Ensemble Offspring Takes New Music to ‘The Vanguard’


In its upcoming concert Slow Flipping Harmonies, Sydney based Ensemble Offspring presents the work of the late great avant-gardist Iannis Xenakis in a Sydney pub! Xenakis’  compositions have been described as “music of a truly majestic otherness … an alien shard, glimmering in the heart of the West” (Ben Watson, The Wire). Even after his death, his striking soundworlds are still shocking and captivating audiences in concert halls around the world.

Sydney’s iconic Newtown performance venue The Vanguard, will be for the first time, home to a performance by Ensemble Offspring. The protean musicians have the versatility to slip effortlessly between the high and low ends of town: from classical venues such as the Opera House to more casual spaces such as Petersham Bowling Club.

Ensemble Offspring Co-Artistic Director Damien Ricketson explains the reasoning behind the choice of venue “The beauty of a composer such as Xenakis is that while his music is some of the most intellectually rigorous ever written, it also speaks at a very primordial level. There is a certain gritty aesthetic that is totally apt to being enjoyed in an alternative space washed down with beer.”

Other Xenakis works on the program include the wild slides of James Cuddeford’s violin in Mikka and the raw energy of his classic percussion work Rebonds performed by Co-Artistic Director Claire Edwardes.

Slow Flipping Harmonies also features works by Ensemble Offspring’s two original founders. The program takes its title from Matthew Shlomowitz’s Slow Flipping Harmony, which brings together musicians and dictaphones, while Sit up Stand Down is the latest in his ‘letter piece’ series which has been described as “arty farty charades”. Also in the program, an instrumental suite from Damien Ricketson’s  Fractured Again, originally featured in the Sydney Festival and which has toured to China, as well as a new version of his exotic Some Shade of Blue for violin and electronics.

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