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Damien Ricketson : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Some shade of blue : underchin tarhu & centaur vibraphone by Damien Ricketson, from the CD Between the keys

Photo of Damien Ricketson

Photo: Heidrun Lohr

Much of Damien's music explores the poetics of incomplete knowledge. Through open forms and unconventional modes of notation, many of Damien's works are themselves incomplete requiring high levels of creative evaluation from the performer. The metaphor of incomplete knowledge is also found in frequent references to unfinished works and forgotten musical traditions. Other interests include hybrid and multimedia art-forms, microtonality and tactile approaches to composition where musical structures are generated by the physical movement patterns of performers.

After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Damien studied composition with the renowned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and completed IRCAM's elite computer-music course at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. He attained a Doctor of Philosophy from the Sydney Conservatorium where he is now acting as Chair of Composition.

Damien is the founder and, until 2016, 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, Sonicart Quartett (Germany), Ensemble Plus Minus (UK/Belgium), Crash Ensemble (Ireland), 175 East & Stroma (New Zealand), the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Grainger Quartet, Continuum Sax and Speak Percussion, to name a few.

Damien's works have received awards including the 2015 'Instrumental Work of the Year' for The Secret Noise and the 2008 NSW State Award 'Best Composition by an Australian Composer' for his string quartet So We Begin Afresh in the Australian Art Music Awards, and the International Lady Panufnik Prize (Poland) for Chinese Whisper. He has had commissions from the Warsaw Autumn, the Transit Festival (Belgium), Symphony Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Ian Potter Foundation. 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).

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; 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; The Secret Noise (2014), a music-dance collaboration exploring secret music practices; and Rendition Clinic (2015), for percussionists performing strobe lights.

Damien Ricketson — current to January 2016

Studied with

Louis Andriessen


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 The Day after Drowning : an echo on Satie’s Gnossienne No.1 (2016) Commissioned by Zubin Kanga.
Digital sheet music sample Rendition clinic : for three percussionists and strobe lights (2015) Commissioned by Speak Percussion.
Pipe Dreams Green (site specific live performance) (2015) Commissioned by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre for the Way Out West Festival for Children 2015, Sydney Performed by Ensemble Offspring
Digital sheet music sample Not by halves : for four sustaining instruments (2015) Commissioned by Musify+Gamify
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’.

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