FROM OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Welcome to Kontiki Racket! We bring you an adventure into new sound worlds from around the globe presented in an intimate and relaxed warehouse vibe. We derived the name of our first ever micro festival from a combination of the famous Kon-tiki raft expedition, suggesting a sense of adventure and a risky voyage combined with the double meaning of racket as a loud noise and its less familiar meaning of leading an active social life. We hope that this weekend embodies that sense of intrepid musical travel in your very own backyard.
Whilst there is no distinctive theme for our first ever festival, I like to think of the music as speaking for itself. Overwhelmingly this music is visceral, highly virtuosic, unique sounding and chamber music in its truest sense. We spent a week in Riversdale thanks to the Bundanon Trust, rehearsing and workshopping the program, a weekend recording at the Sydney Conservatorium and another week at the Glebe Justice Centre for more intensive rehearsals.
I must commend and thank the wonderful musicians of Ensemble Offspring as well as the gorgeous Hatched Academy participants and our composer in residence Juan Felipe Waller for rising to this epic program of works. Ensemble Offspring has performed a huge amount of world premieres, amongst them some extremely challenging music, but I think this weekend takes the cake!
I really hope you enjoy the sparkling array of new music on offer this weekend – 5 world premieres, 5 iconic European works, 2 Ensemble Offspring repertoire pieces and original improvisations. And look out for Kontiki Racket coming again in 2018, next time with even more international special guests and ensembles for your listening pleasure!
Claire Edwardes, Artistic Director
Roland Peelman – conductor
Claire Edwardes – percussion
Lamorna Nightingale – flute
Jason Noble – clarinet
Zubin Kanga – piano
Veronique Serret – violin
Blair Harris – cello
Juan Felipe Waller and James Bradbury*– crackle box
Sonya Holowell – voice
Ngaire de Korte – oboe
David Moran* – cello
Mary Rapp* – cello
Julia Reidy* – guitar
*Hatched Academy performer/composer
Bob Scott – sound engineer
Fausto Brusamolino – lighting
SATURDAY 12 NOV
7:30PM CONCERT 1
Iannis Xenakis – Dmaathen 12′
Julia Reidy – Dispersion of Light by Prism (WP) 9′
Holly Harrison – Vibe Rant (WP) 6′
Bruno Mantovani – L’ere de rien 10’30
Tristan Coelho – read write/error 12’
9:30PM CONCERT 2 – CLUB KONTIKI
Set 1 – Electro Improv 30′
Set 2 – Morton Feldman – Three Voices 50′
featuring Sonya Holowell, voice
SUNDAY 13 NOV PROGRAM
12:00PM SPECIAL EVENT 1
INDUSTRY 1 to 1 SPEED-DATING
Mentors: Marcus Whale, Caitlin Yeo, Peggy Polias, John Davis and Cameron Lam
1:30PM SPECIAL EVENT 2
INDUSTRY PANEL: AN AUSTRALIAN VOICE
Panel: Claire Edwardes, Juan Felipe Waller, Zubin Kanga and Roland Peelman
3:00PM CONCERT 3
Pierre Boulez – Derive 1 7’
Fausto Fausto Romitelli – Domeniche Alla Perifieria Dellimpero 15’
Alex Pozniak – Extract (of things to come) (WP) 8′
Lachlan Skipworth – Intercurrent (WP) 9’
James Bradbury – Esolang (WP) 8’
Juan Felipe Waller – Detone Retune 9’30
Iannis Xenakis – Dmaathen (1976)
Dmaathen is scored for oboe and percussion. The work is classic Xenakis in its use of extreme woodwind textures (multiphonics, very high long notes and fast jumping runs) and tribal drum rhythms. As in so many of Xenakis’s solo and duo works, Dmaathen is typically impossible to perform as per the score, the players having to find solutions for effects which on the face of it, are not achievable by humans. The piece is in two large sections – in the first, drum outbursts punctuate a soundscape of long oboe multiphonics. In the second declamatory passages featuring complex polyrhythm combinations from the percussionist’s hands (one on marimba, one on vibraphone) and oboe, abound. This section is almost humorous in its sudden on and off passages. Dmaathen features a dynamic tension, distinctive of Xenakis, due to its highly charged interactions between these extreme groups of diverse sonorities – it’s visceral, bizarre and a satisfying challenge to perform. (Note by Claire Edwardes)
Julie Reidy – Dispersion of Light by Prism (2016) WP
Dispersion of Light by Prism is the arrangement of modular and vaguely cyclical ideas that ultimately aims to portray an image that is both static and shifting. My objective was to present the performers with subtle but impactful choices within a larger fixed structure, conveying a sense of familiarity whilst retaining the energy of spontaneous decision. The concept is derived from an attraction to unexpected synchronicity, drawing from materials that are quite ordered, instead of chaotic. I wrote for these instruments because I think they all sound very beautiful together. (Note by Julia Reidy)
Holly Harrison – Vibe Rant (2016) WP
(Noisy Egg Creation Fund commission by Penny Le’Couteur and Greg Dickson)
Vibe Rant acts as a sister piece to my earlier work written for Ensemble Offspring entitled Frogstomp. Vibe Rant not only refers to the abbreviated form of vibraphone: ‘vibes’, but also ‘rant’, which originally comes from the Dutch word ‘ranten’: to talk nonsense, connecting with my interest in Lewis Carroll’s nonsense literature. Of course, together these words form ‘vibrant’, which I feel is the overall mood of the piece.
