Pletko @ The Opera House
The ambitious Sydney based music company, Ensemble Offspring, do just as their name suggests: they bring traditional works together with modern artists, injecting creativity for a charismatic performance. This month they are bringing the international premiere of Pletko to the Sydney Opera House, as a tribute to and echo of the influence that Greek composer Iannis Xenakis had on the contemporary music world during his life. Claire Edwards, the co-artistic director of the group, and soloist percussion artist who has studied and been an artistic resident both in Australia and abroad, tells BYO why Ensemble Offspring is unique and the difference they are bringing to the Australian music scene.
Claire, can you tell us about Ensemble Offspring and what its purpose is?
Ensemble Offspring is a chamber ensemble made up of classically trained musicians who specialise in the music of our time – living music! We relish our work with composers and the commissioning of exciting new pieces from local Aussie and International creative folk.
New music can be seen by some as confronting and cérébral but as Ensemble Offspring we present it in an engaging, fun and interactive fashion and pride ourselves on our audience having a truly memorable experience every time.
The show you are performing in Sydney this month, Plekto, traces the legacy of Iannis Xenakis, can you please tell us about it?
Xenakis is a bit of a legend in the contemporary music world. He was a composer (and originally an architect) of Greek heritage who lived for much of his life in France. He passed away in 2001, however his legacy lives on and loads of composers have been influenced, if not by his strong and recognizable intense style, then by his way of thinking about the creation of music. The composers on this program all show us that the clarity around the message they send through their music is a legacy of this great man.
Having yourself studied and worked in Australia and abroad, how important do you think it is that Plekto brings together artists from around the world, and what influence do you think this has on the show?
Although all of our performers are Australian, the show has a truly international bent with our pianist travelling from London and our cellist from USA, especially for this project. The world premiere, Detone Retune is by Mexican, Berlin based composer Juan Felipe Waller (who I met for the first time in The Netherlands) and the other countries represented on the program are France, Austria, UK, Australia and of course Greece. We feel that it is important to show Australian work and Australian virtuosity in an international context and that’s what we’ll be doing in the stunning surrounds of this world-class venue, the Sydney Opera House.
In order to see the world premiere on the program, Detone Retune, come to life you created the Noisy Egg Creation Fund to finance the commission. Can you please explain the motivations behind this?
As the development and creation of new work is at the core of what Ensemble Offspring does, we developed the Noisy Egg Creation Fund a couple of years ago as a way of getting potential donors excited about the projects that they could support and help fund. In this instance we have 3 generous donors who made the commission possible. Through GiveNow people can make a tax deductible donation to Ensemble Offspring, and being such a small company, every cent makes a difference to what we are able to do!
Why do you think Ensemble Offspring is so unique?
Because we champion the music of living composers and don’t just program new music in a tokenistic fashion as is so often the case with chamber music ensembles. We also pride ourselves on presenting this music in an accessible fashion so that audiences who have perhaps never heard cutting edge new music before go away feeling like they have had a really tangible and exciting experience.
Will Pletko be also touring outside of Sydney?
We are really happy to also be performing Plekto at Declassified Music’s The Long Weekender in Brisbane on Friday 11th July.
What is your main aim to achieve with Ensemble Offspring, this year or more broadly in the future?
Wow that is a big question! We are always aiming to build our audiences and the people who appreciate and thrive on the music we present. This can be tricky within the commercial world in which we live however we have had a great deal of success in the past 5 or so years developing a strong fan base and we just want to spread the word about the fact that there is more to music than all that boring old stuffy music that lots of other groups play.
DOUBLE PASS GIVEAWAY
To go in the draw to win a double pass to see Plekto on Tuesday 8th July, simply fill out the form below. Winners will be announced on Sunday.
Tuesday 8 July 8pm
Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House
By Vicki Fletcher @VickiFletcher88