The Group

Ensemble Offspring ensemble

Ensemble Offspring is Australia’s pre-eminent adventurous new music group. With a reputation for original and unique programming at the highest level, Ensemble Offspring pursues an agenda of directly shaping the music of our time. The ensemble is based on the philosophy of promoting artistic integrity, open-mindedness and challenging the way artists and audiences think about music. Embracing an eclectic and progressive repertoire, the ensemble has been described as having an “uncompromising assertiveness” and “systematically undercutting artistic pretension”.

Based in Sydney, Ensemble Offspring is led by acclaimed percussionist and founding member, Claire Edwardes, and features a core line-up of six of Sydney’s most well-regarded and eclectic musicians; Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (clarinet), Veronique Serret (violin), Blair Harris (cello), Bree van Reyk (drum kit & percussion) and Zubin Kanga (piano). Outside of Ensemble Offspring, members might be found performing with choirs, collaborating with singer-songwriters, joining dancers on stage or performing concertos with world class orchestras. The group frequently expands to include other instruments, as well as conductor, Roland Peelman, and collaborates across genres and art forms, including theatre, popular music, dance and opera. Recent collaborators include Mike Patton, Urban Theatre Projects, Amanda Brown, The Song Company and Sydney Chamber Opera.

With the creation of new work at the heart of Ensemble Offspring’s activities, the group constantly commissions composers through its Noisy Egg Creation Fund and works regularly with emerging and established Australian composers such as Mary Finsterer, Matthew Shlomowitz, Michael Smetanin and Kate Moore and international composers including Michael Norris, Simon Steen-Andersen, Louis Andriessen and Michael Finnissy.

In 2017 the group presented a full year of works by female composers including twenty seven world premieres. Each year Ensemble Offspring’s Hatched Academy provides opportunities for the very best performers and composers from around Australia.

Further to regular national touring commitments, Ensemble Offspring has performed extensively in Europe and Asia and was ensemble in residence at the 2015 Shanghai New Music Week and 2010 ISCM (Sydney). In 2016, the group won the Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation, presented by APRA/AMCOS and the AMC. In the same year, Artistic Director Claire Edwardes was awarded the Award for Excellence by an Individual for her outstanding contribution to Australian music. The Secret Noise, composed by Damien Ricketson, and presented by Ensemble Offspring, won the 2015 Art Music Award for Instrumental Work of the Year and in 2015 the group was a short listed in the Classical Next:Innovation Award.

Now in its twenty third year, in 2015, Ensemble Offspring celebrated 20-years of championing new and innovative music, showcasing the astounding journey the group has taken from a student ensemble co-founded by composers Matthew Shlomowitz and 20-year artistic director, Damien Ricketson, to the internationally esteemed ensemble it is today.

“Although so much smaller in scale than the SSO, and braver than the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring offers a more incisive vision, consistent commissioning and engagement with new media and theatrical idioms that an increasing number of composers see as part of their remit. Equality of opportunity figures strongly too, evident in the ensemble’s 2017 program, entirely comprising works by female composers.” – Keith Gallasch, RealTime

Meet the musicians