Like its sister Frogstomp, Vibe Rant sets up a series of stylistic juxtapositions, creating a patchwork of styles that embrace influences from vernacular genres including jazz, pop, hip-hop, dance, rock, and metal. Vibe Rant is written with three main moods in mind. Early sound-blocks embrace rambunctious and cheeky lines, paired with pop and jazz harmonies. This is pitted against glimpses of a lighter, more ethereal and, perhaps, ‘cuter’ sound-world, where the flute and vibes work together as a duet texture. A darker mood emerges in the second half, inspired by rock and metal elements, using dissonant harmonies, timbral distortion, rhythmic unisons and insistent ostinati. Once these three mood-blocks have been introduced, the piece flickers back and forth between them, continually interrupting each other and superimposing them across each other in varying combinations. The piece revels in continually masking which sound-block is which. (Note by Holly Harrison)
Bruno Mantovani – L’ère de rien (2002)
The title of this work, L’ère de rien, is a pun in French, meaning “the era of nothing” and is homophonous with an idiomatic French phrase meaning “nonchalantly” or “casually”. It could be termed an “exotic” work, so much does its musical material take inspiration from extra-European cultures. The micro-tonal ornamentation, Middle-Eastern in character, at the start of the piece, the ritualistic music evoking Asia in the central section, or the conclusion that makes direct reference to African polyrhythms, become clearly identifiable elements as the listener marks out this musical journey across the continents.
The common feature in these different sources is surely the notion of periodicity. Indeed, “loops” (the term “patterns” would be more suitable) are omnipresent, the progressive distortion of these basic ideas underlying the discourse. As elements of contrast, two interludes are given a static character, so as to rejuvenate a texture that is generally based on movement. These “western” episodes usually accord the lion’s share to the piano, its function varying throughout the piece (sometimes a soloist, sometimes silent, it is rarely limited to the mere role of accompanist).
L’ère de rien marks, therefore, the attempt to make some very different, even antagonistic musical styles co-exist, aiming to give meaning and coherence to this synthesis of elements. The notion of integration is thus primordial in this work composed in April 2002, a time when certain ideologies based on the rejection of others and on intolerance were tragically gaining ground in France.
Commissioned by the Festival de l’Empéri, L’ère de rien was first performed on 2 August 2002 by Emmanuel Pahud, Paul Meyer and Michel Dalberto. (Note by Bruno Mantovani)
Tristan Coelho – read/write error (2015)
Commissioned by the Noisy Egg Creation Fund, read/write error is a glitchy, beat-driven work that draws upon ideas surrounding the digital, data-driven world we find ourselves in. I imagined three types of music being like data scattered across a failing hard drive. Bits of information are strewn here and there with interspersed contrasts brought about by ‘hard cuts’ between ideas (almost like video editing techniques), the fragments of which are then assembled in various ways. These thoughts were informed by a general interest in exploring a kind of ‘brokenness’ in music – a beauty brought about through roughness and imperfection.
