George Nickson and Samantha Bennett of Ensemble New SRQ Join the Club

George Nickson and Samantha Bennett of Ensemble New SRQ Join the Club

The Sixth Season
Five Concerts
Four Premiers of commissioned works
Two dynamic leaders
TONS of guest performers
Three options for concert viewings

Take a listen to percussionist George Nickson and violinist Samantha Bennett tell us their story of the amazing chamber music series of new music they have envisioned for Ensemble New SRQ's sixth season and then RUN to your nearest device to purchase your season ticket of in person or streaming access.

Oh...and just how do so many people, spread out all over the country, rehearse and prepare together for each concert? They answer that interesting challenge as well. All that and more on this week's episode of the Suncoast Culture Club.
Come along and join the club!

• Ensemble New SRQ Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter & YouTube

• George Nickson Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter & YouTube

• Samantha Bennett Facebook & Instagram

Sarasota Orchestra Website & Facebook & Instagram & TwitterYouTube

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Website & Facebook & Instagram & Twitter & YouTube

• New Music New College Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

• Hermitage Artist Retreat Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

State College of Florida Music Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

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Robyn Bell: Today, we welcome back to the club. One of our favorite couples, George Nixon, percussionist and Samantha Bennett violinists. The co-founders of the incredible concert series ensemble. New SRQ. They get we're here today to give us an update on their musical lives. And tell us about ensemble new SRQ upcoming season performances, George and Samantha. Welcome back to the club.

George Nickson: Thanks so much for having a us. 

Robyn Bell: Before we dive into your very exciting forthcoming season. I know you have both done some really cool things over the summer. Tell us about what has been going on in your musical lives and how you've been feeling about the performing arts industry opening back up after this shutdown.

George Nickson: We're incredibly thrilled at the opportunity to be able to bring live audiences back into our performance space. A, it feels like a new beginning for us in a way, but simultaneously it's interesting because I feel like the work continues. We were able to live stream all of our programs from last year. And while that was fulfilling for us personally, we really missed the component of having people there in person. So we couldn't be more excited to bring people back and we get so much energy from that. It's really a two way street for us as performers to really get the audience response immediately sometimes we'll make certain sounds. Big outbursts from the composers, and what they're writing and to actually viscerally get the audience responding to that, or, just their breath in the space, is a huge part of what we do, especially with the nuance of our music. So it's really exciting. And I can't wait to get back to sharing. 

Robyn Bell: It was like, we all turned into studio musicians who are making recordings for films and television and never get any feedback in that moment.

George Nickson: Yeah. it was really difficult. I mean, I just felt like I had become an audio video engineer. Yeah. And it was just the amount of work that went into. Making it possible was, double the effort really. And as you know, Robyn, just figuring out new tech and finding out ways to do this. Then it's exciting this year, now that we have figured that out to actually augment what we do with that, to be able to have live in-person opportunity and also a digital subscription. So for those who are afar, they can still tune in. So that's one of those silver lining perks of the pandemic. 

Samantha Bennett: As far as the summer, I think we're excited to get things back into the swing of the season. I think it was a good kind of foray. We did a bit of traveling, but also a bit of performing. And so it was a good mix. It was actually, I think, a nice summer in terms of the balance of time that we had to be off and to just kind of recoup. And the time that we spent actually getting to enjoy some of these music festivals that were happening again, which last year. Didn't happen at all. And so that was nice. You spent a couple of weeks in LA teaching and performing at a, percussion festival out there, the Ted at Katz professional seminar. It was nice to be out in the west coast and just spend some time living in LA. It's always fun for us to be in a new city for more than. Two weeks. It feels like we get to know it. then it was really great we returned a week or so ago and I've kind of been resetting now for the, year. And it was good because I think there were certain differences about how concerts happened and, we're in an in-between stage now with the pandemic to where we're still being cautious because we need to be but organizations are being really innovative and figuring out ways to still perform and still do projects, but not totally back to a hundred percent normal situation that we might've had three years ago. So I think that that was good practice for us as well, to see how. Implement these modest changes and other safety measures to make sure that our season at the ensemble is really successful. And I think we got some good information and we're well set up for that.

