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
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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...
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!'
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Works commissioned by Ensemble Offspring
Works commissioned and written for Ensemble Offspring
CDs, Books and Kits featuring Ensemble Offspring
Events featuring Ensemble Offspring
World premieres given by Ensemble Offspring
Electors of Middlemarch (unspecified voice with percussion) by Elizabeth Younan— 24 Jun 18 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)
Action music II (septets: keyboard, percussion, string, woodwind) by Erik Griswold— 29 Apr 18 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)
Action music II (septets: keyboard, percussion, string, woodwind) 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)
Cantor (after Willa Cather) : soprano with ensemble by Lisa Illean— 23 Sep 17 (Carriageworks, Sydney)
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)
Medieval Rococo : for alto flute, clarinet in Bb, percussion, harpsichord and playback by Thomas Meadowcroft— 24 Apr 16 (Petersham Bowling Club, NSW)
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 gathering : for 3 or more musicians playing any pitched instruments by Robert Davidson— 26 Oct 12 (Brisbane Powerhouse)
Some shade of blue : underchin tarhu & centaur vibraphone by Damien Ricketson— 2 Sep 11 (Sydney Opera House - Utzon Room, NSW)
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)
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)
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
- Video: Widdop, phaetons, relic