I extended this further by considering the actual sounds emitted by technology as it goes haywire or malfunctions. What I like about this is that these sounds are not supposed to be made but still come across highly expressive to me. Imagine the warbling tune of a fridge or the crunchy explosions of a gearbox or the gritty strains of a tired old printer. With this in mind I had a long hard listen to a variety of broken technology and started analysing and dissecting a few recordings of a stuttering hard drive losing its mind. I found here a rich array of musical ideas, which helped me shape the work. (Note by Tristan Coelho)
Morton Feldman – Three Voices (1982)
Three Voices for voice and tape (1982) by Morton Feldman (1926-1987) is something of an avant-garde love fest. The poet Frank O’Hara wrote a poem called “Wind,” which he dedicated to composer Morton Feldman. Feldman in turn wrote Three Voices, based on the text of “Wind,” which he dedicated to vocalist/composer Joan La Barbara. The end result of all this mutual goodwill is a riveting 50 minute piece of music. The three voices in question perform a cappella, beginning with a wordless vocal pattern that gradually articulates itself into fragments of the O’Hara poem. Like most of Morton Feldman’s mature work, Three Voices, for Joan La Barbara, rewards the attentive listener with an astonishing range of rhythms, textures, and emotions. (Note by Peter Nappi)
Pierre Boulez – Derive 1 (1984)
Dérive roughly translates from French as “derivative”; the piece is derived from the two compositions Répons (1981) and Messagesquisse (1976/77). The “derivative” is also a sequence of variations “on the name Sacher”. Six chords build a circular rotation, which mimic the structure of the piece, but also soften it. At its most basic level, Derive 1 is a study in trills. Layer upon layer of fluttering instruments create a dynamic, buzzing haze of ensemble sound that rises then falls, thickens then clarifies, overwhelms then recedes. The composer has described his music is “seductive, even spiritual,” and Derive 1 certainly creates an alluring universe of sound that is truly unique. The work is one of a series based on harmonies derived from a musical spelling of Swiss conductor and patron Paul Sacher’s last name.
Fausto Romitelli – Domeniche Alla Perifieria Dellimpero (2000)
In two distinctive movements this quartet was written in 2000, towards the end of Romitelli’s life. It is scored for bass flute, bass clarinet, violin and cello. A homage to the esteemed French composer Gerard Grisey, it references many tone colours and sound worlds heard in other iconic Romitelli works that Ensemble Offspring has championed over the years – most notably Professor Bad Trip and An Index of Metals. This is done specifically through the use of guitar pitch pipes and harmonica’s to ‘mess’ up the sound and results in a feeling of the music breathing tangibly and almost being heard underwater. Unlike many of Romitelli’s other well-known works, Domeniche Alla Perifieria Dellimpero does not utilise any pre-recorded electronics, the effect of electronica coming only from the live musicians on stage. It is a tour-de-force of recent chamber music repertoire and is Ensemble Offspring’s first performance of this work. (Claire Edwardes)
Alex Pozniak – Extract (of things to come) (2016) WP
(Noisy Egg Creation Fund commission by Charles Davidson)
What you will hear today is an extract from a larger work in progress, generously commissioned by Charles Davidson for Ensemble Offspring that will be performed in its entirety in 2018. This particular part of the piece, it’s just good old chamber music, well at least how I’m deciding to write it currently. I wrote it to extract a certain sort of flow of energy and structural path from some initial conditions that I personally would find interesting and satisfying to listen to. It begins with a piano/drums attack and resonance idea, which I then explore through a few different developments, leading into/resulting in a more active and rhythmic kind of piece, with the odd breather thrown in. Think of it as a first movement that’s intense at times. I have a few ideas in mind for how this might all be to do with humans becoming more mechanistic, probably because of the amount of traffic I sit in on the way to/from work, but I’d hate to make you need to think of that instead of just listening to it as music. (Alex Pozniak)
Lachlan Skipworth – Intercurrent (2016) WP
Intercurrent is a reverse-canon in which the live performance is augmented by the simultaneous playback of a pre-recorded and reversed version of this same material. A palindromic structure allows the additional use of more-traditional canonic functionality through horizontal displacements of the core material between the live and tape parts. The audible result is of the live instruments emerging from the blurred and swirling sounds of their ghostly doubles, against which a dialogue of “imperfections” to the prevailing ten-note patterns can be traced as they weave their way across the surface texture. Intercurrent was commissioned for Ensemble Offspring and my own ensemble (which shares the title of this work) with support from the Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia. (Lachlan Skipworth)
James Bradbury – Esolang (2016) WP
