In 2021, as Ensemble Offspring’s First Nations Composer in Residence, I composed a 70-minute concert titled -barra for the 2022 Sydney Festival. I was then invited to join the 2023 European tour and present a shortened 30-minute version alongside other First Nations work in Finland and Germany.

This is a continuing, unfurling relationship between Ensemble Offspring and me, with many First Nations composers taking part in the Ngarra-Burria: First People’s Composers program. Since its inception, Ensemble Offspring has been a fervent supporter and active partner, championing regular presentations of our work. The partnership has allowed us to learn about each other, exchanging knowledges, approaches, processes and ideas. And it has reaffirmed that First Nations work is much more than its performative outcome. 

Ensemble Offspring, through its evolving connection with us, knows this better than most. It shows courage and leadership by practising these learnings and looking for opportunities to provide context beyond the stage to the First Nations works it presents. 

My invitation to tour, I believe, is a pointer to the innovation First Nations composers inspire in the...