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Ensemble Offspring
5 May 2012
Ensemble Offspring

Ensemble Offspring is Australia’s foremost new music ensemble, dedicated to the performance of innovative new music. The Sydney-based group is committed to a living classical music tradition combining classics of the 20th century with the music of tomorrow from Australia and abroad. Originally called the Spring Ensemble as resident ensemble in Roger Woodward’s Sydney Spring Festival, the group has clocked up almost 20 years experience.


With a reputation for original and unique programming as well as high quality performances, Ensemble Offspring pursues an agenda of directly shaping the music of our future. The ensemble is based on the philosophy of promoting artistic integrity, open-mindedness and challenging the way musicians and audiences think about music. Embracing an eclectic and progressive repertoire, the ensemble can be found presenting spectral, minimalist and complexist classics one week to free improvisation, multimedia and cross-genre events the next.

Whilst the core line up of the group is flute (Lamorna Nightingale), clarinet (Jason Noble), bass clarinet (Diana Springford), violin (Veronique Serret & James Cuddeford), percussion (Claire Edwardes), drum kit & percussion (Bree van Reyk) and piano (Zubin Kanga), it is often expanded to include instruments such as accordion (James Crabb), double bass (Dave Symes), electric guitar (Zane Banks) and for larger combinations, a conductor (Roland Peelman). Further to this, collaborations are by no means limited to the world of music and have been in the fields of physical theatre (Theatre Kantanka), popular sound art (laptop artist Pimmon), dance (Critical Path), instrument building (Linsey Pollak) and much more.

Comprised of Sydney’s finest and most talented musicians, who outside of Ensemble Offspring find themselves in diverse situations ranging from performing with indigenous choirs, backing singer songwriters, lecturing in philosophy and fronting orchestras. Under the artistic direction of Claire Edwardes and Damien Ricketson, when the musicians come together as Ensemble Offspring they are committed to exploring new ways of making music at the highest standard.

Outside of regular touring commitments throughout Australia, the group has performed in Europe and China with further international tours planned for 2013. In 2011 Ensemble Offspring was the recipient of the Award for Best Performance (along with soprano Jane Sheldon) at the AMC/APRA Art Music Awards and in 2010 as the featured ensemble of the ISCM Festival the group rose to prominence in the international contemporary music scene. With commissioning at the heart of the ensemble’s activities, it works closely with Australian composers such as Mary Finsterer, Matthew Shlomowitz, Michael Smetanin, Rosalind Page and international composers including Michael Norris, Simon Steen-Andersen, Steve Reich, Tristan Murail, Louis Andriessen and Michael Finnissy.

Past highlights include: the presentation of the Australian premiere of Fausto Romitelli’sProfessor Bad Trip (2011), the ongoing microtonal instrument building project, Partch’s Bastards (2011 & 2003) a cross genre series presented in local bowing clubs, Sizzle (2010), performances in the 2010 Sydney Festival and 2011 Shanghai Glass Museum of a glass themed multi media work by Damien Ricketson, Fractured Again, ensemble in residence at the2010 ISCM, touring Stockhausen’s Kontakte around Australia (2009) and a Limelight award nominated Spectral program, 13 Colours (2009).