George Nickson: funny thing was when The orchestra was in Vail we do a residency there for about a week.

Robyn Bell: The Dallas symphony. 

George Nickson: Dallas symphony. Yeah. At Bravo, Vail And, war first pops concert out there was, you know, the amphitheaters outdoors. And it was uh, called the Queens of Soul as pop show and had had a few great singers, but it was a packed audience cause it was outside and it was like the first concert we had played in. Over a year for a real full audience, not just a few people, interspersed and spread out, but they went absolutely berserk for the music. Like the entire lawn was dancing back and forth and it was this incredible thing to see, like people actually do. You know, I questioned this, like, do people even care about what we do? Is this going to come back during the pandemic, or is humanity going to continue on? And there'll be like, remember when there was music. That was, that was an interesting. Uh, And you know, it, it was, you know, I was having those questions for myself, but to see it like viscerally needed by people and their response after being away from it from so long was really amazing. It was, it was incredible.

Robyn Bell: I admire how both of you keep one foot on the trail of education. And as someone George who grew up in Texas and auditioned many times for the Allstate band, I have to say I was actually sitting with my mother in a medical office waiting on a doctor's appointment for her. It just scrolling through Facebook. And I saw this series of videos you did for Allstate percussionists in Texas and how you talk, not just here's how it goes, but the educational component of that. And I thought how wonderful that he's taken time out to give like a little mini lesson and this amazing performance of all of these etudes. So, wow. That blew me away. It was really phenomenal.

George Nickson: thanks. That was it. Summer project of many that was made easier. 

Robyn Bell: Oh, you marked your sight reading those pieces.

George Nickson: they're hard. Those Texas high school pieces. are not, as easy as I thought they were going to be, but now that of the tech works, it was great. One of the things I loved about that project is that with these new ways of, getting this information out we can increase equity and access for all this stuff, putting it out there, and hopefully it gets out there to many students in programs that don't have, you know, full-time percussion instructors that don't have as big budgets. So really part of what we're trying to do is make sure that everyone can have access to this.

Robyn Bell: So admirable, there's so many students that just can't afford the cost of private lessons and they live, you know, especially in Texas way out where there's not access to it. So I absolutely loved that. I already had, a high opinion of both of you and it just kind of went over the mountain when I saw that. So thanks for making my morning. Up to that point, it was, had been pretty miserable. And in addition to your performances with ensemble new SRQ that we're going to talk about? I saw on the New Music, New College website, that you are one of the featured performing groups this year. That will be on Friday, October 8th, at 5:30 PM on the campus, a New College. What can we expect to hear from the two of you on that concert?

Samantha Bennett: Yes, we're Super excited to get to play with New College again. And I think right now we're looking at, it's kind of a, a lecture slash. And what mark has as put together as a really amazing series and kind of just for the students and the audiences to get to know kind of a behind the scenes, look at what it takes to put together both a solo piece and , how you work together in an ensemble. George and I am going to be doing one solo piece, and then we're going to be doing a duo. And we're going to be talking about how we approach both of those different, performances, some of the pieces that we're doing involve tech as well. So we're going to talk a little bit about that. That's changed the landscape of the music that we play, especially in this time. And it'll just be kind of a behind the scenes look at what goes into preparing a piece with another person. How do you rehearse that? How do you put it together? What do you do for your own learning of the piece and also just a little bit about how we form the ensemble. I think it'll be really interesting and really great. And I won't share what pieces we're doing. Cause they're there surprise, surprise, I guess, at this point

Robyn Bell: Super top secret.

George Nickson: for top secret repertoire. But what really attracts me to this series and this idea. So often of the ensemble, we love the idea of getting people as much information as possible. So we always have these really like intense program notes that are like a homework assignment before you, sit down, you know, people opened it up and they're like, oh my God, 

Robyn Bell: That's a lot of work on your end to put that together to.

