Live performance of new music returned with a big bang when Ensemble Offspring percussionist Claire Edwardes received a standing ovation after playing a solo work which she has known and loved for 20 years by Iannis Xenakis.

Ensemble Offspring's Lamorna Nightingale, Jason Noble and Claire Edwardes Ensemble Offspring’s Lamorna Nightingale, Jason Noble and Claire Edwardes. Photo courtesy of Ensemble Offspring

Rebonds Ais a powerful work by the Greek-French composer whose face was badly disfigured when he fought in the Greek resistance against the Nazis in World War II. Edwardes said music was an outlet through which Xenakis could deal with his anger and grief, and in what has been “a heck of year” for musicians and audiences, she felt this was a good way to release the pent-up energy and frustration of COVID isolation.

The high vaulted ceilings and exposed sandstone walls of Cell Block Theatre, the former women’s wing of the Darlinghurst Gaol, made for a perfect setting as, framed by four poles of blood red lighting, Edwardes brought the every more complicated rhythms and explosive accents to...