Ensemble Offspring

II

Wednesday 3 April 2024

7:30pm

Hobart Town Hall

Ensemble Offspring is Australia’s leading new music group, standing at the forefront of musical innovation. Led by internationally acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes OAM, the ensemble unites the country’s most fearless and virtuosic instrumentalists.

Together, they create “visceral, joyous music” (Sydney Morning Herald) through kaleidoscopically varied performances that blaze a trail for Australian music.

At the heart of Ensemble Offspring’s mission is an unwavering commitment to the creation and dissemination of living new music. Since forming in 1995, it has commissioned and premiered over 350 new works, solidifying its position as the foremost champion of contemporary music in Australia. In particular, it actively promotes underrepresented voices including First Nations and emerging artists. This dedication has earned the ensemble the 2022 Classical:NEXT Innovation Award, the 2019 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award, multiple APRA Art Music Awards and two ARIA Award nominations.

Ensemble Offspring’s annual development programs are an essential pillar of Australia’s musical ecosystem. Hatched Academy is an incubator for emerging Australian artists which nurtures the next generation of cultural leaders through a composer intensive, individual mentorship, and an associate artist position.

Songbirds celebrates the breathtaking virtuosity of Australian birdsong with an array of original Australian chamber works commissioned by Ensemble Offspring. Be transported into the Australian bush by the familiar sounds of nature’s own musicians, with a little help from Australia’s leading composers.

After devoting her life to documenting pied butcherbird song in Central Australia, Hollis Taylor composed her trio Bitter Springs Creek 2014, pairing live instrumentalists with ancient bird sounds. Fiona Loader’s Lorikeet Corroboree follows an upbeat journey which interweaves the chatter of rainbow lorikeets with the sounds of ground-dwelling composers – including fragments from Papageno’s Magic Flute and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Gerard Brophy makes flamingos dance and hummingbirds buzz in his three-movement tour-de-force Beautiful Birds. First Nations composers Nardi Simpson and Brenda Gifford share Indigenous perspectives on the sky and its many inhabitants. Brenda Gifford’s Mungala (Clouds) evokes clouds building across the sea, while Nardi Simpson’s Of Stars and Birds interprets a significant Yuwaalaraay story about the creation of the southern cross.

Songbirds captures the magical bird calls of the red centre, virtuosic avian displays and Indigenous musical perspectives on these beguiling creatures of the sky.

Fiona Loader
Lorikeet Corroboree (2015)
Nardi Simpson
Of Stars and Birds (2020)
Ella Macens
Falling Embers (2020)
Olivier Messiaen
Abîme des oiseaux (Abyss of the Birds) from Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1941)
Kate Moore
Blackbird Song (2018)
Camille Saint-Saëns
Le Cygne (The Swan) from Le Carnaval des animaux (1886)
Fiona Loader
Lyrebird Hop (World Premiere) (2023)
Brenda Gifford
Mungala (Clouds) (2018)
Alice Humphries
The Visitor (Sorry, I can’t stay) (2022)
Gerard Brophy
Beautiful Birds (2019)

This is a concert that must be seen. Hearing it is not enough. It was full of play and colour and many incredible techniques…the whole concert was a blast and a half of colour, fun and musical ingenuity.

City News (Canberra)

Claire Edwardes

Percussion

Lamorna Nightingale

Flutes

Jason Noble

Clarinets

Upcoming concerts