Critical Acclaim

2021 Quotes & Reviews


4 stars ★★★★ “A sense of spirit from the Dreaming washed over my senses as the music carried me away.” – Timothy Gray, Limelight

“Composing Songlines was a team effort of dedication, skill and vision. A team of incredible composers, mentors, and Ensemble Offspring’s musical interpreters, coming together to empower First Nations Voices. It was an honour and a privilege to hear them speak.” – Timothy Gray, Limelight


4 stars ★★★★ “Now this resilient bunch of thrill-seeking virtuosos present the first post-2021-lockdown show at the Sydney Opera House.” – Harriet Cunningham, Limelight

“Artistic director Claire Edwardes has assembled six works which deliver on the promise of a hot mess of premieres from around the world.” – Harriet Cunningham, Limelight

“Lamorna Nightingale, playing piccolo, flute, bass and contrabass flute, knocks out the myriad technical challenges with cool clarity. She’s got this. So too does Jason Noble, playing seismic rumbles on the contrabass clarinet. Just hearing one note fray and split is fascinating. The whole thing is almost overwhelming.” – Harriet Cunningham, Limelight


“It is a mark of their virtuosity and musicianship that the demands of the works do not detract from our enjoyment of this outstanding collection.” – Kevin Bonnett, Loudmouth

“Jason Noble handles the demands of these extended techniques with agility and style. Be astonished by his playing in this lengthy journey backwards and forwards through time.” – Kevin Bonnett, Loudmouth

“Are instruments imitating birds or birds imitating instruments and finally how much can we tell them apart?” – Kevin Bonnett, Loudmouth


“Ensemble Offspring who perform, with their usual verve and sparkle, this most enjoyable and invigorating piece.” – Gwen Bennett, The Music Trust


4 stars ★★★★ “Ensemble Offspring’s multimedia program The Surge explored 1990s events and music, including missed opportunities for climate action and reconciliation and early internet nostalgia. Utilising the two guest guitars – added to the ensemble for the occasion…completing this now-established group’s glimpse back at its misspent youth.” – Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald

“This is a concert that must be seen. Hearing it is not enough. It was full of play and colour and many incredible techniques…the whole concert was a blast and a half of colour, fun and musical ingenuity.” – Rob Kennedy, City News (Canberra)

“Ensemble Offspring’s latest project The Surge was an ode to the 1990s and its impact on Australian life. Drawing on a host of themes – environmental concerns, Indigenous relations, the emergence of the internet and the flowering of the arts sector in Australia – the project impressively weaved together these disparate elements into a unique program of both lofty and lighter fare.” – Adam Jeffrey, classikON


“The first movement ‘taking chances’ featured amazing percussionist Claire Edwardes setting the scene with neat, rapid rhythms played mostly on hi-hat cymbals. Her playing throughout the concert was meticulous in detail, precise in every regard and incredibly inventive. Simply watching and listening to her play was a unique privilege.” – Ian McLean, City News (Canberra)

“…the quite incredible Ensemble Offspring.” – Ian McLean, City News (Canberra)

“It would be impossible to imagine an ensemble better able to play and relate to this music than Ensemble Offspring, that crack band of Sydney musicians led by the extraordinary percussionist Claire Edwardes. Their performance never faltered, it was startling, energised and energising, delivered with extraordinary panache and almost clinical precision.” – Vincent Plush, Limelight


“[Nardi] Simpson’s musical investment in this wondrous piece of music is obvious. And it is beautifully realised by Claire Edwardes on vibraphone, Jason Noble on clarinet and Lamorna Nightingale on flute. There is a palpable optimism in Of Stars and Birds where everything is interconnected and ultimately enduring and purposeful. The piece commences with a slow, calming repetitive motif on vibraphone and a gradual interplay on flute and clarinet depicting refreshed waking birds…It’s such immersive music.” – Mandy Stefanakis, Loudmouth


“As ever, these Australian works are superbly played and recorded by Ensemble Offspring.” – Keith Gallasch, RealTime

“En Masse is a celebration of the scope of Ensemble Offspring’s diverse skill set and the unconventional sounds they revel in as a collective.” – Jessie Cunniffe, Sydney Morning Herald

“The technical and expressive demands are devilish, handled expertly by seasoned musicians.” – Jessie Cunniffe, Sydney Morning Herald

“En Masse is a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking album, showcasing distinctive new works by emerging Australian composers.” – Claire Matthews, ClassikON

“Ensemble Offspring is blessed with incredibly talented musicians, united by an equal dedication to realise contemporary works. This album showcases diverse musical thinkers, from the sometimes dark resonant contemplations of Alex Pozniak, to the quirky, meticulousness of Holly Harrison and the minimalist immersive style of Thomas Meadowcroft.”– Mandy Stefanakis, Loudmouth


“It felt like a very particular privilege to be invited into the garden of amazing percussionist Claire Edwardes and be immersed in sublime music.” – Fiona (audience member)

“I loved seeing Lamorna and Jim playing their ‘lockdown’ piece. It symbolised the creativity of musicians with constraints in place; exploring the edges of what is possible; taking interesting rather than easy paths.” – audience member

“It’s rare to have so intimate a concert. The music was wonderful and the setting and atmosphere joyful.” – audience member


4 stars ★★★★ “Across all four installations the connection between performers was palpable and a joy to watch…Great care has been taken with all of the performances and the work is clearly evident.” – Michael Kauffman, Limelight Magazine

“All in all, the uniqueness and sincerity of the event as a whole is its greatest strength. Giving voice to real stories and moving ideas through collaborations, Musical Microparks is a truly unique and innovative event from Ensemble Offspring.” – Michael Kauffman, Limelight Magazine