Esolang explores performer physicality through the choreographing of complex multi-parameter actions. Using hidden Markov Models to generate musical material, the performers must follow multiple graphic figurations that relate to individual body parts involved in the sound production action. This results in an interpretative process in which the player must relearn their instrument and embrace it from a beginner’s point of view. This is enhanced through the use of certain preparations: guitar strings interwoven through the cello fingerboard and guitar slides being used inside the body of the piano. Through this combination of elements Esolang results in an intense performance environment, where harmonically unstable sounds emerge to the surprise of both the performer and the listener. (James Bradbury)
Juan Felipe Waller – Detone Retune (2014)
(Noisy Egg Creation Fund commission)
It is agreed that accidents play an important role in any creative moment. Da Vinci urged artists to search inspiration in the dirt on walls or the streaked patterns in stones. The fabrication of accidents is what Duchamp called “canned chance”. F. Bacon quoted “I want a very ordered Image, but I want it to come about by chance”. “then the soul like smoke moved into the earth, grinding.” In music, accidents become most evident to the listener through improvised music. As for composers, the freshness of a spontaneous or unexpected musical discovery during a compositional process is embraced without second thoughts, and rarely revealed as such. In the music of Xenakis, his reverence to accident was solidly cemented with his stochastic processes, where probability and chaos are extraordinarily personified. During the compositional process of my work, accidents manifest for diverse and unpredictable reasons. And yet, keeping the doors open for “things” to happen becomes a rather crucial aspect. And exactly that’s where the tension between accident and intention become so significant, emerging as a common factor in my pieces.
In Detone Retune, this aspect becomes self evident to the listener, as a degree of unpredictability extended to the interpreters’ performance, subject to a wavering fragility for the production of sound. For sometime I’ve developed an interest in discovering sonorities by acoustic means, which are akin to electronic sounds. It often led to try out different objects to produce sounds such as ceramics, plastics and recyclable materials found in hardware stores. Threaded rods, tiles and styrofoam became the backbone for the sound world of this piece. The rest of the instruments ‘tune-in’ to the tones and harmonics produced by striking these materials, which percussionist Claire Edwardes executes in a central role in a sort of percussion concerto-maquette. (Note by Juan Felipe Waller)
Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) was a composer, conductor, thinker, a motor of international musical life, an emblematic figure in post-war European, indeed, world culture.
He was a living classic. Ever since the 1950’s, composers around the world followed with curiosity what he was writing, to see if they could adapt his ideas in their own music or to reject them in their search for an idiom they could call their own. In 1957, György Kurtág arrived in Paris with the goal to compose something he could show to Boulez (in the end, he left without a work worthy of being presented). The music the French composer has written ever since the late 1940’s was a conscious act of rebellion against tradition as represented by Schönberg or Stravinsky but also his teacher, Messiaen, whose influence has nevertheless left its mark on Boulez’s music.
In his compositions but also in his writings, Boulez was initially an angry and rebellious young man (see his scathing obituary Schönberg est mort). With the passage of time as he became an established figure, with France inviting him back to found IRCAM and the Ensemble Intercontemporain and his career as a conductor also taking off, there has probably been less to rebel against and Boulez has mellowed and broadened his horizons to conduct a wide range of repertoire including Bruckner and Mahler.
Boulez also was a highly influential teacher. In Lucerne he passed on his immense knowledge to fledgling conductors at the Festival Academy. Pierre Boulez died on 5 January 2016 in Baden-Baden. (Biography from Universal Edition)
James Bradbury (Hatched Academy)
James Bradbury (b. 1993) is a composer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is currently completing his masters with Dr. Christopher Tonkin as his supervisor and is a 2016 Hatched Academy participant. James has written both instrumental and electroacoustic music and is currently interested in exploring the latter more thoroughly. This has involved using computer systems that have the potential to function autonomously alongside performers. Often, this means engaging performers in improvisatory, non-deterministic settings in which they are encouraged to explore generative behaviours with the computer as a collaborator rather than as a tool. The music often creates surprising results that cultivate an interest toward interactive relationships formed by the computer as a musical instrument. In future, James hopes to develop methods for further evaluation and creation of systems that possess sophisticated musical ability.