George Nickson: Yeah, it absolutely is. And we love to get as much detail. And then we always talk from the stage a little bit and try to bring people into the fold of, what to. expect. So it's not just, well, okay. What was that out of context, but what's great about this New College series also, And the way we're crafting this program is that. , it's almost like a masterclass of the repertoire, so we don't have to just present it. And you know, this is a concert, but the audience expectation is going to be, you know, I can play the first measure and then stop and talk about, okay, so. You know, this idea begins here and here let's explore what happens and how it develops and actually kind of almost as you would in a music history class or a theory class at State College, Florida, what the students would get there. We're trying to bring that a little bit to those who haven't been to music school and what kind of the analysis is.

Robyn Bell: And New College has a great relationship with State College of Florida. They allow all of our students and faculty to go to all of these things for free. So we definitely have this on our students' radar and we'll be pushing them to get to that. So fantastic. And then you got to find a way to get you guys here to our students as well. We have this new 150 seat recital hall that is just amazing that you guys are going to love performing. And so that's a topic for after we stopped recording. And you're doing all this while putting together the sixth season of Ensemble. New SRQ just incredible. I read on your website that you're premiering four commissioned compositions, a focus on an amazing young composer and your continued performances of music in the French spectral ism style. So let's start with the first concert called Don't Look Down, love the name. Performed at first congregational church. All of your performances are on Monday, October 11th at 8:00 PM. Three amazing pieces of music and composers on this program. Tell us about those

Samantha Bennett: First, I have to say that this concert and this season opens on my birthday. So I'm going to request a special gift from all of you to come and attend that concert for my birthday. There were 11. We're so 

Robyn Bell: And everybody has to bring an, a string, a D string or a g-string. Each string is a gift, right?

Samantha Bennett: Yes, I need offerings of strings. Yes, that's. That's perfect. No, but I seriously, I hope everyone will join me in celebrating you guys. I play really hard music for the audience. No. We're really excited about this first concert for many reasons. Number one, our friend Conor Hanick will be back in town, performing these works with us. Number two. Finally, after almost two years, I believe we are going to be able to present Max Grafe's work which was commissioned by, Ensemble New SRQ in 2020. And it's been patiently awaiting its premier. We had to postpone two of its scheduled performance. So far due to the pandemic and we're just so excited to actually get to perform it live. It's called Shadow Theater and it was written for Conor, George on percussion and myself on violin. So we're really excited about. We're opening with a work by Yaz Lancaster, which we actually got the chance to perform in LA when we were out there which was great for us. It's always nice to get our hands on a piece before. we played in the ensemble. It's a beautiful theorial kind of work would utilize his flower, pots and plants. And it's really, really incredible kind of evocative and reflective. And we're also excited about this Chris Cerrone piece that Connor will be joining us for George. You can tell us a bit about that since it's rather percussion heavy.

George Nickson: Yeah. Christopher Cerrone's Don't Look Down, which is how the concert gets its title is the, main work on the program. And it was a work by Chris Cerrone young composer based in Brooklyn. And he was really inspired to write this work by the. Kind of the second movement, you know, and Don't Look Down. It's like when the floor drops out of everything and all of a sudden we're in this void and you can really hear it incredibly viscerally in the music. Things are going along in the beginning and kind of bustling feels like a city scene. There's a lot happening. And then just this, new kind of different space that you're in. And this work was premiered by Conor. It was written for Conor Hanick as the piano soloist, and he plays prepared piano. some of the, stuff that he's playing, you're really confused whether or not that's the percussionist making these sounds or it's the pianist making these sounds. But it's a mini concerto for, piano and for percussionists and the instruments are incredibly diverse all over the map. So you have your what we consider normal marimba, vibraphone, gongs, bass drums, and then you have bike pumps, To create this wishing air whirring sound, and you have tuned bottles and you have a lot of sandpaper blocks and then one of the percussionists is actually in the piano, bowing the piano with another piano string to create these long, beautiful evocative sounds. It's really an incredible, construction of sound. it's so exciting and accessible and it was uh, voted one of the New York times, best performances of 2020 when they premiered it up at CareMore. So we're thrilled to be the second ever performance of this piece. That's one of the New York Times best new works. And we're thrilled that we can bring it. 

