalists for the 2014 Art Music Awards. Once again, the hard work by judging panels has produced a strong as well as varied list of finalists, with all the ingredients of an exciting awards night: established names as well as up-and-coming artists, women as well as men, intimate pieces as well as dramatic works requiring big forces and spacious venues, solo works and projects as well as collaborations.

30 Sep 2014 Ensemble Offspring & Hatched Academy by Janine Marshman

In 2014, Ensemble Offspring launched the Hatched Academy, in which one emerging performer and one emerging composer were given the opportunity to be mentored by artistic directors Claire Edwardes and Damien Ricketson. The inaugural participants of the program were two artists with a background in jazz: trumpeter Callum G'Froerer and composer-saxophonist Jeremy Rose, who have now been able to experience first-hand what it's like to be immersed in the inner workings Ensemble Offspring.

27 Sep 2015 Twenty Ears: Ensemble Offspring celebrates by Damien Ricketson

'We were on a high. We had to do more. Spring Ensemble was born.' Damien Ricketson looks back at Ensemble Offspring's 20 years and its early days as 'Spring Ensemble'. Offspring celebrates with two Future Retro concerts on 25 October

31 Mar 2017 AMPlify ICI workshop: 'Looking forward to seeing where this music goes' by Christopher Sainsbury

The first workshop of the AMPlify Indigenous Composer Initiative took place at Eora College in March 2017, with participants having a chance to hear their works-in-progress realised live by musicians from Ensemble Offspring. Works by Elizabeth Sheppard, Brenda Gifford, Troy Russell, and Rhyan Clapham incorporate elements of language and landscape, with differing narratives driving the musical thinking. In contrast, Tim Gray’s piece depicts scenes from an imaginary horror movie, very effectively rendered. One of the workshop's two facilitators, Chris Sainsbury, reports.

18 Apr 2018 River Life – Baiame’s Ngunnhu Festival in Brewarrina by Troy Russell, Claire Edwardes, Jason Noble, Freya Schack-Arnott and Lamorna Nightingale

4 members of Ensemble Offpsring report from Baiame's Ngunnhu Festival in Brewarrina NSW. This unique event is run by Moogahlin Performing Arts, and this April it included a performance of the new works completed last year as part of the AMPlify Indigenous Composer Initiative artist development program.

Composer Troy Russell captured the atmosphere fittingly in this paragraph: Down by the riverside, in the tranquillity of the fish traps, music was played. Everyone was taken in some form or another, as the children stopped to listen and the elders bent their ears, a smile and a knowing look to each other reminded them of their day at the river. I watched young children play down by the weir, building their own memories, as my pieces were performed. The view was fitting. One boy ran the whole length of the weir easily, and the musical passages kept up with him as he slipped and skidded and splashed as he ran along.

22 May 2019 Australians shine at Classical:NEXT 2019 in Rotterdam by Cameron Lam

Classical:NEXT descends upon De Doelen in Rotterdam once a year, bringing with it hundreds of performers, composers, arts administrators, and companies from all over the world. This year that number included 24 Australians, between them presenting three showcases, a project pitch, and percussionist/artistic director Claire Edwardes chairing a panel on gender equity - in addition to the multitude of meetings, networking events and mentoring sessions

17 Mar 2020 $90K Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award to Ensemble Offspring by Australian Music Centre

Sydney-based Ensemble Offspring has won the $90K Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award. Other winners this time around include the Berlin-based director Barrie Kosky, known for his remarkable and daring interpretations of both new and older operatic works, for the Individual Award ($60K); and editor, presenter and steadfast supporter of the arts, Richard Watts (Victoria) for the Facilitator's Prize ($25K). The announcement was made in Melbourne earlier this month.

World premieres given by Ensemble Offspring

Waiting to turn into puzzles (audiovisual work) by David Young— (Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney)

Vespers for Mother Earth (octets: 8 voices) by Ross Edwards— 23 Jun 24 (City Recital Hall)

Joyful Melodies : chamber ensemble by Kate Moore— 23 Mar 24 (The Neilson, ACO, NSW)

Infused with Silent Voices : for flute, vibraphone, guitar and cello by Christine Pan— 23 Oct 23 (The Church, Alexandria, NSW)

Hadrian : for flute, clarinet, percussion & video by Eve Klein— 4 Jun 22 (Casula Powerhouse, NSW)

Shadows Hold their Breath : for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and percussion by Nirmali Fenn— 4 Jun 22 (Casula Powerhouse, NSW)

The Visitor : (sorry, I can’t stay) by Alice Humphries— 12 Mar 22 (Private home in Ashfield, NSW, NSW)

Click Farm by Nicole Murphy— 28 Oct 21 (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room, NSW)

Memory : for flute solo and ensemble by Jack Symonds— 28 Oct 21 (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room, NSW)

Just outside Van..... : in 4 movements by Gerard Brophy— 8 Oct 21 (Live streaming event (online only))

Slipstreams : for vibraphone by Bree van Reyk— 26 Jun 21 (The Sound Lounge, NSW)