Tristan Coelho (b. 1983) is an award-winning Sydney-based composer who specialises in concert music, film and multimedia projects. With an interest in a wide range of music from experimental classical and electronic to world music and jazz, he strives for a unique balance in his scores and an individual sound for each project. Tristan graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2006 and then went on to study at the Royal College of Music from 2007-2008. He has studied composition formally with Michael Smetanin, Damien Ricketson, Mary Finsterer, Trevor Pearce and David Sawer amongst others and piano with Stephanie McCallum. In 2016, Tristan was a finalist in the Instrumental Work of the Year category in the APRA Art Music Awards. Tristan is a founding member of Sideband, a composer/performer collective supporting emerging Australian musicians which released their debut CD in 2014.
Holly Harrison (b. 1988) is a young Australian composer from Western Sydney. Holly’s music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour. She is currently writing a work for four-time Grammy award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird (USA) for Musica Viva’s 2017 International Concert Season. Holly’s music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA at festivals including Gaudeamus Muziekweek (2014/16) (NL), Young Composers Meeting (2014-16) (NL), Mizzou International Composers Festival (USA), and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (USA). Holly plays drum kit in the improvised rock duo Tabua-Harrison with Joey Tabua (electric guitar/guzheng).
Bruno Mantovani was born on October 8, 1974. After receiving five first prizes from the Paris Conservatory (analysis, aesthetics, orchestration, composition, music history) and attending the computer music Cursus at Ircam, he began an international career. His works have been performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the KKL in Lucerne, La Scala in Milan, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre in New York, the Cité de la musique and the Salle Pleyel in Paris. Faithful to his preferred performers, he collaborates with prestigious soloists (Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Alain Billard, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Antoine Tamestit, Tabea Zimmermann), conductors (Pierre Boulez, Sir Andrew Davis, Peter Eötvös, Laurence Equilbey, Gunter Herbig, Emmanuel Krivine, Susanna Mälkki, Jonathan Nott, Pascal Rophé François-Xavier Roth), ensembles (Accentus, Intercontemporain, TM+) and orchestras (Bamberg Symphony, BBC Cardiff, Chicago Symphony, WDR Cologne, La Chambre Philharmonique, Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, Liège Philharmonic, BBC London, Lucerne Academy, Orchestre de Paris, Paris Opera Orchestra, Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France, Sarrebrücken Radio Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Tokyo, RAI Turin, Sinfonia Varsovia, RSO Vienna). He is the headmaster of the Paris Conservatory since September 2010.
Alex Pozniak (b. 1982) is pretty much obsessed with music. Heard anything interesting recently? Let me know! I love listening to the stuff and to stuff in general, love learning about it, thinking about it, analysing it, chatting about it, teaching others about it, composing pieces when I have the time. I’m interested in a bunch of different types of music (classical music, free improvised music, noise, metal, psychedelic rock, electronic music, rock, rap, many more) and my own pieces draw on some of these influences. Hopefully as a fan of music you get something out of listening to them – if not let me know what I could change! Always happy to take ideas on board. Either way, let’s chat about music some time some more. (I’m on Facebook).
Julia Reidy (Hatched Academy)
Julia Reidy (b. 1993) is an improvising guitarist and composer from Sydney, currently based in Berlin. Her methods and practice are a culmination of solo instrumental approaches through exploratory and improvisatory processes, as well as an investigation into the organisation of these ideas for ensembles. Her most recent compositional endeavours focus on navigating phases of thematic material derived from unstable harmonic and rhythmic systems. She is a 2016 Hatched Academy participant.
Fausto Romitelli was born in Gorizia, Italy in 1963 and died in 2004. He first studied under Franco Donatoni at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and later at the Scuola Civica in Milan. He continued his investigations of sound at Ircam in Paris, and with the musicians of L’Itinéraire—Tristan Murail, Gérald Grisey, Michaël Levinas, and Hugues Dufourt. Romitelli broke down the barrier between art music and popular music. Distortion, saturation, and psychedelic rock were part of his musical universe, evident in Acid Dreams & Spanish Queens (1994), EnTrance (1995), and Cupio Dissolvi (1996). The Professor Bad Trip cycle (I, II, and III, 1998-2000) blended distorted colorations of acoustic and electric instruments as well as accessories like the mirliton and harmonica to create a hallucinatory atmosphere. An Index of Metals (2003), a video-opera for soprano and ensemble, was Romitelli’s final work. He died in 2004, after a long illness.
