FROM OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Our second iteration of the Kontiki Racket Festival at Paddington Town Hall is not for the faint hearted. We have embraced this vast space and created corners for you to make musical and cultural discoveries during the weekend. On both Friday and Saturday as part of Kontiki Racket Bazaar (our interactive activities in between the main concert events), we invite you to partake in musical saw workshops with Danica Hobden, bring in sheet music and CDs to swap with like-minded folk, soak up our latest iteration of Offspring Bites videos and imbibe in great local food and drink. Then we have the four main stage concerts – two featuring Ensemble Offspring and two presenting special guests. Our Hatched Academy Associate Artist for 2019, viola player Henry Justo, is joined by our very first 2014 Hatched Academy performer, trumpet virtuosi Callum G’Froerer on his bespoke double bell trumpet. Coming all the way from Adelaide is the Zephyr Quartet with a vibrant program of new works for strings, electronics and Theremin. Ensemble Offspring’s contribution spans large ensemble and solo works – classics of our repertoire by psychedelic Italian cult figure Fausto Romitelli, otherworldly tones from Finland’s Kaija Saariaho alongside brand new works by Nicole Lizée (Canada) and Christopher Fox (UK). Edgy, electronic sound worlds prevail at this years Kontiki Racket Festival with offerings from all over Australia and the world. I hope you enjoy this musical expedition of invention. We look forward to sharing a chat, a Batch brew and some epic new music making over the weekend!
Claire Edwardes (Artistic Director/percussion)
Roland Peelman (conductor)
Véronique Serret (violin)
Anna McMichael (violin)
Blair Harris (cello)
Ben Ward (double bass)
Rowan Phemister (harp)
Lamorna Nightingale (flute)
Jason Noble (clarinet)
Zubin Kanga (piano/keyboard)
Joe Fallon (electric guitar)
Zephyr Quartet (Hilary Kleinig, Jason Thomas, Emily Tulloch, Emma Perkins (Guest))
Brendan Woithe (electronics & theremin)
Ollie Brown (electronics)
Henry Justo (viola) Hatched Academy 2019 Associate Artist
Callum G’Froerer (double bell trumpet)
Niki Johnson (percussion)
Mark Oliviero (electronics)
Michelle St Anne (creative design direction)
David Trumpmanis (sound engineer)
Fausto Brusamolino (lighting designer)
Living new music has no greater champion than Ensemble Offspring. A devotion to fearless music making has seen the ensemble premiere over three hundred new works over the course of twenty-four years. Led by acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes, Ensemble Offspring comprises some of Australia’s most innovative and virtuosic performers and champions marginalised compositional voices including female and Australian first peoples composers. In 2016, the group won the APRA Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation. Ensemble Offspring has recently toured to Hong Kong, Albany, Amsterdam and Brewarinna and has regularly been featured at Mona FOMA Festival as well Sydney Festival. EO has a cult following at its Sizzle series at the local bowling club and supports the next generation of Australian musicians and composers through its Hatched Academy. Driven by a philosophy of promoting artistic integrity and challenging the way audiences perceive new music, Ensemble Offspring prides itself on a holistic commitment to the music of our time.
Zephyr Quartet is Australia’s leading genre-defying explorers of dynamic cross-artform music-focused collaborations, whose musicians also compose, arrange and improvise. This unique skill-set together with Zephyr’s open-minded approach allows them to skillfully traverse musical worlds and gives the award-winning ensemble a distinct voice. A firm believer in the power of the string quartet as a medium to communicate and explore complex relationships between society and art, Zephyr has achieved an enviable reputation for artistic excellence, innovation and audience development. Armed with the spirit of collaboration, Zephyr draws inspiration from working with artists from a range of backgrounds, including theatre, dance, literature, visual art, environmental art, design, film and media art, to produce work that is vital, current and courageous.
