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Life On Tour – Berlin

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Ensemble Offspring is currently touring Europe. Flautist Lamorna Nightingale shares her experience of the group’s first gig in Berlin.

Our first ‘gig’ of the tour was held at the Arts Centre, Radialsystem V in Berlin. We were joined by local Berlin outfit – Ensemble Adapter, plus International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) who are based in New York. We first met these musicians in Australia for a gig at Casula Powerhouse for the Sydney Festival in January this year. For anyone who came along to those gigs, you might remember the sweltering Sydney summer heat! Well, who would have thought it, but Berlin decided to do just the same.  

Ensemble Offspring performing at Radialsystem, Berlin. Photo Credit: Stefanie Kulisch

 European Premiere – Natasha Andersen – Cleave

The piece that brought these three groups together was a new work by Natasha Andersen ‘Cleave’ (first premiered at Casula Powerhouse). Natasha has recently moved back to Australia after living in Berlin for many years. ‘Cleave’ is a piece for the 12 players in the 3 ensembles plus electronics and it has been amazing to work together with these awesome musicians from around the world to bring it to life. It not only gave us a chance to play together but also share personal experiences about life as freelance musicians in each of our respective countries. 

Our performance of Cleave at Casula Powerhouse in January 2019 with Ensemble Adapter and International Contemporary Ensemble.

World Premiere – Sarah Nemstov – Zimmer

When all 3 groups collaborated in Sydney, we performed work by Aussie composer Kate Moore. This time round in Berlin we presented a world premiere from Sarah Nemtsov called ‘Zimmer’. This work is essentially a tour de force solo harp piece for the superstar harpist Gunnhildur Einarsottir from Ensemble Adapter. Although it focuses on the harp, each of the ensembles still have their moment in the sun. The composition began with Ensemble Offspring’s musicians and some intriguing instrumentation, including alto flute with a Ring Modulator effect. (If you’re into nifty devices check out the Ring Thing for this effect.) Jason was on Monotron, Zubin played Casio keyboard with one hand and Toy Piano with the other (also going through a Ring Thing) and Claire was on the Minilogue. 

Enjoying burgers in Berlin with Ensemble Adapter and composer Natasha Anderson.

Stay tuned for a video of the performance of this work to get a better sense of what these instruments sound like!

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