Along with our daring new 2023 season, we are thrilled to announce our new resident artists for 2023. Nestled within our Hatched Academy and First Nations Composer Program, three resident artist positions support outstanding individuals throughout the year: the Hatched Associate Artist, the First Nations Composer in Residence, and the Noisy Women Commission. We are so pleased to announce the carefully selected recipients of these positions in 2023.
Artistic Director Claire Edwardes says, “We welcome our 2023 resident artists through our various development programs: Hatched Associate Artist Abbey Felton (Perth guitarist), First Nations Composer in Residence James Henry (Melbourne), and Noisy Women Commission recipient May Lyon (Melbourne). All three musicians have exceptionally strong artistic voices which resonate with the values of Ensemble Offspring. We’re incredibly excited to collaborate with them all and bring their unique creative visions to life.“
Read on to learn more about these valued artists and their ambitions for the year.
Hatched Associate Artist
The Hatched Associate Artist position supports an elite instrumentalist with a demonstrated passion for art music. In 2023, the position involves performing alongside the ensemble for the year, plus the opportunity to create a unique project supported by the ensemble’s vast experience and industry resources.
Abbey is a Boorloo (Perth)-based guitarist, composer, and teacher, and a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). She is enthusiastic about the performance and creation of contemporary classical guitar works, particularly by Australian and female composers. Abbey continues to develop her practice, collaborating with artists from a diverse range of fields. She has studied guitar with Jonathan Paget, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Duncan Gardiner, and has participated in master classes with Karin Schaupp and Slava Grigoryan, among others.
As the Hatched Associate Artist for 2023 I have devised a special concert featuring guitar and Ensemble Offspring under the guidance of the ensemble’s amazing Artistic Director, Claire Edwardes. There will be a new commission exploring themes of human trafficking, an issue that is so pervasive in our society and yet so often overlooked or ignored. The overall theme of the program will be The Human Condition.
I am stoked to be the Hatched Associate Artist for 2023, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with the artists in Ensemble Offspring, getting to know them and being influenced by their incredible musicianship!Abbey Felton, Hatched Associate Artist 2023
Abbey will showcase the outcomes of her residency at Mondays @ The Church 4: The Human Experience on May 8.
First Nations Composer in Residence
The First Nations Composer in Residence position offers a flexible mentoring and workshopping environment for the chosen composer including one-on-one sessions, involvement in local and regional touring programs, and the development and premiere of a new Ensemble Offspring commission (valued at $2500).
James Henry has been in demand as a composer and sound designer writing various blends of traditional Aboriginal and contemporary genres. His diverse skill set has seen him compose for Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choir and musical director for the Dreamtime at the G opening ceremonies, as musical director of ‘Tanderrum’ Melbourne Festival Opening Ceremonies, various theatre and dance productions as well as commissions.
I look forward to working with Ensemble Offspring to find ways to work collaboratively with a quality ensemble. Primarily my work composing has been via synths and samples, and I have missed out on the opportunity to make the most of real musicians in the composition and performance process. This I hope will enable me to work closely with other musicians and ensembles in the future to make the most of everyone’s talents.
The project I will be doing with Ensemble Offspring will be an attempt to see what musical material and knowledge can be sourced from dreams. Traditionally, Aboriginal Songmen and Songwomen would bring songs and knowledge from their dreams to be a guide for their communities and given to them from the spirits on the other side. Having this opportunity to create new content I look forward to seeing what can come from dreams in my own life living in the city in the 21st century.James Henry, First Nations Composer in Residence 2023
James will showcase the outcomes of his residency at Mondays @ The Church 2: Reconciliation on May 8.
Noisy Women Commission
The Noisy Women Commission is a high-profile opportunity for an exceptional Australian female-identifying or non-binary composer. The commission comprises a $4000 commission fee and ensemble workshops to develop a new piece for Ensemble Offspring, with a professionally documented public premiere in the subsequent concert season.
Composing in the leafy outer east of Melbourne, Lyon’s music explores a range of themes, from deep human emotions, representations of nature to mathematical concepts, as well as the lighter side of life. Stylistically eclectic, Lyon’s compositions move from dramatic and intense, to quirky. Narrative, precision, duality and rhythm are all strong recurring elements. Lyon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney as part of the 2020-21 Composing Women Program, with Professors Liza Lim and Matthew Hindson as supervisors. 2022 saw the premiere of “One Person Watching”, a collaboration with choreographer Timothy Coleman as part of the Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque series. 2023 will see Lyon’s as first opera, “Pieces of Margery” staged by More Than Opera. In May 2022 More Than Opera appointed Lyon as their inaugural Artist-in-Residence.
My project will delve into the fantastical and theatrical, adding pre-recorded audio and a soprano to Ensemble Offspring sextet. Our lives are dominated by the news cycle and the mounting difficulties across the globe, so I’ve decided to create something that we can escape into. A beautiful, playful, dark, and textured world of Scottish mythology.
One of the most exciting aspects about this project is the opportunity to work closely with Ensemble Offspring in the development phase. Moulding and extending compositional ideas while collaborating with highly skilled performers is an absolute joy for me. I’m looking forward to composing a rich work tailored to the ensemble, and finding out what sound world we can create together.May Lyon, Noisy Women Commission recipient 2023
May’s new work will be premiered in 2024.