Find all other artist biographies after program notes
Offspring Bites is Ensemble Offspring’s biennial audio-visual series launched in 2017, celebrating living Australian chamber works written for Ensemble Offspring by pairing them with bespoke visual content. Giving the most exceptional Noisy Egg Creation Fund commissions a life beyond the concert hall, our Offspring Bites initiative takes a holistic approach to the documentation of Australian art music with integrated audio and visual element.
Our 2nd edition launching in 2019 celebrates the output of some great Australian female composers with whom Ensemble Offspring has collaborated over a period of time – Bree van Reyk (composer and longtime member of Ensemble Offspring), Andrea Keller (Melbourne jazz pianist and composer), Holly Harrison (young Western Sydney composer), Cassie To (student composer when she wrote this work) and Melody Eötvös (now teaching in Melbourne after many years in the USA). Likewise, the video artists are some of Australia’s best and most prolific. Each has developed a strong synergy with the composer and created something bespoke to the mood, content and theme of that specific musical work.
Find out more at http://ensembleoffspring.com/recordings/offspringbites2/
all notes by the composers and Claire Edwardes)
CONCERT 1 – ‘RAINING’
OLIVIA BETTINA DAVIES – FEMME (2018)
Femme is an electroacoustic work originally recorded for a collaborative exhibition between photographer Natasja Kremers and illustrator Angela Mitchell, where printed and painted artworks combine gritty, textural photography with delicate illustrations in coloured and metallic inks. Themes of femininity, fashion, flora and fauna were explored. The music accompanied a video installation throughout the one-month exhibition and was created primarily using recorded samples of a prepared piano. Above this, one of the subjects featured in the artwork recites the themes of the exhibition in both English and French – her native tongue – adding an overtly human but deliberately monotone layer to the music.
Olivia Bettina Davies is a Perth-based composer whose work explores ideas of stasis and flow, the subtle variation of texture, and the organic development of sound. Davies has worked with leading Australian ensembles including Ensemble Offspring, Intercurrent and the Australian Chamber Orchestra collective with whom she recorded her piece Crystalline for the latest Hush Foundation, Collective Wisdom.
SUNGJI HONG – BLACK ARROW (2005)
In Black Arrow, written for bass clarinet and electronics, the bass clarinet solo part consists of three ideas, as follows: the quiet timbral trills, abrupt slap tongues in low register and ghostly fleeting key slap scales. The whole piece develops around or between these three gestures turning on themselves or going through transformations. The latent energy seems to waver in a very low register but gradually the sound creates a space filled with a strong directional kinetic energy. The succession of rising scales, lofty multiphonics and huge intervallic portamenti intensify the energy and constantly keep up the extreme tension.
Sungji Hong graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in London (MMus) and the University of York (PhD) in the UK. She has received 45 distinctions for her compositions, including the Franz Josef Reinl-Stiftung (1st Prize), the Jesus Villa-Rojo (1st Prize), the Temple Music Composition Prize, ACL Yoshiro Irino Memorial Prize, and others. Her music has been performed in over 42 countries and 167 cities throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Since 2018, Hong has been teaching composition at the University of North Texas.
NICOLE LIZEE- RIBBON WINDOWS A (2019)
Inspired by Le Corbusier’s inventive design, this piece is an exploration of, and possible sonic companion to, the idea of Ribbon Windows. Interleaved and continuously woven, fluidly panoramic vantages create different frame views for any outward-looking viewer within the structure. Much like a camera obscura that throttles light down to a focal point then refracts and expands again. Written for Claire Edwardes and commissioned by Ensemble Offspring donor Peter Howard, this is the world premiere of the first movement.
Called “a brilliant musical scientist” (CBC), “breathtakingly inventive” (Sydney Times Herald, Australia), and “utterly inspiring” (I Care If You Listen, NYC), multiple award winning composer and video artist Nicole Lizée creates new music and video from an eclectic mix of influences including the earliest MTV videos, turntablism, rave culture, glitch, Hitchcock, Alexander McQueen, and 1960s psychedelia. Her commission list of over 50 works includes the Kronos Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, Carnegie Hall, So Percussion, Bang On A Can, the Australian Art Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
MICHAEL SMETANIN – TEMPLE (2015)
Temple is a short piece for one percussionist playing one set of five Temple Blocks and was composed for German percussionist Max Riefer. Claire Edwardes later took on the work and added a cadenza. The music is made of materials mainly based on a non-retrogradable rhythm of 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3 predominantly measured in semiquavers and overlaid in canon of varying numbers of voices at any one time.