Lachlan Skipworth (b. 1982) is emerging as one of the leading composers of his generation in Australia, and is currently composer-in-residence with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. After training initially as a clarinetist, Skipworth spent almost 3 years in Japan immersed in the study of shakuhachi, an end-blown bamboo flute, and its ancient honkyoku solo repertoire. On returning to Australia, he began to hone and refine his experience into a highly personal compositional language, displaying his craft and sensibilities across a number of musical genres. In 2017, Skipworth’s music can be heard nationally, including performances by WASO, Musica Viva, and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.
Juan Felipe Waller
Juan Felipe Waller (b. 1971) is a Mexican-born composer currently based in Berlin. His music often involves what he terms a “lens of deformation”. This compositional approach is reflected in his interest in harmonic imperfection and disrupting clean sonorities through the use of found-sounds and unconventional instrumental techniques and preparations. Felipe was brought up in Mexico in a blend of cultures from his parents’ mixed backgrounds. He first studied music in Mexico City at the Music Study and Investigation Centre (CIEM). From 1994 on he studied composition at the Rotterdams Conservatorium with Klaas de Vries and electro-acoustic music with Rene Uylenhoet, where he graduated with honourable mention in 1999. Some of his compositions include Teguala a percussion quartet for 120 ceramic tiles and electronics, Chemicangelo, an odyssey for organ solo and Calumnia for large orchestra, for which he received the first price in the NOG Jonge-componisten concourse in Holland. His pieces have been widely performed in The Netherlands, Germany, England, Austria, France, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia and the USA by renowned orchestras, ensembles and performers. Through his collaborations he has worked across genres and art forms including in dance, experimental film and animation.
Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) was born into a Greek family residing in Braila, Romania. He lost his mother when he was five years old, then was sent off to boarding school on the Greek island of Spetsai at age ten. He studied civil engineering at the Athens Polytechnic, but the German invasion followed by the British occupation drew him into the Resistance, activities from which he would end up near fatally wounded, losing one eye, then later condemned to death. Forced to escape his country, Xenakis ended up in Paris, wanting to study music, but earning a living working as an engineering assistant for Le Corbusier.
His creative and intellectual intensity attracted the attention of both the renowned architect, who delegated architectural projects to him in spite of his lack of professional training, and the composer and pedagogue Olivier Messiaen, who saw in the music he was struggling to produce in isolation an originality deserving of encouragement. Xenakis had his first major succès du scandale with the premiere of Metastasis at the Donaueschingen Festival in 1955, and by 1960, he was able to devote himself entirely to composition. (Biography by James Harley)
Ensemble Offspring are champions of adventurous new music. Presenting music from seminal chamber work to free improvisation, alongside the creation of striking interdisciplinary productions, the group embraces open-minded music making of all forms. Ensemble offspring is committed to exploring new ways of making music, engaging audiences and pushing the boundaries of what music can be.
Based in Sydney, Ensemble Offspring is led by acclaimed percussionist, Claire Edwardes, and features a core line-up of six of Sydney’s most well-regarded musicians; Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (clarinet), Veronique Serret (violin), Bree van Reyk (drum kit & percussion) and Zubin Kanga (piano). Outside of Ensemble Offspring, our performers might be found performing with indigenous choirs, backing singer-songwriters, lecturing in philosophy and leading orchestras. The group frequently expands to include other instruments, and collaborates across genres and art forms, including theatre popular music, dance and opera, having worked with artists like Mike Patton, Katie Noonan, Theatre Kantanka and Sydney Chamber Opera.
With commissioning at the heart of the ensemble’s activities, Ensemble Offspring commissions many composers through its Noisy Egg Creation Fund and works closely with emerging and established Australian composers such as Mary Finsterer, Matthew Shlomowitz, Michael Smetanin, Rosalind Page and Kate Moore and international composers including Michael Norris, Simon Steen-Andersen, Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen and Michael Finnissy.
Further to regular touring commitments throughout Australia, Ensemble Offspring has performed in Europe and China and was ensemble in residence at the 2015 Shanghai New Music Week. In 2016, the group won the Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation, presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre. The Secret Noise, composed by Damien Ricketson, and presented by Ensemble Offspring, won the 2015 Art Music Award for Instrumental Work of the Year.
