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Ensemble Offspring

The Imaginary Opera Project

November 2, 2003 @ 6:00 pm

Between kisses, the King and Queen of Connaught compare their respective wealth, which rather spoils the mood. Simultaneously, the curators of New York’s two leading art galleries lunch in a fashionable restaurant and both divulge that their businesses are not well. Thus begins the double-narrative singerless opera of London-based Australian composer Matthew Shlomowitz. Created in collaboration with American writer Allison Carruth, Canadian digital artist Scott Wilson and visual artists Mark Seabrook, Allye Sinclair and Michael Rich, The Cattle Raid of Cooley or The Show is a large-scale multimedia work exploring the (im)possiblity of story-telling through music.

This very contemporary take on the Romantic tradition of programme music is premiered alongside the abstract audio-visual work of local composer Barton Staggs and digital artist Justine Cooper. Moist-Excitation is a video animation where emotive biological fluids – blood, phlegm, pus, cervical mucus and tears – are imaginatively translated into image via light microscopy and delicately set to music.

Ensemble Offspring also presents Instruments 1, by the classic visual-arts inspired composer, Morton Feldman. In this premiere rendition, the subtle aural colours of Feldman are re-translated into image though images created by Australian artist James McGrath.

Ensemble Offspring invites you to enjoy this rich and thought-provoking evening of image and sound. Presented in association with the New Music Network.

Download concert program here
Download concert flyer here


November 2, 2003
6:00 pm
Event Category:

“Music ensembles tend to come and go with the ebb and flow of funding and opportunities, but it seems Ensemble Offspring is here to stay. This year has seen them consolidate eight years of hard work with two major Sydney concerts and a successful European tour. Their latest show, The Imaginary Opera Project, is a worthy finale to the year.” Full review here

Sydney Morning Herald

“Musically it’s a seriously demanding work served well by the ensemble, especially in Adam Yee’s virtuosic performance on oboe” Full review here

RealTime Arts


Date & Time



McGrath, Ellis, Staggs – Tidal Vectors (pre-concert installation)

Barton Staggs – Moist-Excitation (digital art Justine Cooper), viola, vibraphone, piano and digital animation

Morton Feldman – Instruments 1 / White Call (images by James McGrath), flute, oboe, trombone, celeste, percussion and digital animation

Matthew Shlomowitz – The Cattle Raid of Cooley or The Show (writer – Allison Carruth, digital artist Scott Wilson), flute, oboe, trombone, violin, cello, piano/synthesiser, 2 percussion, electronics, stage and projected imagery


Mark Knoop (conductor)
Thomas Talmacs (violin/viola)
Geoffrey Gartner (cello)
Michael Sitsky (flute/piccolo)
Adam Yee (oboe/cor anglais)
Ben Marks (trombone)
Bree van Reyk, Jeremy Barnett (percussion)
Katarina Kroslakova (piano/keyboard/celeste)

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The Imaginary Opera Project