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2019 Quotes & Reviews

LONE HEMISPHERES

“Designer Michelle St Anne emphasises isolation with, in turn, each soloist half-shadowed at the base of a high cone of misty light and each of the six performances newly positioned amid small softly lit sculptural forms, lending the space a cosmological ambience, apt for lone voices in the vastness of the universe.”

‘The organic naturalism of the cellular growth of Donatoni’s Soft (1989) for bass clarinet…is deeply engaging in Jason Noble’s riveting performance.”

“Nightingale eloquently met the challenging pace and pitch changes of Berio’s Sequenza I (1958), not least in the deep trilling and high fluttering, amid lucid long notes, in the thrilling last third or so of the work. Donatoni’s more wide-ranging Omar, a beautiful exploration of instrumental possibilities evident in Edwardes’ deeply engaged vibraphone playing..”

“Within the concert’s unifying stage ambience, Ensemble Offspring’s lone hemispheres were made whole with the soloists’ dextrous execution of Italian modernist classics and compelling Australian works by composers who embrace past innovations while cogently pursuing their own.”

– Keith Gallasch, RealTime.

“…the evening was a smooth, cool unfolding of delicate and virtuosic works in Carriageworks’ desolate Track 8, uniquely configured by Michelle St Anne. Dry ice and three small reflective pools lit by candlelight added an element of mysterious calm to the otherwise bleak, sharp, triangularly configured stage space.

Noble’s contributions included Franco Donatoni’s Soft (1989) and the premiere of Damien Ricketson’s Borderlines (2019), which included a small speaker wedged inside the bell of the clarinet, adding a haunting and ghostly presence beneath Noble’s ebbs and flows.

Nightingale opened with the premiere of Elizabeth Younan’s outstanding Fantasia (2019), which, after a spritely beginning, surprised the audience with the inclusion of a bass drum. It was a challenging, rhythmically complex work delivered with aplomb by Nightingale — but perhaps no less challenging than Berio’s Sequenza I (1958), which opened the second portion of the program.

Edwardes demystified the space with a number of addresses to break up the music. She closed the evening with the first movement of Donatoni’s virtuosic Omar (1985), but its difficulty was not to be outdone by the second outing of Tristan Coelho’s A line is a dot that went for a walk (2018), which I had the pleasure of seeing at its premiere last year. It’s a very satisfying listen, and liable to become a classic for Edwardes.

– Mark Bosch, CutCommon

FORBIDDEN THINGS

“4.5 stars. Justo handled the technical demands with aplomb, and if there is some room to heighten the trance-like stillness in which works like this thrive, the explorations of texture and overtones foreshadowed the music to come in the concert’s second set.”
“The players fed off each other to produce a remarkably cohesive performance, ultimately fading out into the soft static hiss of the violin, but it was Voutchkova’s performance that really captivated.”

– Angus McPherson, LimeLight

“Justo played with gentle and naïve expression, drawing the audience totally into the vulnerable sound worlds…”
“The highlight of the night was an extended improvisation that started with Voutchkova, who occasionally vocalised as she played to build some remarkable sonorities. Thomas was added before too long, followed by Noble and Edwardes. It was intense, vulnerable, violent, vital stuff.”

– Mark Bosch, CutCommon

SOLITUDE TOUR (EUROPE)

The Night With – Glasgow

“4 Stars. This re-moulding of electronic dance music for a small chamber group was an Antipodean cousin to some of the work of our own award-winning Anna Meredith, and its placing at the conclusion of this cleverly-paced programme was another eloquent reminder of music as an international language.” – Keith Bruce, The Herald.

“On two of the earlier pieces, Jane Stanley’s Glow and Kate Moore’s Blackbird Song, it was Nightingale’s flute that particularly impressed. The latter was delightfully filmic and clearly a work – again written especially for the group – that the musicians have made very personal.” – Keith Bruce, The Herald.

“With welcomed personality, Ensemble Offspring engage with listeners and share context of the presented works, with stories of collaboration and rehearsal, and ongoing relationships with the particular composers they perform. That gesture, wrapped up with energy, commitment, and equity in the music they play, is why this ensemble has gained wide respect in new music.” – Miles Oakey, I Care If You Listen

From our collaborators in Europe
“Ensemble Offspring just oozes personality. A lot of groups can play at a high level. What makes Offspring really special is that after a concert, you feel like you know each and every one of them. They are a ‘band’ in every sense of the word.” – David Dramm

Matthew Whiteside succinctly describes Ensemble Offspring as “fucking amazing!”

“Ensemble Offspring is a great ensemble, embodying the classic Australia can-do attitude. They are both easy-going and take their art very seriously. Their dedication to new music and bringing my creation to life, with all of its musical and technological challenges was inspiring! They are not just players but open minded committed musicians with living, breathing ideas about the current state of music – which is what made their performances such rich, multi-faceted experiences.” – Ned McGowan

Global Adapter – Berlin
“It sparkled in them, a joy about making music, a bliss to make music sound and the love of the thing itself: in short, enthusiasm. You could feel something incomparable and irreplaceable happen. Maybe something indelible. ” – Martin Hufner, NMZ Online

KONTIKI RACKET

“Ensemble Offspring doesn’t shy away from music that can be challenging for both players and audience, but if die-hard new music enthusiasts might have longed for one or two large-scale works – Berio’s Naturale was the only piece to hit the 20-minute mark – this festival was no less satisfying for being digestible, with uniformly high-quality performances and clever programming…” – Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine

“Kontiki Racket wasn’t just these four mainstage performances, however, with food and drink contributing to the warm atmosphere in the Town Hall, and the Kontiki Bazaar offering a CD and sheet music swap, lessons on musical saws (and at one point Theremin) and an instrument petting zoo” – Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine

“Kontiki Racket was fantastic – loved the music, loved playing the instruments, loved the venue, loved the food and wine!” – Audience Member.

SIZZLE

“The whole day was a gift from Ensemble Offspring – so nice to have a memento in the form of the beautiful photos by Chris Hayles.” – Audience Member

“What a fabulous and unforgettable experience Sizzle 2019 was! Our kids creating music with professionals, working with living composers and performing in a professional setting was a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.” – Audience Member

SUPPRESSION DAM

“…a texture would be established through repeating evolving patterns until a new rhythm emerged and started to dominate, dragging the mind into hearing the patterns in a new speed or context. The shifts in pace provided a change in perspective, as though constantly realising one’s perceptions are part of something larger.” – Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald

 “Wonderful performances that brought the Turbine Hall to life .” – audience member

POLYTOPES DE LAUNCESTON

 “the undoubted highlight of the free program in the city was Robin Fox’s laser and music show in Albert Hall… with the event closing on Saturday night at 11pm with a special live performance by the Ensemble Offspring. There were 5 parts to the performance, which featured drums and the harpsichord, primarily, and proved an incredible experience.” – Larry Heath, AU Review