In 2015, Ensemble Offspring celebrated 20-years of performing new music, showing the growth of the group from a student ensemble co-founded by composers Matthew Shlomowitz and 20-year artistic director, Damien Ricketson, to esteemed professional ensemble it is today.
In 2016, Ensemble Offspring was honoured to have received the Australian Music Centre and APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation.
Claire Edwardes is a highly regarded interpreter, performer and passionate advocate of contemporary classical music as well as the Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring. Career highlights include solo appearances at the Sydney Festival, Vivid Sydney (New Wave Sound), Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music (UK) and Gaudeamus Muziekweek (NL). She is the recipient of an Australia Council Music Fellowship (2014/2015) and in 2012 & 2007 she was awarded the AMC/APRA Art Music Award for Excellence in Australian Music. In 2005 she was the MCA/Freedman Fellow and in 1999 was named Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year. Highlights in 2015 include concerti with the Melbourne Symphony, WAYO, Canberra Symphony and Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony.
Zubin Kanga is a London-based Australian pianist and researcher. He has performed at many international festivals including the BBC Proms, Cheltenham Festival (UK) Melbourne Festival, Metropolis Festival (Australia), IRCAM’s Manifeste Festival (France) and Borealis Festival (Norway) as well as appearing as soloist with the London Sinfonietta, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of Ensemble Offspring and has collaborated with many of the world’s leading composers, including Michael Finnissy, George Benjamin, Steve Reich, Thomas Adès, Damien Ricketson, Liza Lim, Michel van der Aa and Stefan Prins and premiered over 70 new works. He is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Nice and IRCAM, Paris and a Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Veronique Serret has established herself as an extremely versatile violinist whose repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary classical, folk, rock and improvisation. In 2014, Veronique joined the Sydney Dance Company performing J.S Bach’s Partita Nr. 2 in D Minor, which she has recorded as her debut album. Recently she was soloist with the Sydney Symphony in Arvo Part’s ‘Tabula Rasa’ and has led orchestras for Megan Washington, Sarah Blasko and Giorgio Moroder. Veronique is a founding member of CODA and currently plays with singer Inga Liljestrom and improvising string quartet ‘the Noise’. She was lead violin and backing vocalist for Joanna Newsom from 2010-2012, is a long-time member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and was recently appointed Concertmaster of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.
Jason Noble is an in-demand Bondi clarinettist specialising in all members of the clarinet family including the bass clarinet, saxillo, clarinis and glove bagpipe. He has been an integral member of Ensemble Offspring since 2002 featuring in such projects as Bargain Garden, Fractured Again and The Secret Noise. Jason has twice travelled to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul as an educator and clarinet teacher. He has collaborated variously with popular musicians Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby, the indigenous women’s choir of the Tiwi Islands and most recently performed with Nick Wales and the Shaun Parker Dance Company in the production ‘Am I’. Jason performs regularly with Halcyon, soprano Jane Sheldon and The Song Company.
Lamorna Nightingale is a core member of Ensemble Offspring and has been performing with the group since 2007. She appears regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and as a guest artist with The Song Company, Synergy Percussion, Halcyon and Kammer Ensemble. Lamorna enjoys exploring and disseminating new repertoire for flute and has worked closely with Australian composers Damian Barbeler, James Humberstone and Jane Stanley. She has initiated and performed on two recordings of new Australian flute music ‘Eat Chocolate and Cry’ and ‘Spirit of the Plains’ and has created several pedagogical volumes of repertoire for young flute players through her publishing company, Fluteworthy.
Blair Harris began his cello studies under the guidance of Gary Wilby and Dr Rolf Gjelsten. Since embarking on a professional career, Blair has had numerous soloist engagements with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Barrier Reef Orchestra and the Preston Symphony. His solo and chamber music repertoires have been recorded extensively for ABC Classic FM and 3MBS-FM Melbourne. As an avid devotee of new music, Blair is a member of the contemporary chamber music group Syzygy Ensemble. Blair currently plays on a very fine cello by renowned English maker Thomas Kennedy made in 1826.
