Our Secondary & Tertiary Programs

Composer & Education Workshops

What are Ensemble Offspring Composer & Education Workshops?

Ensemble Offspring is dedicated to fostering a love of Australian music and introducing the innovative work of today to listeners of all ages. We believe it is vital to support musical development from school age all the way through to emerging professional artists. Our composer workshops cater for high school and tertiary students.

Over the years Ensemble Offspring has developed numerous composer kits with the Australian Music Centre. We are currently developing workshop programs for the NSW high school curriculum, focusing on Australian music of the past 25 years – our speciality!

Education Workshops

ARCO Voyage of Musical Discovery: Musical Identities

This program for Stage 6 Music students reveals the multiple identities of composer and performer and the links between them. The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra and Australia’s musical trailblazers Ensemble Offspring will explore common threads in music from the past and in the latest works by Australian women composers. Tickets: $55 adult/$35 student

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ASME National Conference 2023

Ensemble Offspring will be in residence at Australian Society of Music Education National Conference on 3-5 July 2023. Our activities include two concerts, a premiere of a new work by Holly Harrison, and a series of workshops of scores by young composers from around Australia!


Echoes and Orbits (2023)

As part of our Echoes and Orbits tour in 2023, percussionist Claire Edwardes and cellist Blair Harris presented a day of workshops to school-aged students at Orange Regional Conservatorium. Workshops included demonstrations and analyses of the tour repertoire, including works by Australian composers Kate Moore, Bree van Reyk, Matthew Shlomowitz, Katy Abbott and Mary Finsterer.

Australian Composition Day (2022)

The annual Australian Composition Day is hosted by Santa Sabina College, Strathfield. In 2022 our featured Australian composers are Nardi Simpson (Ensemble Offspring’s First Nations Composer in Residence) and Damian Barbeler. Ensemble Offspring will be in residence at Santa Sabina College in 2022 presenting music by Elizabeth Younan and Brenda Gifford.

Australian Composition Day (2021)

Hosted by Santa Sabina College, Australian Composition Day 2021 was conducted online due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Featured Australian composers Nardi Simpson (Ensemble Offspring’s First Nations Composer in Residence) and Damian Barbeler produced digital workshops which can be viewed below.

Workshop 1: Nardi Simpson Of Stars and Birds (2020)
Workshop 2: Damian Barbeler Visiting Eucalyptus (2018)

ANU Composer Workshops (2020)

Throughout Semester 1 2020, Ensemble Offspring along with the composition department at ANU (led by Frank Millwood) reimagined a project that was to be in person as part of the CIMF. Zoom workshops ensued and compositional instructional videos were created for clarinet, flute and percussion. The 20 composers wrote for the trio who recorded at home to a click track and the results were deemed a success by all.


MLC Australian Music Days (2020)

MLC’s annual Australian Music Days was an online event in 2020 and featured Ensemble Offspring. The composers wrote for solo instruments (flute, clarinet and percussion) and the musicians gave detailed video feedback after recording their works on video for use in the students’ portfolios. Tristan Coelho and Holly Harrison created a high quality composition kit featuring Dissemble, the new work by Nicole Murphy and Holly Harrison’s Vibe Rant. Available soon via the AMC.



The International Summer Academy of Music (ISAM) is a prestigious summer institution founded in 2005. Since 2010 it has been located in the Landesmusikakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany. In 2019 it was held in Noosa (Australia) and Ensemble Offspring was in residence. The two-week academy, aimed at selected composers from across the globe included high quality workshops, seminars, lectures, rehearsals, concerts and a final competition.


Voyage of Musical Discovery (2018)

Legendary conductor and music educator Richard Gill AO and the Australian Romantic Classical Orchestra were on a Voyage of Musical Discovery before Richards’ passing at the end of 2018. Ensemble Offspring was honoured to be part of this new series and Richard was in his element breaking down works of classical and new music on stage at the CRH. In Texture & Timbre we presented new works commissioned by Ensemble Offspring by Holly Harrison, Cassie To and Bree van Reyk.


Young & Emerging Composers Lab (2018)

Presented by TURA New Music with WAAPA and UWA
Ensemble Offspring workshopped four selected compositions by Olivia Bettina Davies (UWA), Ryan Burge (ECU), Nate Wood (UWA) and Annika Moses (ECU) who had their new works presented in an informal showing at the Subiaco Arts Centre at the end of the three day residency.