Djingiyaa : treble choir with chamber ensemble by Brenda Gifford— 17 Jun 21 (Bundanon Homestead, NSW)

dream, amazing, peaceful dream : treble choir with chamber ensemble by Bree van Reyk— 17 Jun 21 (Bundanon Homestead, NSW)

The Waterfall Speaks to Us : for children's choir, orchestra and concertante trio by Tristan Coelho— 17 Jun 21 (Bundanon Homestead, NSW)

Netsurf : chamber ensemble by Robert Davidson— 21 May 21

Three interludes by Jessica Wells— 21 May 21

Tipping Point (sextets: keyboard, percussion, string, woodwind) by Felicity Wilcox— 21 May 21

Another future by Eve Klein— 23 Mar 21 (World Square shopfront, NSW)

Dissemble : chamber ensemble by Nicole Murphy— 5 Sep 20 (Various venues in Sydney, NSW)

striking out : for flute, clarinet in Bb, viola, cello and vibraphone by Sarah Elise Thompson— 13 Dec 19 (ESCAC Performance Space, Darlinghurst, NSW)

Fantasia No. II : for fsolo lute : for by Elizabeth Younan— 7 Nov 19 (Carriageworks, NSW)

Borderlines (clarinet with live electronics) by Damien Ricketson— 7 Nov 19 (Carriageworks, NSW)

Glow : chamber ensemble by Jane Stanley— 16 Jun 19 (Wollongong Town Hall, NSW)

Bitter Springs Creek 2014 (trios: flute, clarinet, vibraphone) by Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor— 16 Jun 19 (Wollongong Town Hall, NSW)

The Ice Skaters by Alice Chance— 28 Apr 19 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)

Modular Origami : sextet by Paul Smith— 8 Mar 19 (Noosa Arts Theatre, QLD)

Four angels (solo piano) by Michael Smetanin— 4 Dec 18 (Carriageworks, NSW)

Crie : violin solo by Cathy Milliken— 4 Dec 18 (Carriageworks, NSW)

Bend/Boogie/Break : for flute, clarinet/bass clarinet in Bb, violin, cello, percussion and piano. by Holly Harrison— 29 Sep 18 (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW)

en masse : sextet by Alex Pozniak— 29 Sep 18 (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW)

Game on : chamber ensemble by Julian Day— 19 Jul 18 (Woodburn Creatives, NSW)

Electors of Middlemarch : for solo percussionist by Elizabeth Younan— 24 Jun 18 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Action music 2 : flexible instrumentation by Erik Griswold— 29 Apr 18 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)

Action music 2 : flexible instrumentation by Erik Griswold— 3 Mar 18 (ArtisTree: Taikoo Place , Hong Kong)

Pentography (sextets: flute, clarinet, percussion, keyboard, violin, cello) by Fiona Hill— 11 Feb 18 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Love in solitude : for four musicians and pre-recorded soundscape by Andrea Keller— 28 Nov 17 (Melbourne Recital Centre)

Half-open beings : for mixed septet by Annie Hsieh— 23 Sep 17 (Carriageworks, NSW)

Cantor : soprano with ensemble by Lisa Illean— 23 Sep 17 (Carriageworks, Sydney)

Biographica : opera by Mary Finsterer— 9 Jan 17 (Carriageworks, Bay 20, NSW)

Intercurrent : for bass clarinet, marimba, piano and tape by Lachlan Skipworth— 13 Nov 16 (The Nest Creative Space, NSW)

Vibe rant : for flute/piccolo, bass clarinet/clarinet, and vibraphone by Holly Harrison— 12 Nov 16 (The Nest Creative Space, NSW)

Music in a time of dysfunction part 2 (quintets: keyboard, percussion, string) by Jon Rose— 2 Nov 16

Music in a time of dysfunction. Part 1 (10+ players: keyboard, percussion, string) by Jon Rose— 27 Oct 16

Noise husbandry : electroacoustic by James Humberstone— 6 Aug 16 (Warships Pavilion, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney)

Medieval Rococo : for alto flute, clarinet in Bb, percussion, harpsichord and playback by Thomas Meadowcroft— 24 Apr 16 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)

read/write error : for alto flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano by Tristan Coelho— 25 Oct 15 (Future Retro, Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Music Workshop))

Lorikeet Corroboree (trios: flute, clarinet, vibraphone) by Fiona Loader— Oct 15 (Masters Recital, Sydney Conservatorium of Music)

Not By Halves : for four sustaining instruments by Damien Ricketson— 29 May 15 (Seymour Centre, NSW)

Poisonic Doctors by Cor Fuhler— 29 May 15 (Seymour Centre, NSW)

Dive process : electroacoustic by Chris Perren— 14 May 15 (Salon - Melbourne Recital Centre, VIC)

Full fathom five : large chamber ensemble by Brian Howard— 9 May 15 (Fitter's Workshop, Canberra)