Multi-instrumentalist and composer, Mary Rapp, is a multidisciplinary musician who has gained acclaim for her distinctive approach, which integrates jazz, classical, and experimental, integrated performances. Mary works in the spaces between categories and between genres, allowing her a performance career that spans from that of bass guitarist for Mardis Gras ambassador Courtney Act to cellist with the Australian Art Orchestra. She writes and regularly performs her own music, which ranges from solo to large ensemble and has been commissioned to write live and electronic soundtracks for Living Room Theater Company and Sport for Jove. Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand wrote “Rapp had an instinct for being taciturn and pithy; for making the music gossamer light or adding phenomenal weight and vigour, using extraordinarily few notes.”
David Moran studied cello under Rachel Johnston and Janis Laurs. David has been awarded a Director’s Award for outstanding achievement in 2014 and 2015, and received a Helpmann Award in 2014 for being one of the top two students in third year classical performance. He was selected as principal cellist for the Australian Youth Orchestra for 2015. He has performed in the Musica Viva Festival, receiving a week of intensive masterclasses with prestigious German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt. With Momentum Ensemble, David has performed under Simon Rattle in a concert alongside members of the Australian World Orchestra, and recently took part in a tour with conductor Ariel Zuckermann.
An acclaimed musician of great versatility, Roland Peelman, was born in Belgium and has been active in Australia over 30 years as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and musicians alike.
Roland has received numerous accolades for his commitment to the creative arts in Australia and specifically for his 25-year directorship of The Song Company, from 1990 – 2015, during which the ensemble grew into one of Australia’s most outstanding and innovative ensembles. In 2015 Roland was appointed Artistic Director of the Canberra International Music Festival.
His repertoire includes the major classical works as well as a vast oeuvre of early and new music. His passion for the latter has led to his directing numerous recordings and premiere seasons of new operas such as Black River, Fahrenheit 451, The Burrow, The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior and Gauguin, to name just a few.
He has worked with most orchestras in Australia and has conducted an abundance of new work with specialist ensembles such as Sydney Alpha, Libra and Ictus (Belgium-Germany) and most regularly with Australia’s leading new music group Ensemble Offspring.
He remains a regular guest at festivals in Australia and abroad and continues to develop new projects that intend to change and re-invigorate the nature of concert.
Ngaire de Korte was awarded her Bachelor of Music Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1995 under the tuition of Anne Gilby and Jeffrey Crellin. During that time she performed as principal oboist with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Following her undergraduate studies, she undertook a two-year contract as second oboe with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and became a section finalist in the ABC Young Performers Awards in 1997, in which she performed solo with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She continued her postgraduate studies at the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music under the tuition of Emmanuel Abbuhl and was awarded her U.M. diploma in 2001. She performed regularly with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, the Combattimento Consort, Amsterdam, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and was principal oboe for two years with the UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra. From 2002-2004 she held the position of associate principal oboe with the Auckland Philharmonia.
Ngaire maintains an active freelance career and plays regularly with the principal orchestras around Australia and New Zealand, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony, the West Australian Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony and the New Zealand Symphony, as well as chamber music with ensembles such as Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Omega Ensemble and a variety of ensembles within the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Sonya Holowell is an Indigenous Australian vocalist of immense versatility and range, who is dedicated to raising Australia’s profile in both new and antique music by uncovering and presenting the most challenging and rarely-performed compositions for voice. She explores the full scope of the voice as an instrument, and is currently developing her personal practice incorporating Extended Vocal Technique, improvisation and electronic music to express and explore the worlds of worship, warfare, spirit and truth.
In 2014 Sonya was Young Artist Soprano with the Song Company, and has performed at many of the leading national classical and New Music festivals as a soloist, ensemble singer and improviser. She has performed with a number of ensembles at the forefront of contemporary music including Ensemble Offspring, Australian Art Orchestra, Decibel, the Splinter Orchestra and Sydney Chamber Opera and has collaborated with many notable Australian and international artists and composers of New Music. Simultaneously Sonya loves to perform sacred ancient vocal music and chant; whether it be through the presentation of obscure choral gems or through improvised chant in solo performance.
This year Sonya presented her work in Europe where she was invited to participate in the soundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange in Maccagno, Italy, the Improvisation Xchange in Berlin and the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.
In addition to her work as a performer Sonya is currently lecturing in New Music and performance at the University of New South Wales.