Living new music has no greater champion than Sydney based Ensemble Offspring. A devotion to daring music making has seen the group premiere over three hundred new works over the course of twenty-four years.
Led by acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes, Ensemble Offspring comprises some of Australia’s most innovative and virtuosic performers and champions marginalised compositional voices including female and first nations Australian composers.
Image © Heidrun Lohr
In 2016 Ensemble Offspring won the APRA Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation and in 2019 was featured at Gaudeamus Muziekweek. Ensemble Offspring recently toured to Amsterdam, Berlin, Glasgow, Hong Kong and Shanghai and is regularly featured at Mona Foma Festival (Tasmania) as well Sydney Festival.
The group has a cult following at their Sizzle Series at local bowling clubs, now in its 10th year and they support the next generation of Australian musicians and composers through Hatched Academy. Driven by a philosophy of promoting artistic integrity and new ways for audiences to engage with new music, Ensemble Offspring prides itself on a holistic commitment to the music of our time.
Image © Keith Saunders
Claire Edwardes OAM - percussionist
Internationally acclaimed percussion soloist, chamber musician and artistic director of Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes has been described by the press as a ‘sorceress of percussion’. Graduating as Student of the Year in 1997 from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she went on to win the coveted Symphony Australia Young Performers Award in 1999.
She subsequently relocated to the Netherlands to undertake a Masters Degree at the Rotterdam and Amsterdam Conservatories. A resident there for seven years, she was the recipient of many international awards and prizes. Claire was the 2005 MCA/Freedman Fellow and she is the only Australian to win three APRA Art Music Awards for Excellence by an Individual for her contribution to Australian Music (2016, 2012, 2007).
In her role as Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring she commissions, programs and performs to the highest level, some of the most innovative and cutting-edge new music being presented worldwide today. Recent highlights include a residency at Music on Main (Vancouver), performances of the Australian premiere of James McMillan’s 2nd Percussion Concerto with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House and the creation of her dance show entitled ‘Recital’ premiering at Dance Massive in 2019, with director Gideon Obarzanek, dancer Richard Cilli and co-composer Paul Mac. www.claireedwardes.com
Veronique Serret - violinist
Veronique has established herself as a versatile musician whose repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary art music, folk, rock and improvisation. She is committed to new works and regularly collaborates with Australia’s composers.
Veronique has a strong classical background and has worked extensively with Sydney Dance Company, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Since 2010 Veronique has been a member of US folk harpist Joanna Newsom's band as both violinist and backing vocalist touring with her internationally.
Veronique is also an exponent of the 6-string violin paired with electronics. Recent highlights include performances at the Commonwealth Games with indigenous band The Spirit of Churaki, a residency with Laurie Anderson at HoTa, touring nationally with Kate Miller Heidke , leading the orchestra for Neil Finn’s Sydney Opera House shows, featuring at the APRA Screen Music Awards, collaborating with Bangarra Dance Theatre, duo performances at Woodford Folk Festival with William Barton and working on Gurrumul’s Djarimirri Live. When not on stage, Veronique can be found in the recording studio, climbing a mountain or on her yoga mat.
Image © Keith Saunders
Image © Keith Saunders
Jason Noble - clarinettist
Jason Noble is one of Australia’s most versatile clarinetists. As a core member of Ensemble Offspring for over 15 years, Jason has performed contemporary new music at festivals from Warsaw to London, Shanghai to Kabul, and around Australia, working largely with living composers.
Recently, Jason co-curated a Musica Viva Sessions salon in collaboration with Artbank and violinist Veronique Serret, and also released his first solo album, "Chi’s Cakewalk" — a collection of contemporary Australian works for clarinet and bass clarinet.
He performs with improvising ensembles S.I.C.K.O and bass clarinet trio Lacuna with Jeremy Rose and Paul Cutlan. He has toured internationally as part of the live musical entourage for The Shaun Parker Dance Company’s acclaimed production, AM I and has jointly received “Best Performance” awards with Ensemble Offspring at the APRA/AMC Art Music Awards.
Having been an invited guest teacher and performer over two winter academies at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, Jason continues to support the school through fundraising and skype lessons. Similarly, he maintains close ties with the Tiwi Strong Women's Group, Ngarukuruwala, with whom he has appeared at festivals and performed on their two albums.
Image © rollingmediaproductions.com
Lamorna Nightingale - flautist
Lamorna Nightingale is a freelance flautist, concert presenter, educator and publisher who is passionate about the future of art music in Australia. She is a core member of the new music group - Ensemble Offspring and has been performing with them since 2007.
Lamorna has many years of experience working in the orchestral sectors performing regularly with many of Australia’s finest ensembles. In January 2016 she performed with early music ensemble Brugge Anima Eterna at the Sydney Festival and then the Lincoln Centre in New York. Since 2017 Lamorna has curated and produced a new concert series dedicated to new music in Sydney ‘BackStage Music’.
Lamorna has created several recordings of new Australian flute music with repertoire selected to suit flute players with less experience with new music. This music is now widely performed by students and professionals Australia wide and internationally, transforming for many flute players their experience of new Australian music. She has recently created an album of new Australian music for flute and electronics with an associated education kit designed to introduce school students to electroacoustic music. Lamorna has also created several pedagogical volumes of repertoire for young flute players through her publishing company, ‘Fluteworthy’.
Rowena Macneish - cellist
Rowena studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Susan Blake and the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne with Nelson Cooke and Michael Goldschlager. She then travelled to London on full scholarship to complete postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange. During her time in London she was also a member of Southbank Sinfonia and performed at Covent Garden, Queen Elizabeth Hall and in festivals throughout Europe.
On her return to Sydney Rowena established herself as a versatile musician and has played and toured with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She is also a founding member of the Sydney Omega Ensemble and the Musica Viva Artists the Enigma Quartet.
Rowena enjoys taking her campervan out with her young family and is a bit addicted to extreme sporting challenges. Think torturous events like the Spartan races and ultra marathon and you get the picture!