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30 September 2014

Ensemble Offspring & Hatched Academy

Jeremy Rose and Callum G'Froerer, the two 2014 Hatched Academy participants Image: Jeremy Rose and Callum G'Froerer, the two 2014 Hatched Academy participants  

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 of Ensemble Offspring. Offspring's general manager Janine Marshman reports.

> Applications for the 2015 Hatched Academy close on 21 November 2014. See website for details.

The dream to create an academy linked to Ensemble Offspring had been ticking away in the minds of Claire Edwardes and Damien Ricketson for some time. Both have more than 20 years experience specialising in new music - Claire as a performer, and Damien as a composer. It is perhaps this dynamic that gives Ensemble Offspring its unique character. It certainly makes the duo well positioned to help develop specialist performance techniques, as well as composition and hands-on curatorial skills.

2014 Hatched Academy participants Jeremy Rose and Callum G'Froerer introduced (YouTube).

Hatched Academy would be set up specifically to stimulate and inspire the upcoming generation of classically trained musicians. But it was also intended to be mutually beneficial. While the students would learn from Claire and Damien's experience, the Ensemble Offspring would gain invaluable exposure to emerging compositional practices. Hatched Academy would also provide Ensemble Offspring the opportunity to develop young musicians with the view to eventually join the ensemble - rather than, as Claire Edwardes joked, '…waiting until we are all about to die before doing so'.

The academy was also a way for Ensemble Offspring to give back and provide opportunities to the next generation of musicians, as Edwardes and Ricketson pointed out.

'There aren't many opportunities out there for instrumentalists with a passion for new music. Often going to Europe is the only option - but we believe that there is lots of amazing art music going on in Australia and we have a lot to offer through our 20 years of experience', said Claire Edwardes.

'If the Sydney Spring Festival hadn't taken a risk on a group of young Sydney musicians some 20 years ago, Ensemble Offspring and multiple individual careers in new Australian music may never have happened. The least we can do is offer some similar opportunities to the next generation', Ricketson added.

The inaugural hatchlings, Sydney-based composer Jeremy Rose and Melbourne-based trumpeter Callum G'Froerer, both have come to new music from jazz backgrounds (and many will also know Jeremy as a saxophonist). They have a solid track record of work behind them - Rose producing original work through a number of projects (including groups the Vampires and the Strides), and G'Froerer commissioning, premiering and performing contemporary repertoire as a soloist and through groups like Melbourne's Cathexis quartet.

Following a six-month journey of meetings, workshops, rehearsals and mentoring sessions, the inaugural year of the Hatched Academy will be celebrated at an informal showcase concert at the Sydney Conservatorium on 30 October. The concert is the result of tireless work involving not only the hatchlings, and Edwardes and Ricketson, but also core Ensemble Offspring performers Lamorna Nightingale (flute) and Jason Noble (clarinet). The final concert will present four world premieres - two from Jeremy Rose, as well as premieres from Sydney composers Amanda Cole and Cor Fuhler.

Additionally, this event will feature the Australian premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's trio QUITT, as well as G'Froerer's performance of Matthias Pinscher's trumpet solo Shining Forth. Performances will be interspersed with Q & As with the composers and performers.

Ricketson and Edwardes are excited about reintroducing trumpet to the group's sound world. 'Ensemble Offspring's first ever concert featured the trumpet prominently, however, for no particular reason, we have seldom included the instrument again', said Ricketson.

The Hatched Academy would not have been possible without the Australia Council's support of the growth of Ensemble Offspring, recognising them as a key organisation at the end of 2013. This year, the group was able to introduce the hatchlings to key supporters of the industry, including Australian Music Centre's CEO John Davis. The ensemble is looking forward to building on these industry and media connections over the coming year, to help hatchlings to lay the foundations for creative sustainability.

The Academy will continue in 2015 and beyond, with two composers and performers attending the program next year to mark the 20th anniversary of Ensemble Offspring. Additional support for the Academy has been secured through the APRA AMCOS Music Grants Program.

Applications for the 2015 Hatched Academy are open now to Australian residents under 30 and are due by 21 November 2014. Applicants can be based anywhere in Australia, and Ensemble Offspring encourages anyone in Sydney who is interested in applying to attend the Hatched concert on 30 October - not only to see the calibre of work being produced by the current hatchlings, but also to seize the opportunity to talk to the Artistic Directors, the Ensemble Offspring musicians, and Jeremy and Callum about the opportunity. (For anyone not able to attend, the group will be posting some concert excerpts on their YouTube channel. You can also contact the Ensemble).

Event details

Ensemble Offspring: Hatched
Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 30 October at 8pm
All concert details and links (AMC Calendar)

Further links

Ensemble Offspring
Hatched Academy

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