Sydney composer Michael Smetanin is one of Australia’s most distinctive composers. He completed study at the Sydney Conservatorium in 1981 and three years study with Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague between 1982-84. Smetanin’s music has been extensively commissioned, performed, and recorded internationally with works appearing on over 30 commercially released CD albums. Commissions include those from Schoenberg Ensemble, Bang On A Can All-stars, Orkest de Volharding, Elision and major orchestras in Australia.
KAREN TANAKA – SONG OF SONGS (1996)
The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. “I have attempted to project this sensual song of love onto the sound of cello and computer. My intention was to weave colour and scent into the sound while blending the ancient story and today’s technology. The sound of the cello is consistently gentle and tender.
Born in Tokyo 1961, Karen Tanaka is an exceptionally versatile composer and pianist. Her works have been performed by distinguished orchestras and ensembles worldwide including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Kronos Quartet, Brodsky Quartet, BIT20 Ensemble, among many others. Various choreographers and dance companies, including Wayne McGregor and Nederlands Dans Theater, have often featured her music.
MISSY MAZZOLI – ORIZZONTE (2004)
Orizzonte, for piano and electronics, consists of gently overlapping sine waves that set the stage for a meditative and introspective piano melody. This piece was composed for Hills Not Skyscrapers, a band devoted to combining live electronics, composition and improvisation, founded by Missy Mazzoli in Amsterdam in 2004. The sinewaves were created using SuperCollider software. Orizzonte (“horizons” in Italian) was first performed on a piano that had been left out in the rain for a year, in a dilapidated squat hidden in the heart of Amsterdam.
Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (NY Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out NY), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed by the Kronos Quartet, LA Opera, eighth blackbird, the BBC Symphony, Cincinnati Opera and many others. In 2018, she became the first woman to receive a main stage commission from the Metropolitan Opera, and was nominated for a Grammy award in the category of “Best Classical Composition”. She is currently Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and co-founder of Luna Lab, a mentorship program for female composers in their teens.
CHRISTOPHER FOX – IRON RAIN (2019)
I woke up one morning in July 2018 with the memory of a clangorous music echoing in my head. Somehow it seemed to be a companion piece to Stockhausen’s REFRAIN, but with electric guitar instead of celesta. I emailed my favourite percussionist, Claire Edwardes, to see if she might be interested in such a piece, and she told me about the aluphone: a perfect match for the sound I had heard in my dream. For me it is increasingly important to allow music to grow out of its sonic material and everything in Iron Rain – pitches, rhythmic proportions, resonance – is based on a spectral analysis of the sound of an iron bell. It seems to me that this might be part of a more global way of being: all the ideas and materials we need to live well on this planet already exist, we just need to implement them better. Iron Rain is dedicated to Claire Edwardes and to the memory of my wife, Susan McNally, who died in December 2018.
Christopher Fox is a composer who sometimes writes about music too. Often working at a tangent to the musical mainstream, he has based his compositional career around close collaborations with particular performers, including Elizabeth Hilliard, Ian Pace, Anton Lukoszevieze and Philip Thomas, the Ives Ensemble, Apartment House and EXAUDI. His work is the subject of the book Perspectives on the music of Christopher Fox: Straight lines in broken times (Ashgate-Routledge, 2016). CDs of his music are available on the Ergodos, HatHut, Metier and NMC labels. He is the editor of TEMPO and Professor of Music at Brunel University London.
