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Songbirds is Ensemble Offspring’s portable, intimate and accessible trio show featuring Jason Noble (clarinets), Lamorna Nightingale (flutes) and Claire Edwardes (percussion). The all-Australian works are new commissions inspired by birdsong and the Australian bush. In 2020 our Songbirds album was released on ABC Classic and since 2018 Ensemble Offspring have toured this show around Australia with performances at Sydney Festival, Noosa Music Society, Melbourne Recital Centre, Blackheath Chamber Music Festival and Four Winds Windsong Pavilion.

Celebrate the breathtaking virtuosity of birdsong, from butcherbirds to lyrebirds, with an array of original new Australian chamber works with Songbirds. Be transported into the Australian bush by familiar and intriguing, real and imagined sounds, featuring beguiling new works by nature’s own composers with a little help from some of Australia’s leading composers and Ensemble Offspring’s own Lamorna Nightingale (flutes), Jason Noble (clarinets) and Claire Edwardes (percussion). 

After devoting her life to documenting pied butcher bird song in Central Australia, Hollis Taylor brings us her trio Bitter Springs Creek 2014 pairing live instrumentalists with these ancient avian artists. Fiona Loader’s Lorikeet Corroboree bring us an upbeat, punchy work which weaves the crazy chatter of Australia’s rainbow lorikeets in with some older, ground-dwelling composers, with fragments from Papageno’s Magic Flute, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and the scintillating sound world of Messiaen. Meanwhile Gerard Brophy makes flamingos dance and humming birds buzz in his 3 movement virtuosic, tour-de-force Beautiful Birds. And don’t miss the return of the otherworldly sounds of the unique waterphone, live, in its natural habitat. 

Capturing the calls and songs of the Australian bush, Songbirds is a journey into the sounds of nature with the magical calls of the red centre, virtuosic avian displays and indigenous musical perspectives on these beguiling creatures of the sky.

“Stunning…Songbirds is an album of splendid, thought-provoking and evocative new music.” – Helen Musa, City News

“These avian studies are fascinating and immersive.” – Jessie Cunniffe, The Sydney Morning Herald

“A beautifully conceived and richly rewarding album” – Lisa MacKinney, Limelight

“… an injection of warmth and colour with new and recent pieces influenced by, and depicting, birdsong and nature all expertly played with energy and commitment.” – Roger Heaton, Tempo Magazine

“It gives us a good view of what is happening in this genre on the other side of our planet.” – Ben Taffijn, Nieuwe Noten


Date & Time

July 31, 2018: Delmar Gallery, Wollongong
August 16, 2019: The Music Lounge, Wollongong
January 12, 2020: Sydney Festival Salon Series
May 27, 2020: Melbourne Digital Concert Hall
August 6, 2020: The Old 505 Theatre
February 9, 2022: Melbourne Recital Centre
March 6, 2022: Noosa Music Society
April 23, 2022: Blackheath Chamber Music Festival
July 23, 2022: Four Winds Residency
September 25, 2022: Bellingen Muse Festival


Songbirds Repertoire

Gerard Brophy – Beautiful Birds
flute, bass clarinet & vibraphone (2019) 14′ *

Tristan CoelhoDaybreak
flute solo & electronics (2018) 9′ *

Brett Dean – Notes from the Twittersphere
piccolo solo (2015) 3′

Claire EdwardesScreechers and Sorrows
waterphone solo (2019) 8’30 *

Brenda GiffordMungala
alto flute & percussion (2019) 5’ *

Alice HumphriesThe Visitor (Sorry, I can’t stay)
flute, bass clarinet & percussion (2022) 6′ *

Fiona Loader – Lorikeet Corroboree
flute, clarinet & vibraphone (2015) 6′ *

Ella Macens – Falling Embers
vibraphone & crotales solo (2020) 8′ *

Kate MooreBlackbird Song
alto flute, bass clarinet & vibraphone (2018) 9’30 *

Nardi Simpson – Of Stars and Birds
flute, clarinet & vibraphone (2020) 4′ *

Jane StanleyDesert Rose
flute & vibraphone (2010) 3′ *

Hollis Taylor/Jon RoseBitter Springs Creek 2014
flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone & field recording (2019) 8′ *

Hollis Taylor/Jon Rose – Owen Springs Reserve 2014
vibraphone solo (2015) 6’40 *

Felicity WilcoxPeople of this Place
bass clarinet solo (2016) 6’30

* = commissioned for this program


Claire Edwardes (percussion)
Lamorna Nightingale (flutes)
Jason Noble (clarinet, bass clarinet)

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