From the set of Play School to the mainstage at the Sydney Opera House, Claire Edwardes is ‘the sorceress of percussion’ (City News, Canberra). The only Australian to win the ‘APRA Art Music Award for Excellence by an Individual’ three times, Claire leaps between her role as Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring and concerto performances with all of the Australian and New Zealand orchestras plus numerous European orchestras.
Add her genre-spanning solo concerts, teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium, a broad spectrum of collaborations, premiering hundreds of new works by composers including Harrison Birtwistle and Elena Kats-Chernin, to passionately advocating for gender equity in music and you begin to appreciate her astonishing energy.
Perhaps her most significant contribution, beyond her endless quest for excellence in performance, is in breaking down the barriers between art music and audiences, through her enthusiasm for bringing new music to unexpected places – including bowling clubs and old power stations.
Sydney’s musical mavericks Ensemble Offspring, unite the most innovative instrumentalists in Australia with a broad collective of collaborators to explore new ideas through living new music. Led by acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes, the ensemble comprises a core line-up of some of Australia’s most well-regarded and virtuosic musicians: Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (clarinet), Véronique Serret (violin), Blair Harris & Freya Schack-Arnott (cello), Bree van Reyk (percussion) and Zubin Kanga & Ben Kopp (piano). Together we champion living composers and create musical experiences that stimulate the senses and pique curiosity. We support emerging and as-yet-unheard composers, in particular championing Australian female identifying and First Nations artists.
In 2020 we celebrated 25 years of innovative new music making and the astounding journey we have taken from a student group –originally named the Spring Ensemble –to the internationally esteemed ensemble we are today. In 2019 we received the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Group Award; the same year we were selected to showcase at the international music market, Classical: NEXT (Rotterdam), and were also nominated for our first ARIA Award in the Best Children’s Album category. In 2016, we won the APRA Art Music Award for Excellence by an Organisation. Our recent tours have taken us as far afield as Amsterdam, Berlin, Glasgow, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and we feature regularly at Tasmania’s Mona Foma Festival and Sydney Festival. Committed to subverting the classical music tradition with experiential concerts of living new music across genre, place and art form, Ensemble Offspring are navigating the future with open mindedness, flexibility and joy –we invite you to join us on our adventures ahead.