CONCERT 2 – ‘CREATING’
YANNIS KYRIAKIDES – MUSIC FOR VIOLA (2013)
Music for Viola was composed for the 40th birthday of Jason van Eyk. The music material of the piece is based on the encryption of the word ‘music’ as it is written or spoken in the world’s 100 most common languages, in order of popularity. The letters are encoded into musical tones, the harmonics of a partially re-tuned viola, and supported at times with quiet vocalisations. The list of languages used in the piece is roughly based on Ethnologue’s list which groups languages by their use and makes a distinction between dialects and fully differentiated languages. Various melodic strands are therefore heard in the piece which have to do with the recurrence of ‘Sangita’ (or variations of it) which occurs in the many Indian languages on the list, and the European ‘Mus/Muz/Miz’ stem, which occurs in about 40% of the most common languages. The idea behind presenting this concept is not so much about highlighting the so-called ‘universality’ of music transcending linguistic difference, but rather as a metaphor to how the meaning of music just like the meaning of the word ‘music’ is never constant but in constant fluctuation.
Yannis Kyriakides was born in Limassol, Cyprus in 1969, emigrated to Britain in 1975 and has been living in the Netherlands since 1992. He studied musicology at York University, and later composition with Louis Andriessen and Dick Raaijmakers. As a composer and sound artist, Yannis looks for ways of creating new forms and hybrids of media that problematise the act of listening. The question as to what music is actually communicating is a recurring theme in his work and he is often drawn to the relation between perception, emotion and language and how that defines our experience of sound.
ALICE HUMPHRIES – PATIENCE (2019)
Patience explores the concept of patience both in the personal and musical senses. Written across the first six months of Alice’s son’s life, the piece reflects on the new understanding of patience that parenthood has taught her, while also seeking to be patient in the unfolding of musical material, and the revealing of different textural possibilities unique to the double bell trumpet.
Alice Humphries is an Australian-based composer working across the jazz and contemporary classical worlds. Her music has been described as “bursting with life and fun, as well as great, great beauty” and “deeply thought provoking… offering both moments of incredible intensity and sublime serenity.” Often concerned with human emotion or the natural world, her music seeks to create immersive and engaging sound worlds that take inspiration from natural phenomena and intersections between humanity and nature.
SAMANTHA WOLF – SIMMER (2019)
Simmer focuses on metallic, airy, and unstable sounds at the threshold of pitch and noise, especially those resembling sounds one may encounter frequently yet unconsciously in everyday life: feedback, static, the whirring of old electronic goods, and the distant hum of traffic. The work is for the unusual combination trumpet, metallic percussion and viola and was commissioned by Ensemble Offspring for this concert.
Melbourne-based composer Samantha Wolf is quickly gaining recognition as one of Australia’s distinctive young voices. Described as “haunting” (XS Entertainment), “enigmatic” (Blue Curtains) and “inspired” (Brisbane Music Festival), her music inhabits the space between the classical, contemporary, acoustic and electroacoustic worlds, while being grounded in the notated tradition. Her diverse practice encompasses solo, chamber, choral, band and orchestral works, interdisciplinary collaborations, and electroacoustic works that incorporate noise, speech, and found sounds.
LUCIANO BERIO – NATURALE (1985)
Naturale was composed in 1985 for the Ater Balletto of Reggio Emilia and is dedicated to Aldo Bennici “in brotherly devotion”. The piece has the subtitle “action for dance” but it can also be performed in concert. It re-employs themes of Sicilian folk songs first used by Berio in Voci for viola and two groups of instruments (1984), which here have been filtered out, so to speak. The flow of musical events is interrupted by the voice of a Sicilian folk singer, recorded by the composer in Palermo. The work is nourished by the contrast between a highly refined transcription of folk songs and the raw, natural voice of a folk singer.
Luciano Berio was born in 1925 in Italy and died in 2003. He was a man whose success as theorist, conductor, composer, and teacher placed him among the leading representatives of the musical avant-garde. His style is notable for combining lyric and expressive musical qualities with the most advanced techniques of electronic and aleatory music.
