Flautist Lamorna Nightingale is a core member of Ensemble Offspring, a dynamic and popular New Music ensemble in Sydney. This Sunday, Ensemble Offspring presents Sizzle an informal presentation of a spectrum of music from art music to pop and a bit of everything in between. In this feature, Lamorna Nightingale writes of the universal appeal of Ensemble Offspring’s Sizzle series:
I’ve been a part of Ensemble Offspring’s Sizzle series since the first gig in 2010. I love Sizzle because it’s much more laid back than the usual classical gig. In fact, it’s more like a party with live music than a formal concert. It’s the type of gig where you can move around if the kids get whingey, go get a beer (for you, not the kids!) or just go and hang outside for a bit. This year you can even grab a sausage to munch on! In a social sense, it’s really nice because Sizzle has turned into a bit of an open house party for the new music scene – it’s a great chance to catch up with friends.
When you start doing gigs, your biggest supporters are always your family and friends. (To be honest, they can be your only supporters at the beginning!) This was fine when everyone was young and fancy free, but at a certain point these friends stopped being able to come to our gigs. They were still keen but were so busy with work and having kids that they just weren’t able to get out at night so much. Sizzle is Ensemble Offspring’s event to suit everyone’s ‘stage of life’ – it’s on a Sunday afternoon and kids are welcome.
Whilst I think parents appreciate Sizzle because it’s a family friendly event, Sizzle isn’t actually a kids show. We do often present some music that is fun for kids, but the artistic point of the show is to present music that is edgy whilst being fun. Classical music has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, and new music is often regarded as scary and difficult (even by classical musicians) but it doesn’t have to be that way. In our Sizzle programs we try to present music that has humour and energy and which inspires the curious nature of the listener.
The other great aspect of Sizzle is that it is an opportunity for the Ensemble Offspring musicians to experiment with music of other genres. Even though we are classically trained, our taste in music is pretty diverse and we often work in non-classical styles. At Sizzle we often invite our colleagues from other genres to do a set of their own material and then join us for a combined set.
The idea of the combined set is that we all get stretched into a world of music making that is not quite so familiar. This is a bit risky for everyone involved, but there is a lot of joy in the process of experimentation and I think you’ve got to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone or life get’s pretty dull. So come along and be part of our experiment!
Lamorna Nightingale for SoundsLikeSydney©
Lamorna Nightingale is a core member of Ensemble Offspring and has been performing with the group since 2007. She appears regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and as a guest artist with The Song Company, Synergy Percussion, Halcyon and Kammer Ensemble. Lamorna enjoys exploring and disseminating new repertoire for flute and has worked closely with Australian composers Damian Barbeler, James Humberstone and Jane Stanley. She has initiated and performed on two recordings of new Australian flute music ‘Eat Chocolate and Cry’ and ‘Spirit of the Plains’ and has created several pedagogical volumes of repertoire for young flute players through her publishing company, Fluteworthy.