On the Couch with Damien Ricketson

Arts Review Damien Ricketson Ensemble OffspringWho is Damien Ricketson?
I am a composer, Co-Artistic Director of the arts company Ensemble Offspring, Chair of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium and father of two young girls.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Risk more failures.

Who inspires you and why?
My daughters Maya and Frankie, they see the world differently. My conservatorium students, their wide-eyed enthusiasm is energising. My wife Emma, her patience is settling and her support is empowering. My Ensemble Offspring family, their talents are exhilarating. My colleague Claire Edwardes, her commitment is awe-inspiring.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I don’t consciously seek to improve the world. (I’d only make matters worse).

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Humid cities of Southeast Asia. The sounds, smells and colours are stimulating to the senses.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
South Coast NSW. I have friends and family in Wollongong, Jervis Bay and Narooma so there’s always great company as well as great bushland and beaches.

What are you currently reading?
Songs of the Gorilla Nation by Dawn Prince-Hughes, a first-person account of living through autism.

What are you currently listening to?
87 student compositions.

Happiness is?
Discovering an extra hour in the day.

What does the future hold for you?
My immediate future is absorbed with Ensemble Offspring’s 20th anniversary Future Retro: a festival-like double-concert event peppered with drinks and talks at the Sydney Conservatorium on Sunday 25 October. Further afield, I’m enjoying planning some exciting and adventurous music-making for myself and conservatorium students in 2016 and beyond.

Damien Ricketson is a composer as well as the founder and co-artistic director of Ensemble Offspring. Damien’s music explores the poetics of incomplete knowledge and is characterised by fragile and exotic sound-worlds. Through open forms and unconventional notation, many of Damien’s works are themselves incomplete, eliciting high levels of creative engagement from performers of which Ensemble Offspring are expert interpreters.

Recent large-scale works include Fractured Again, a multimedia production, which toured China and featured in the Sydney Festival and The Secret Noise, a hybrid music-dance work about music and secrecy that received an acclaimed premiere in 2014. Damien studied with Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and has a PhD from the Sydney Conservatorium where he currently lectures in composition.

Damien will be performing with Ensemble Offspring in FUTURE RETRO at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Sunday 25 October 2015. For more information, visit: www.ensembleoffspring.com for details.

Image: Damien Ricketson