CONCERT 3 – ‘BREATHING’
BRENDAN WOITHE – BREATHE (2019)
Breathe is an exploration of live and generative performance – of different experiences being in a quartet vs the audience when an additional system of sound abstraction generates the final sound that is heard from what the quartet is playing.
The piece involves the live abstraction of the individual instruments via a digital system of sonic manipulations. All of the sound experienced by the audience is being generated in real time. There is no backing track or pre-recorded sounds. Instead, the system abstracts the mic’d quartets sound using real-time raytracing, harmonic filtering, vocoding, and granular synthesis for pitch shifting alongside other more well-known effects like delays, reverbs, looping and the like.
Brendan Woithe is a composer, sound designer and producer of soundscapes based in the Inner West of Sydney. In the last few years, sound and music have taken Brendan to China for the World Trade Fair, New York for a 10-year generative music installation and a large scale building projection, and London for documentaries and commercials. Brendan also works in experiential audio and theatre, installation, film, television, documentary, branding, art and experimental projects and composes music for the Australian Dance Theatre.
CAT HOPE – WALL DRAWING (2014)
Wall Drawing takes direct inspiration from the drawings of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, and his statements that likened his art practice to that of composers of music. Using primary and secondary colour, and simple, almost minimalist line drawing, the score contracts the short straight line against the curved continuous as guides for musical structure. The piece was written during a residency at the Visby Centre for International Composers, Sweden supported by the AMC and ISCM.
Cat Hope’s music is conceptually driven, using mostly graphic scores, electro-acoustic combinations and new score reading technologies. It often features aleatoric elements, drone, noise, glissandi and an ongoing fascination with low-frequency sound. Her composed music ranges from works for laptop duet to orchestra, with a focus on chamber works, and in 2013 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to develop her work, as well as Civitella Ranieri (Italy) and Visby International Composers residency (Sweden) fellowships.
LISA CHENEY – WHEN WE SPEAK (2016)
When We Speak for solo cello and electroacoustic track seeks to comment on broader issues surrounding gender inequality and these considerations on my compositional practice. Throughout the work the interweaving of many ‘voices’ is present in; my own musical language, the music and speech of respected Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho, the expression of the live cellist and their own literal voice. This, at times semi-improvised cello part, weaves its way through an atmospheric soundscape challenging and questioning the role of the live musician to blend in, fight against or rise above the sound world. The accompanying recorded musical sounds are extracted from Saariaho’s own compositions, with special weight placed upon manipulated excerpts from the solo cello work Sept Papillons.
Born in 1987, Lisa Cheney is an Australian composer of acoustic and acousmatic music, hailing from Queensland and now living in Melbourne. Her music communicates through varied styles which often explore notions of connection and authenticity through fascinations with the ‘edge’ of beauty; expression, poeticism, fragility, delicacy, resonant space, pacing, light and dark and atmospheric soundscapes. Cheney’s work has been described as “atmospheres of unfathomable spaciousness” (Partial Durations), “melodic slivers with plaintive intensity” (The Australian) and “fantastic and frightening in its detail and colour” (Resonate).
ANNA MEREDITH – MUSIC FOR RAVENS (2005)
Music for Ravens was initially commissioned to be a piece about ghosts. For some reason I can’t quite remember I started mulling on the idea of ghost birds and then specifically ravens which seem at once fiercely intelligent and a bit hoppy and ungainly. This super short piece was my little homage of four (imaginary, ghost) ravens sometimes as individual characters and sometimes pecking about as one.
Anna Meredith is a composer, producer and performer of both acoustic and electronic music. Her sound is frequently described as “uncategorisable” and “genre-defying” and straddles the different worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, techno, ambient installations and experimental rock – or as the Guardian said: “majestic bangers”. She was voted Number One in The List’s Hot100 (of Cultural Contributors to 2016), was voted No 31 in the 2018 Women’s Hour Power List and awarded an MBE for services to music in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
HILARY KLEINIG – EXQUISITE PEACE (2019)
Exquisite Peace is a movement from a suite called Ecstatic Moments and tries to capture in sound the essence of a moment of gratitude and stillness where I feel that everything is ok in my life, so perfect at this particular time: the rare, fragile beauty of this crystalline space. Knowing that at any second reality, and all of its demands, might come crashing back through and the bittersweet knowledge that I never know when it will happen again.
