Noisy Women Commission

What is Noisy Women Commission?

The Noisy Women Commission provides a high-profile opportunity for an exceptional Australian female-identifying or non-binary composer. The chosen composer will create a new chamber work for Ensemble Offspring in close collaboration with our expert musicians. Every second year, the commission is awarded to a former Hatched Academy participant. In 2023 the award is open to all female-identifying Australian composers who have not been previously commissioned by Ensemble Offspring.

The Noisy Women Commission comprises a $4000 fee, mentorship from our musicians on instrumental techniques, ensemble workshops to develop the piece and a professionally documented public performance in the subsequent Offspring season. The work should be approximately 10 minutes in duration for an ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion (or a subset thereof), with the addition of multimedia elements if desired.

Applications for the 2025 Noisy Women Commission will open in 2024.


May Lyon (2023)

May Lyon’s stylistically eclectic music explores humanistic themes from astronomy and lore to mathematics and the natural world. Narrative dualities and rhythmic precision are strong recurring elements in her music. Lyon has been commissioned and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, National Capital Orchestra, Forest Collective, Ensemble Goldentree, and Syzygy Ensemble. Her first opera, Pieces of Margery, premiered with More Than Opera in 2022, for which Lyon received a Creative Victoria Grant. Lyon was a finalist for the Beleura Emerging Composer Award as part of 2019 The Melbourne Prize, participant in the 2017 Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program, and winner of the 2009 Adolf Spivakovsky Scholarship for Composition.

Samantha Wolf (2022)

Described as ‘haunting’, ‘enigmatic’, and ‘inspired’, the music of Australian-born, US-based composer Samantha Wolf inhabits the space between the classical, contemporary, acoustic and electroacoustic worlds, while being grounded in the notated tradition. Her practice encompasses instrumental and vocal compositions, interdisciplinary collaborations, and electroacoustic works that incorporate noise, speech, found sounds, and comedy. Samantha currently studies at the Yale School of Music with Chris Theofanidis. When she isn’t composing or finding found sounds, Samantha can be found carbo-loading with some of New Haven’s famous pizza, or in the WYBC studio broadcasting her satirical wellness show, “Ambient Dreams for Sleep-Deprived Teens”.

Nirmali Fenn (2021)

Nirmali Fenn is a New York based Australian composer of Sri Lanken heritage. She teaches at Stony Brook University and received her doctorate from Oxford University. The 2021 Noisy Women Commission will see her writing a work titled Handprints for the quintet of violin, cello, flute, clarinet and percussion. She writes, “tactility is one sense that is currently missing in society. Zoom and social distancing allow people to concurrently enter a person’s intimate domain, such as their house, but factors such as social distancing and computer establish a permanent boundary that prevents one from jumping into another’s physical space.” Handprints will be premiered in 2022 as part of Another Future at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

Eve Klein (2020)

Eve Klein hails from Brisbane. Having made her career previously as an opera singer, her new work Hadrian for the trio of flute, clarinet and percussion integrates donated objects from survivors of floods and bushfires as part of the percussion set up.  Hadrian explores themes of climate change with a scrolling score created from weather pattern data at the time of the most recent Brisbane floods. It tells Eve’s personal story of loss of part of her home and her long term musical partner in crime, Hadrian, a grand piano that had to be demolished due to flood damage. Hadrian will be premiered in 2022 as part of Another Future at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

Nicole Murphy (2019)

Brisbane composer Nicole Murphy created Click Farm as our 2019 Noisy Women Composer. A sextet for Ensemble Offspring’s core instrumentation of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano, Click Farm explores the bot processes used to observe human activity online, and uses this as inspiration for the musical process. Through a process of observation, variation and mimicry, the musicians perform a feedback loop of ideas that gradually mutate, taking the listener from the familiar waltz-like gestures of the opening into an unfamiliar landscape where only hints of the initial gestures remain. The piece was premiered at the Utzon Room on 28 October 2021 as part of Shivers on Speed.

Elizabeth Younan (2018)

Elizabeth Younan is a Sydney composer who graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium and recently began a Postgraduate degree at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute of Music (read more). For her Noisy Women Commission, Elizabeth composed flute solo for Lamorna Nightingale titled Fantasia for Solo Flute. The work integrates kick bass drum and is part of an ongoing series for the composer where she explores the solo medium for different instruments, now including harp, viola, oboe and violin. The new commission was premiered on 7 November 2019 at Carriageworks as part of Ensemble Offspring’s ongoing Lone Hemispheres series.

Fiona Hill (2017)

Blue Mountains composer Fiona Hill was the very first Noisy Women commission recipient in 2017 with a premiere at the Utzon Room as part of Hark the Machine on 11 February 2018. Her work Pentography is for the full sextet line up of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano, and draws its extra musical inspiration from Traditional Chinese Medicine and the five seasons (in contrast with the Western concept of four seasons), where each season relates to a particular aspect of the mind, body and spirit: Spring: Shouting sound, impatience, anger, dissatisfaction. Summer: Growth, lightness, expansion, laughter, joy. Earth: Time stops, unity, harmony, dreamlike, tranquil. Autumn: Grief, gathering together, stillness, contraction. Winter: Receptive, introspective, stillness, spiritual essence.