It’s tough celebrating a birthday during a global pandemic, particularly for a performing arts organisation. Nonetheless, Sydney-based new music group Ensemble Offspring marks 25 years of experimental music this September, having fostered the creation of over 300 new works over the course of its history, and pandemic or no pandemic the group will be finding innovative ways to celebrate this momentous milestone.

Ensemble Offspring Ensemble Offspring in 2020. Photo © Keith Saunders

The ensemble happens to share its birthday with its Artistic Director, percussionist Claire Edwardes, who was there at the group’s very first gig as part of Roger Woodward’s Sydney Spring International Festival of Contemporary Music in 1995, performing under the name of the Spring Ensemble. The concert was driven by two student composers at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Damien Ricketson and Matthew Shlomowitz, whose music was played alongside Xenakis’s classic Eonta. “We were really just a student scratch band that Damien and Matthew put together to play their music,” says Edwardes of that first concert, which happened to take place on her 20th birthday. “It was quite a large ensemble,...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.