Hilary Kleinig is a multidisciplinary musician who works as a cellist, composer, curator, producer and educator. She believes strongly in the transformative power of music and is passionate about creating new work with artists and communities that tell stories important to us today. Hilary works in live and recorded performance as a freelance musician for ensembles, orchestras and contemporary music and jazz artists, and composes music for theatre, dance and ensembles. Her research, development and composition project ‘The Lost Art of Listening’ was awarded the Arts South Australia Fellowship in 2017, and in 2018 she was COMA’s (Creative Original Music Adelaide) Featured Composer.
CAROLINE SHAW – VALENCIA (2012)
There is something exquisite about the construction of an ordinary orange. (Grocery stores around the country often offer the common “Valencia” as the standard option). Hundreds of brilliantly coloured, impossibly delicate vesicles of juice, ready to explode. It is a thing of nature so simple, yet so complex and extraordinary. In 2012, I performed at the MoMA with the musician and performance artist, Glasser – a song which she described as being about the simple beauty of fruit. Later that summer I wrote Valencia, for a concert I was playing with some good friends in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. I decided to channel Glasser’s brave and intuitive approach to melody and texture, such that Valencia became an untethered embrace of the architecture of the common Valencia orange, through billowing harmonics and somewhat viscous chords and melodies. It is also a kind of celebration of awareness of the natural, unadorned food that is still available to us.
Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician – vocalist, violinist, composer and producer – who performs in solo and collaborative projects. She was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Recent commissions include new works for Renée Fleming with Inon Barnatan, Dawn Upshaw with Sō Percussion and Gil Kalish, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with John Lithgow, the Dover Quartet, TENET, the Baltimore Symphony, and Roomful of Teeth with A Far Cry.
CONCERT 4 – ‘STEALING’
NICOLE MURPHY – STOLEN (2014/2019)
Stolen began as a six-minute piece composed for Yale University’s 2014 Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. At the request of guitarist Solomon Silber, the piece was used as the foundation for a large-scale 45-minute suite for solo electric guitar and chamber ensemble that was composed in early 2015 and released by Elm City Records in 2016. The piece is based on a poem by Australian writer Richard James Allen, A Scheme for Brightness. It takes its form from the poem, mirroring the wild chaotic opening, before moving into a more introspective middle section. The final section of the piece reflects the resolution in the final lines of the poem. The pitch material for the entire piece is derived from a single motif that references the “gleaming grain of golden sand” that Allen describes as a “piece of matter, with the universe in it”. This is a reduced 12-minute reworking of the 45-minute piece arranged for Ensemble Offspring, comprising the movements listed (in order) below: Movement V, Movement I, Movement II, Movement III (excerpt).
Nicole Murphy’s music has been described as “exquisite and sensitive” (Sydney Morning Herald), “strong and compelling” (Loudmouth) and “full of exhilarating tension” (Arts Knoxville). She has been commissioned by the Australian Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance (London), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Experiments in Opera/Symphony Space (New York), Orchestra Victoria, Wild Rumpus (San Francisco), Chamber Sounds (Singapore), and the Definiens Project (Los Angeles). In 2019 she is Ensemble Offspring’s Noisy Women Composer.
