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Damien Ricketson : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Same steps : solo clarinet & any combination of violin, cello, electric guitar, accordion & optional auxiliary instruments by Damien Ricketson, from the CD Springtime

Photo of Damien Ricketson

Much of Damien's music has explored the poetics of incomplete knowledge. Through the use of mobile forms and unconventional modes of notation, many of Damien's works are themselves incomplete requiring a high level of creative evaluation from the performer. The metaphor of incomplete knowledge is also manifest in frequent references to unfinished works or forgotten musical traditions. Other areas of musical enquiry have included an interest in microtonality (just intonation) and a tactile approach to composition where musical structures are generated from the physical movement patterns of the performer.

Damien grew up in Wollongong where he performed violin in the world-folk ensemble 'Sea Gypsies'. After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music he continued his studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with renowned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. For a number of years, Damien lived and worked in The Netherlands and Poland and completed IRCAM's computer music course at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Damien completed his doctorate in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he is now a lecturer in composition and contemporary music.

Damien is the Co-Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring, a unique Sydney-based arts company dedicated to innovative new music. Much of Damien's music has been written for Ensemble Offspring and received critical recognition through their performances. His works have also been performed by many national and international soloists, ensembles and orchestras including MusikFabrik, soloist Peter Hörr (Germany), Ensemble Plus Minus (UK/Belgium), Crash Ensemble (Ireland), the Orfeuz Chamber Orchestra (Poland), 175 East & Stroma (New Zealand), Drumming Grupo de Percussão (Portugal), pianist Naomi Edemariam (Canada), the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Alpha Ensemble, Libra Ensemble, the Grainger Quartet, Continuum Sax, pianist Zubin Kanga and the Sydney Conservatorium Orchestra (Australia).

Damien's works have received numerous awards. His string quartet So We Begin Afresh (for the Grainger Quartet) received the NSW State Award for the 'Best Composition by an Australian Composer' at the 2008 AMC/APRA Classical Music Awards. He also received the international Lady Panufnik Prize (Poland) for Chinese Whisper, a Marienberg Spring Award for an 'Outstanding Australian composition' Ptolemy's Onion - a work which was subsequently chosen for the Gaudeamus International Music Week - and was selected by ABC Classic FM to represent Australian music at the Paris International Rostrum with his work Lamina.

Damien has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre, Canada, the Bundanon Estate (Shoalhaven), the University of Wollongong and the Peggy Glanville-Hicks House (Sydney).

Damien has received commissions from the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, the Transit Festival (Belgium), The Song Company, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Australia, Continuum Sax, ABC Classic FM, the Portugese-based Drumming Grupo de Percussão and the MLC School Burwood.

Notable works include; In God's Esperanto (2008), a work based on the artificial language Solresol; Length and Breath (2009), a saxophone quartet exploring time in relation to independent breath-lengths; and Fractured Again (2010), a major multimedia work featured in the Sydney Festival and toured to China including musical instruments made of glass; Some Shade of Blue (2011), a microtonal work for a newly invented string instrument and retuned vibraphone; and The Secret Noise (2013), a music-dance collaboration exploring secret music practices.


Damien Ricketson — current to July 2013

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
The Secret noise : chamber ensemble Created with support from the Australia Council for the Arts (music & dance initiative), the City of Sydney and Ensemble Offspring’s ‘Noisy Egg Creation Fund’
Digital sheet music sample Heaven only empty : for bass clarinet, vibraphone, drumkit & turntable (2014) 'The Secret Noise' was created with support from the Australia Council for the Arts (music & dance initiative), the City of Sydney and Ensemble Offspring’s ‘Noisy Egg Creation Fund’.
Clique (trios including accordion) (2013) Commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Centenary Commissioning Project
Some shade of blue : underchin tarhu & centaur vibraphone (2011) Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring.
Fractured again : multimedia work for three performers, electronic music, glass installation and video (2010) Commissioned by Ian Potter Cultural Trust, MLC School (Sydney), City of Sydney.
Digital sheet music sample Tesserae : Movement 4 from 'Fractured Again', for clarinet, violin and vibraphone (2010) Commissioned by MLC School (Sydney).

Analysis & Media

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

- Program note: Six Song Fragments

- Review: The Song Company 18 October 1992

- Program note: Shoal

- Review: The Song Company Cage Uncaged 15 September 2007