This year Claire, Damien and our musicians have welcomed young composer (and jazz saxophonist) Jeremy Rose and trumpeter Callum G’Froerer into the world of Ensemble Offspring in the inaugural year of the Hatched Academy.
Callum and Jeremy have had one-on-one mentoring sessions with Claire and Damien, been involved in the creative development of the Hatched concert on the 30th October, taken part in workshops and rehearsals with the EO musicians, performed in Sizzle, and Jeremy has composed two new works that will be premiered at Hatched – a quartet, and a duo for trumpet and percussion. We’ve had a great time involving these fresh artists in the creative whirlwind of Ensemble Offspring life, as well as giving them an insight into the day-to-day realities of keeping the group running and successful.
This video takes a peek inside Callum and Jeremy’s experiences during Hatched, including some footage from our mentoring sessions and rehearsals. And in the interview below, hear from Claire and Damien why they’re so passionate about nurturing emerging talent and what they’re most looking forward to at the concert.
1. What was the idea behind the Hatched academy?
Claire: We’ve wanted to start a little academy linked to Ensemble Offspring for quite a while now for two main reasons. Firstly, to stimulate the younger generation of classically trained musicians and give them an opportunity to work on techniques and musical styles which they may not otherwise have had specialised access to at their tertiary institution. More selfishly, we wanted to develop the next generation of Ensemble Offspring musicians. The idea was to do this early and in an integrated fashion – not waiting till we are all about to die before doing so!
Damien: We really wanted a way to support emerging composers and performers to realise their ideas. As Ensemble Offspring is driven by a performer and a composer, we felt we were well positioned to mentor across several areas including specialist performance techniques (not usually taught in Conservatories), composition and hands-on practical curatorial and planning skills. For us, we also saw it as a way to keep us up to date with emerging compositional techniques.
2. Why did you feel it was so important to start the hatched academy?
Claire: We wanted to reach out to students and recent graduates who have a passion for new music just like we did at their age – there aren’t many opportunities out there for instrumentalists with such an interest. Often going to Europe is the only option, but we believe that there is lots of amazing art music going on in Australia and we have a lot to offer through our 20 years of experience. We have a great deal of experience with the administrative side of running an ensemble and wanted to be able to share this knowledge as well.
Damien: If the Sydney Spring Festival hadn’t taken a risk on a group of young Sydney musicians some 20 years ago, Ensemble Offspring and multiple individual careers in new Australian music may never have happened. The least we can do is offer some similar opportunities to the next generation.
3. Is there anything you’ve learned through the process?
Claire: That gen Y is different to gen X! They are definitely more entrepreneurial than we were and have a real ‘can do’ attitude, which is great. That said, any musician (whether it’s a composer or a performer) who has the potential to make it in this competitive and tricky scene does need to have that real sense of get up and go as well as conviction in their skills, musicianship and goals. The two guys we have this year are definitely all of those things.
Damien: There is a lot of impressive and enthusiastic talent emerging around the country. If nurtured well, the future of adventurous Australian music is looking good.
4. What has been your favourite part of the experience so far?
Claire: Getting to know two young musicians quite intimately. Their drive, passion and single mindedness (which is often a little naive but in a refreshing way) inspire us, as we do tend to get a bit jaded in our old age!
Damien: Both of our Hatched artists are highly creative individuals slipping seamlessly between notated and improvised music. It’s been a pleasure working with such versatile and open-minded musicians. They are now more peers than students. We look forward to working with them repeatedly in the years ahead.
5. What will be the highlight at the concert for you?
Claire: I’m really looking forward to hearing Callum perform an array of different styles of music on his array of different trumpets. I think Stockhausen’s QUITT will be a memorable experience, especially given the (literally) hundreds of hours that Jason, Lamorna and Callum have put into the development of the piece.
Damien: Ensemble Offspring’s first ever concert featured the trumpet prominently, however, for no particular reason, we have seldom included the instrument again. It’s exciting to welcome the timbre of this instrument back into the ensemble as played by the extremely talented Callum G’Froerer. In terms of works, I’m personally looking forward to Jeremy Rose’s colourful new work Border Control.