KAIJA SAARIAHO – LICHTBOGEN (1986)
Composed in 1986 by legendary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Lichtbogen means light bow. Although a relatively early work for an ensemble of nine plus live electronics, Saariaho describes it herself as “a piece I can approve of”. She also describes it as “breathing music”. It is based on the visual inspiration of the movement of the northern lights which she sighted in the arctic sky when starting the piece. She writes “When looking at the movement of these immense, silent lights which run over the black sky, first ideas concerning the form and language for the piece started to move in my mind.” Composing for Lichtbogen was the first time she had worked with computer in the context of instrumental music. She was studying at IRCAM in Paris at the time and used systems such as CRIME and FORMES to realise harmony and rhythm in the work. The live electronics themselves are subtle, using effects such as harmonisers and have often been described as a halo over the acoustic instrumental texture. At the outset of Lichtbogen the musicians begin on a single pitch – beginning with alto flute, then strings joining – which remains steady as attacks, articulation and textures change. After a minute or so, instrumental lines veer off wandering quite far afield, quick string ascents follow combining with deftly crafted piano and pitched percussion sound creating a restlessly spacey effect.
Tom Service writes of Saariaho’s music “To journey into Saariaho’s music is to be confronted with the darkest and most dazzling dimensions of your subconscious, and glimpses of the existential journeys she has made to find these pieces.”
FAUSTO ROMITELLI – PROFESSOR BAD TRIP LESSON 1 (1998)
Composed by the Italian composer Fausto Romitelli, who died prematurely in 2004 after a long fight with cancer, Professor Bad Trip Lessons 1, 2 and 3 (written in quick succession) are where psychedelic rock lives on in notated music. Inspired by the Italian comic artist Gianluca Lerici a.k.a. Professor Bad Trip and his psychedelic cartoons Romitelli was also influenced by poet Henri Michaux, particularly for his writings under the influence of mescaline and other psychedelic substances. Professor Bad Trip gives that hallucinogenic feeling through music. Today we will present Lesson 1. Rock music, with its energy, impurity and its impatient, anarchistic recourse to electronic artifices has overwhelmed many a composer. Without relying on any improvisation or simplifications, in Professor Bad Trip Romitelli meticulously builds and moulds a unique instrumental style through his music, welcoming all the resources of ‘dirty’ sound, idiosyncratic guitar-hero phrases and every harmonic mutation ranging from clarity to absolute distortion.
Born in 1963, at the age of 28, Italian composer Fausto Romitelli moved to Paris to follow courses in computer music at IRCAM (also where Saariaho went to study). Here he studied spectral techniques with Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail – the elaboration of sound fusing timbre and harmony, acoustic simulation of electronic sound. He achieved new acoustic phenomenon by twisting, compressing and stretching the musical material. It was at IRCAM that Romitelli became aware of the potential connections between the world of psychedelic rock and classical composed music.
Henry Justo is an emerging violist of versatile talents, with a focus on musical exploration. Based in Melbourne and studying at the Australian National Academy of Music, in 2019 Henry is Associate Artist with Ensemble Offspring as part of the Hatched Academy. He has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, ACO Collective, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Chamber Opera, Inventi Ensemble and for event series Play On and Opus Now. Henry is also delighted to be further working with the Hush Foundation, bringing Australian music into the healthcare system.
Callum G’Froerer is an Australian trumpet player based in Melbourne, active in various improvised and notated musical settings. Originally from sunny Perth, he was based in Berlin from 2015-2018, and Melbourne from 2012-2014. Callum was part of Ensemble Offspring’s first Hatched Academy in 2014. He has performed in the USA, Italy, UK, Japan, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Taiwan, Germany, and Singapore, and has performed world and national premieres of works by Ann Cleare, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Liza Lim, James Rushford, Cat Hope, and Eres Holz.
Nicole Johnson is a contemporary percussionist and graduate of a Bachelor of Percussion Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Since her graduation, she has been exploring contemporary compositions for solo and chamber ensemble and has been expanding her improvisation pallet and collaboration. She is a member of contemporary chamber group Ensemble Muse, and improvisation ensembles; Ensemble Omsombl, SICKOrchestra, and Throat Pleats. Nicole is presenting as part of Ensemble Offspring’s Hatched Academy Open Mic 2019.
Ensemble Offspring would also like to thank all the volunteers who took part in putting this festival on. Without their help we simply wouldn’t be able to stage such an event.