Described as “akin to a religious experience” (The Australian), and “Canberra’s premier chamber ensemble” (CityNews), The Griffyn Ensemble are a theatrical chamber ensemble, who break down the barriers of genre and recontextualise music from around the world – whether it’s Mexican avant-gardist Silvestre Revueltas; legendary songwriter Burt Bacharach; folk hero Mikis Theodorakis; and other living composers across Australia and around the world.
The Griffyn Ensemble are a sextet of composer/director (Michael Sollis), soprano (Susan Ellis), double bass (Holly Downes), harp (Meriel Owen), violin (Chris Stone), and flute (Kiri Sollis). Past programs have included Island Universes: classical music inspired by Australia’s closest neighbours in Melanesia; Behind Bars: an installation in Old Melbourne Gaol with music written by composers in prisons and concentration camps; and Cloudy With A Chance of Rain: part weather-forecast, part-concert.
The Griffyn Ensemble are noted collaborators, and have worked with scientists such as astronomer Fred Watson, geomorphologist and weatherman Rob Gell, visual artist Annika Romeyn to create theatrical programs of chamber music. In 2013 Griffyn launched their inaugural festival with Swedish ensemble the peärls before swïne experience, staging 8 new music events in 10 days across Canberra.
Griffyn have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM, toured for Musica Viva In Schools, and were shortlisted for a 2008 Australian Classical Music Award. Since 2006, Griffyn have performed over 80 Australian premieres and over 15 world premieres, and their Canberra concert series regularly sells out.