Ground : from 'Uncovered Ground' by Felicity Wilcox— 20 Feb 15 (Ba'hai Temple, Hobart)

Uncovered Ground : large chamber ensemble by Felicity Wilcox— 20 Feb 15 (Baha'i Centre, TAS)

Heaven only empty : for bass clarinet, vibraphone, drumkit & turntable by Damien Ricketson— 20 Nov 14 (premiered as part of The Secret Noise, Lower Sydney Town Hall)

The Secret noise : chamber ensemble by Damien Ricketson— 20 Nov 14 (Sydney Town Hall, NSW)

Empty gizzards by Cor Fuhler— 30 Oct 14 (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW)

Tinderbox by Cor Fuhler— 30 Oct 14 (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW)

Objectified by Amanda Cole— 30 Oct 14 (Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, NSW)

Ghan Tracks (multimedia work) by Jon Rose— 7 Aug 14 (Carriageworks, NSW)

The Secret noise : chamber ensemble by Damien Ricketson— 29 Jun 14 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)

Deviations on White : solo vibraphone by Damian Barbeler— 18 Mar 14 (Riverside Theatres, NSW)

Repetepetition : for flute and vibraphone by Matthew Hindson— 13 Oct 13 (Concertgebouw, Bruges, Belgium)

The gathering : for 3 or more musicians playing any pitched instruments by Robert Davidson— 26 Oct 12 (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Leafcutter : for B flat clarinet and vibraphone by Melody Eötvös— 23 Oct 12 (Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House)

Silva : percussion concerto by Mary Finsterer— 23 Oct 12 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Being and Time I: Lacrimae Rerum by Rosà Lind Page— 23 Oct 12 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Circadian Tale 7.1 (quintets) by Mary Finsterer— 23 Oct 12 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Cycles & circles : flexible instrumentation by James Humberstone— 15 Sep 12 (Clarence Valley Conservatorium, Grafton, NSW)

Some shade of blue : underchin tarhu & centaur vibraphone by Damien Ricketson— 2 Sep 11 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Hydra (duos: 2 other woodwinds) by Amanda Cole— 2 Sep 11 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)

Fractured Again Suite (multimedia work) by Damien Ricketson— 2011 (Ox Warehouse, Macau, China)

Kōan I : for flute, clarinet, violin and cello by James Cuddeford— 27 Aug 10 (Soundstream New Music Festival, ABC Studios, Adelaide)

Tesserae : Movement 4 from 'Fractured Again', for clarinet, violin and vibraphone by Damien Ricketson— 21 Jan 10 ('Fractured Again' concert, The Great Hall, University of Sydney)

Fractured again : multimedia work for three performers, electronic music, glass installation and video by Damien Ricketson— 21 Jan 10 (The Great Hall, University of Sydney)

Comparing the eye to a telescope : soprano with ensemble by Barry Conyngham— 13 Nov 09 (Peter Karmel Building, ANU School of Music, ACT)

Ether etude : opus 77 by Andrew Schultz— May 09 (MLC School, Sydney)

The German hills (quartets: clarinet, percussion, violin, cello) by Peter McNamara— 24 Oct 08 (Sibelius Composer Awards Concert, Sydney Conservatorium of Music)

To keep things reasonable (trios: mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass with chamber ensemble) by David Young— Sep 07 (Carriageworks, Sydney)

No more than liquid (nonets: oboe, clarinet, horn, 3 percussion, violin, viola, cello) by Damien Ricketson— 4 Aug 07 (Sydney City Recital Hall)

A line has two (soprano with chamber ensemble and electronics) by Damien Ricketson— 29 Jul 04 (The Studio, Sydney Opera House, Sydney.)

Fatamorgana (sextets: flute, clarinet, piano, marimba, violin, cello) by Bozidar Kos— 4 Jul 04 (Sydney Conservatorium of Music)

Trace elements : any two wind & any two string instruments by Damien Ricketson— 23 Sep 03 (Frederic Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, Poland)

Streams of consciousness (duos: viola, cello) by Dominik Karski— 30 Nov 01 (Sydney, NSW)

The mysterious demise of one Brody-Marie : a bellow-drama in seven acts by Nicholas Vines— 31 Mar 01 (Paddington United Church, Paddington)

Analysis & Media

- Article: Birthday bash of note for Butterley

- Article: Sound of music for Sunday's silent stars

- Review: The Song Company Cage Uncaged 15 September 2007

- Video: Slow flipping harmony by Matthew Shlomowitz

- Video: Widdop, phaetons, relic

- Video: Letter Piece No. 8: Sit up stand down

- Video: Cantor, by Lisa Ilean, after texts by Willa Cather

- Video: Canyon 1205

- Video: Hook

- Video: bioluminescence

- Video: Crie

- Video: Entr'Acte

- Video: Action Music II

- Video: Tipping Point

- Video: Quinkana Suite Movement I (Quinkana)

- Video: Quinkana Suite Movement II (Genyornis)

- Video: Quinkana Suite Movement III (Diprotodon)

- Video: Eat Your Damn Vegetables