A quote in Claire Edwardes’ biography calls her a “Sorceress of percussion”.
“That means that I’m like a magician or a sorceress when I’m taking part in percussion, I assume,” Edwardes muses.
“I form of just like the idea of that as a result of the explanation I play music is to conjure up the imagery and emotions and reactions from folks, so I prefer it when folks really feel that I’ve transported them to a different world by my music.”
The Sydney-based soloist and inventive director of Ensemble Offspring will entrance WA Symphony Orchestra on Friday to play Dances with Devils: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, by WA composer and Competition maestro Iain Grandage.
It was impressed by a tour the duo undertook of the Dampier Peninsula 15 years in the past, and took form when the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras joined forces to fee the piece in 2015, underneath the baton of Ben Northey who conducts this WASO efficiency.
“We haven’t carried out it since that first yr of premieres, and I’m excited to be taking part in it in Iain’s residence city,” Edwardes says.
“There’s a plethora of percussion alongside the entrance of the stage and I’ve what we name two set-ups. On the left hand facet I’ve marimba, drums and tambourines, temple blocks and some cymbals, and that’s the majority of the devices I play.
“And there’s one lovely motion once I go over to the opposite facet of the stage the place I play a particular contraption that Iain designed and had constructed the place I be a part of my arms to those items of wire which make two tubular bells go up and down into water and I truly pitch-bend the tubular bells, in order that’s very metallic and other-worldly sounding, and it’s meant to sound like drowning.”
Every motion is impressed by a bush story involving girls of the colonial period.
The primary describes a homicide by a swagman; the second a suicide by drowning.
The third is drawn from Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Spouse; and the finale channels the European courtesan Lola Montez on a tour of the 1850s goldfields.
“I nearly should embody every of the ladies in every of the actions,” Edwardes says.
“The final one is a Spider Dance by Lola Montez, they’re all extremely contrasting and that makes for a really stimulating musical expertise. It’s visually stimulating as a result of I’m shifting round lots, however it’s additionally musically very wealthy.”
Is it feminist?
“In a manner what Iain is making an attempt to do by telling the tales of those 4 girls by music is basically to empower the tales of girls and place them entrance and centre and I’m myself very dedicated to gender fairness within the classical music scene,” Edwardes says.
“So it feels fairly becoming of me as a feminine percussionist, of which there aren’t an enormous quantity across the place, to be telling these fascinating and in addition essential tales from the flip of the century 1800-1900s in Australia.
“It’s not an overtly feminist piece, it’s written by a bloke in any case,” she jokes.
“However he works very collaboratively and so it nearly feels prefer it’s one thing that we created collectively and that’s additionally how he works with First Nations musicians as properly, he’s a really beneficiant artist.”
Edwardes is an envoy for Key Change, a European Union initiative in search of 50:50 illustration of girls in music, not simply classical but additionally rock bands.
“Within the group that I artistically direct in Sydney, we’ve actually circled programming since 2017 to be no less than 50 per cent feminine content material and I wish to encourage different folks to do the identical, particularly with music written by girls composers as a result of there’s no purpose to not,” she says.
“As a Key Change ambassador I attempt to get different organisations, for instance, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, to enroll to Key Change. All that does is that they should report back to a quota, and whereas lots of people don’t suppose quotas work or are helpful, I do suppose when you find yourself making an attempt to make actually aware change and make it shortly, they’re very useful.
“So this method is type of a quota system. Nothing occurs to you in the event you don’t attain the quota however no less than you’re aware of making an attempt to take action.”
Edwardes can be eager to advertise position fashions to encourage younger girls.
“It’s a mix of composers and conductors and position modelling means the youthful technology have position fashions that we by no means had,” she says.
“It’s truly how shortly you may make this transformation, if you already know the historical past behind us.
“We’re hoping that we will get by the gender factor shortly so we will then spend vitality on different minorities and underprivileged folks and First Nations, in fact, as a result of that’s tremendous essential.”
It’s an optimistic view, particularly after the wipeout of 2020.
“The great factor is that we have been ready to spend so much of time documenting exercise, that was optimistic, and I do suppose personally, in addition to a number of different artists I do know, actually benefited from simply stopping for a bit and reflecting,” she says.
“It’s busy once more in Sydney, very busy, and we’re all a bit wishing it may very well be like final yr once more.
“Or one thing in between, if attainable. It’s feast or famine round right here.
Ensemble Offspring, her future music undertaking, was to mark its twenty fifth anniversary with a collection of excursions. Massive tasks, together with Dances with Devils, have been cancelled or postponed.
“However the good thing about with the ability to pivot — that phrase that everybody’s utilizing — and discover artistic methods of participating together with your viewers, I discovered as a creative director and in addition a soloist, I discovered actually fascinating,” Edwards says.
“I feel I thrived on the challenges of the best way to do it, the best way to maintain going, the best way to create alternatives for my colleagues in Ensemble Offspring, the best way to create follow alternatives and efficiency alternatives, and so we did go together with Zoom concert events on-line for bespoke, small audiences and so they have been actually common and I learnt lots by way of the best way to work together with folks in new methods and the best way to be artistic with the way you help the ecosystem round you. Lots of people weren’t coping and I used to be in a position to be a optimistic drive to buoy folks up throughout that point.”
Claire Edwardes performs Dances with Devils at Perth Live performance Corridor, on Friday, April 9, at 7.30pm. This system begins with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Might Evening: Overture, and concludes together with his Scheherazade suite.