Three & Under Workshops (2014)

As part of our Three and Under regional trio tour, Ensemble Offspring presented community workshops in Coffs Harbour and Gosford hosted by the regional conservatoriums. Featuring John Cage inspired found-sound activities and an introduction to new ways of listening, these workshops were for inquisitive ears of all ages and all experience levels.



First Nations Educational Resource

Celebrate the works of composers Christopher Sainsbury, Brenda Gifford and Aaron Wyatt with this educational resource for secondary students.

Purchase from AMC

Australian Composition Day 2021

Composition workshop presentations created by composers Nardi Simpson and Damian Barbeler for Australian Composition Day 2021.

Workshop 1: Nardi Simpson – Of Stars and Birds (2020)
Workshop 2: Damian Barbeler – Visiting Eucalyptus (2018)


Of Stars and Birds

by Nardi Simpson
Created for the 2021 Australian Composition Day, hosted by Santa Sabina College. This education kit explores Nardi Simpson’s piece Of Stars and Birds (2020), beginning with the traditional Yuwaalaraay story of the creation of the Southern Cross constellation, and describing Nardi’s process for composing birdsong.


Bilby’s Bluegum Melodies

by Claire Edwardes & Anna Kamaralli
The Bilby’s Bluegum Melodies kit was created by Ensemble Offspring as an introduction for young audiences to ‘living’ Australian chamber music. Activities in the kit were designed with pre-school and Stage 1 primary school students in mind, but can also be adapted for older children and music students. All the music performed in Bilby’s Bluegum Melodies is by Australian composers.


Cycles & Circles

by James Humberstone
James Humberstone’s chamber work Cycles and Circles was commissioned by Ensemble Offspring for premiere on their regional Music to Infinity Tour in 2012. The education kit was co-commissioned by the Campbelltown City Council as part of the premiere. Drawing on his own studies of experimental music, James Humberstone created a new work with aleatoric elements and an associated education kit with loads of ideas for students.


MLC Australian Music Days Teaching Resource Kit 2020

By Tristan Coelho & Holly Harrison
The MLC AMD 2020 kit features listening guides and composition activities that explore the two set works by female Australian composers Nicole Murphy and Holly Harrison, igniting students’ musical imaginations. Nicole’s new duo for clarinet and percussion, ‘Dissembled’ was commissioned by MLC in partnership with Ensemble Offspring. Holly Harrison’s ‘Vibe Rant’ (also commissioned by Ensemble Offspring) is the second work in the package. Included are a Composition Toolkit, Performances, Analysis and specific compositional feedback.

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Light for the First Time

by Bree van Reyk & students of Sydney Conservatorium of Music
This website resources comprises recordings, interviews, analysis and a small database of compositional activities created by music education students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under advisor James Humberstone focusing on the composition Light for the First Time by Bree van Reyk. This quintet was written for Ensemble Offspring and performances by the group feature heavily in this website resource.


Dance with Nature - the chamber music of Ross Edwards

by Philip Cooney
Dance with Nature – the chamber music of Ross Edwards is a kit by Philip Cooney which was designed for secondary and tertiary music students. Activities have been prepared for seven short works by Ross Edwards and the kit contains easy-to-use question and activity sections, musical examples, classroom arrangements of music, an interview with the composer, and a CD from the Penrith performance by Ensemble Offspring.


Stepping Stones - teacher resource kit

by Damien Ricketson and James Humberstone
An education resource for senior secondary and tertiary music students comprising listening, performing, composing and analytical activities. Part 1 focuses on the concept of open-form composition through the analysis of Same Steps by Damien Ricketson, introducing students to many new musical devices such as unconventional notation and microtones. Part 2 investigates the works of the four student finalists from the 2007 Sibelius Composer Competition.


First Nations Resources

A catalogue of compositions by First Nations Composers which have either been commissioned by Ensemble Offspring, featured in our concerts, and/or produced for our First Nations Composer Program. Inaugurated in 2017, the program aims to address the disparity in opportunities afforded to Australia’s First Nations musicians and artists with, in the words of Christopher Sainsbury, a ‘gentle correction’ to past approaches.


Exploring Tone Colour - teacher resource kit

by Dr Joanna Drimatis
This educational resource provides detailed listening guides and teaching prompts for Australian orchestral music by women composers Fiona Hill and Melody Eötvös, aimed at senior secondary school students but adaptable for use across the curriculum.

Purchase from AMC