Tag Archives: Claire Edwardes


The latest performance by Ensemble Offspring , TIME AS REVELATOR , crackles with electric energy throughout and we are treated to some extraordinary playing by the Ensemble. It was filmed at Carriageworks and streamed by the Australian Digital Concert Hall.

The performance began with Holly Harrison’s  Bend/Boogie/Break for six musicians .It was brisk, bouncy and exuberant with drum solos, a somewhat barbed bass clarinet and cello solos, while yes it used classical music training as a hidden base, it was far more disheveled and irregular. Continue reading ENSEMBLE OFFSPRING IN TIME AS REVELATOR


RECITAL – featured image by Ross Coulter

Three time APRA Art Music Award-winning percussionist Claire Edwardes and Helpmann Award-winning dancer Richard Cilli will unite in the hauntingly hypnotic dance and music work, RECITAL. 

Presented by FORM Dance Projects, a dancer and percussionist come together in this strange, mesmerising double act about how movement sounds and how sound moves.

Set in the orthodox world of a music and dance recital, the ambiguous relationship between the two performers intensifies; the outcomes are impressive, disturbing and wildly ecstatic.

RECITAL brings together Edwardes and Cilli’s distinct virtuosic talents in this collaboration directed by acclaimed choreographer Gideon Obarzanek, with composition and sound design by Australia’s leading electro-pop composer, Paul Mac.

RECITAL from FORM Dance Projects [Facebook]  plays at Riverside Theatres from 28th February to 2nd March.

Performers Richard Cilli and Claire Edwardes 
Director Gideon Obarzanek 
Lighting Design Bosco Shaw 
Composition and Sound Design Paul Mac and Claire Edwardes 
Producer Erin Milne 

Broken Consorts – Ensemble Offspring and Ironwood @ The Utzon Room

In rehearsal : Veronique Serret, Zubin Kanga, Jason Noble from Ensemble Offspring
In rehearsal : Veronique Serret, Zubin Kanga, Jason Noble from Ensemble Offspring

This collaboration by two groups well known to Sydney audiences is a significant one. It breaks down so beautifully many preconceptions of fixed genres, historical sound options and what audiences expect to hear from particular composer’s works.

BROKEN CONSORTS is a performance practice workshop which maintains the two groups’ period identities whilst premiering possibilities using an exciting blend of resources. The essence and energy of compositions from each period are maintained and the early music pieces in particular are further celebrated through inventive rescoring. The playing of very recent works, including the highlight of a premiere work commissioned for the event illustrates that such blending is not only possible but an interesting new direction.

Composer Damien Ricketson’s introduction to his 2003 work Trace Elements  explained his invention of a new notation based on tablature for early lute music. His work’s exploration of this and its potential in the parts for a flexible blend of strings and wind is consistent with the goals of the entire concert. The work’s elements of stasis as well as dramatic shifts were expressively delivered by Ironwood and Ensemble Offspring members together. Continue reading Broken Consorts – Ensemble Offspring and Ironwood @ The Utzon Room


Handbells were played by the choir in Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst". Pics courtesy of Cameron Woods
The choir used handbells during the performance of Eric Whitacre’s title piece.
Pics courtesy of Cameron Woods

Many elements combined in the recent Sydney Chamber Choir’s concert, which focused on the Elements about us. CLOUDBURST was a performance event of sprawling and diverse influences, very well brought together. A satisfyingly strong Australian creative element was present in the mix.

This concert saw a busy choir switch stylistically from the Renaissance to the present day. Recited texts and solos were techniques managed by choir members. The playing of handbells, radios and use of finger clicking effects crossed centuries of choral and compositional tradition.

We were treated to a world premiere work, commissioned by the choir. The result was Stephen Adam’s interesting and compelling ‘Afterwards’ (2014) for choir and percussion, as well as transistor radio and digital devices controlled by choristers.

This work was a definite highlight. Its complex reference to social predicament, direction and our imprint on the environment used text, syllabic and sung choral textures. The piece  showcased the choir and guest percussionist Claire Edwardes.

Ola Gjeilo’s ethereal and effect-filled choral writing evoked planets and stars in its opening Kyrie setting, ‘The Spheres’ (2014). An Early Music bracket with rich dissonances and pastoral text setting was comfortably juxtaposed.

Renaissance poems set by Morten Lauriden also reflected early traditions. The “Five Flower Songs” by Britten were later sung in accurate and inimitable style. The ‘Ballad of Green Broom’ was full of humour and character.

Claire Edwardes’ two percussion solos displayed her expertise as a percussionist and exponent of new Australian music. Firstly, Damian Barbeler’s “Deviations on White” (2014) for vibraphone with precise and angular articulation was well realized for this study of intense light on our landscape.

Other Australian works included Ross Edwards’ “Ab estatis foribus”, a 1979 commission from the choir. “Geography VI” (1997) by Sydney Chamber Choir musical director, Paul Stanhope joined the Edwards piece setting Australian poetry and celebrating aspects of Spring.

Two unique American contemporary pieces were interesting and accessible choices. “To the Earth” (1985) by Frederic Rzewski,with its prayer to Mother Earth saw Claire Edwardes playing 4 pitched flower pots and reciting text. This was  a  thrilling practice for audience to witness.

“Cloudburst”, (1995), by Eric Whitacre with Spanish text and increased percussionists required constant building of solo and group energies. This work with mixed forces was in excellent dramatic and sonic with choir, percussion and conductor Elizabeth Scott.

Whitacre’s scoring for choristers requested natural resonance with handbells as Nature moved towards a storm. This playing looked back at previous eras and earlier brackets of the same concert. Finger clicking from the choir and audience to create the ‘Cloudburst’ rain effect was a suitable climax for all to participate in.

During this concert, the choir demonstrated great flexibility, skill and a focus on the concept of illustrating the Elements. It combined many traditional and recent techniques whilst unifying a theme through the successful blend of voice and percussion. Exciting soundscapes and exposure to progressive compositions were offered to audience members throughout.

For more about Cloudburst: Sydney Chamber Choir, visit http://sydneychamberchoir.org