Robyn Bell: that just sounds amazing. And it, you know, we've talked before I have rehearsals on Monday nights with the pops, but we don't start until October 18th. So I actually can attend this one. I'm so excited. I know, I just want to go back to the flower pot thing, because as the, band director in my head and just knowing how disasters happen, I'm imagining you beat upon flower pots and they just keep breaking and you just have to buy more.

George Nickson: uh, Sometimes that happens 

Robyn Bell: Okay.

George Nickson: on robots. Do indeed break. I've gotten pretty good over the years that my eye for flower pots is pretty good. I know the strong ones. I can just look through a whole flower pots. A lot of it has to do with the glaze. Absolutely. The style of glaze. Also a lot of it has to do with the shape and yeah, actually there are in this work, it specifically calls for Terra cotta. So for a certain sound and then a specific glaze on the other ones to create two different colors. Litter 

Robyn Bell: That's really, really cool and composer. So innovative now with percussion stuff. I continued to be amazed. The next chance we get to hear you guys perform is on Monday, January 31st at 8:00 PM. Again at First Congregational Church in a program called Void, which will no doubt not leave me in a void. This is a pretty big deal of a concert, right?

George Nickson: Yeah, this is, this is a really exciting project for us. This is our good friend, a new Renaissance artists, Elizabeth A. Baker who is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has really come and realizing kind of, I think her idea as a new Renaissance artist as being kind of multidisciplinary, this work is so exciting for us and so interesting because the first part of the commission that has been finished is actually her scores are these incredible, huge canvases. These paintings. Of graphic scores and they are, I mean, they're beautiful to look at they're, they're incredible. And there's a roadmap that we get as players to interpret as we will, the different symbolism and the different, arrows and the different directions of these incredibly detailed graphic scores. So already, we're combining the idea of visual art with Sonic art, and then she brings on top of it, her own electronic processing that creates entirely new experience and immersive experience. And each performance will be slightly different in this instance. It's a work that, was commissioned by both us and ensemble VIM. Who's based in Atlanta, Georgia, and we're actually playing the premier of this work in both places. So we will go to Atlanta a few days before this performance. It'll be our first tour as Ensemble New SRQ. So we're going, and then we will go to Atlanta And we will grab ensemble, bring them to Sarasota with us, and we will perform this work in combination with them and it's just going to be a really incredible sound experience.

Robyn Bell: And what a great way I was talking with Urbanite Theater. Cause they're doing play also collaborating with free-fall the first time. And what they talked about is it really helps financially to have another organization combine on the cost of the commission and the cost of the performances. It's great to collaborate with someone, but then when you have that added benefit of a financial advantage, I'm sure that's been helpful too.

George Nickson: Absolutely. We love consortium's and that idea of pooling resources. 

Robyn Bell: And is that the one that Natalie Helm is playing on as well?

George Nickson: Yeah. Natalie is a featured performer there. 

Samantha Bennett: So this one was written our portion of it. And as George sort of alluded to there, are several different versions in which his work will and can exist separately for each ensemble. Two trio works that can be performed separately. And then when we all come together as the six of us, this kind of combinatorial work that takes on a whole different level. And so the individual portions of our performances will be for Ensemble New SRQ will be Natalie Helm on cello, myself and George on percussion. 

Robyn Bell: Really cool. Natalie Helm, of course our principal cellist in the Sarasota Orchestra. So it's awesome that you are including our great local musicians in your collaborations as well. So you turn the next program around very quickly, Monday, February 21st, this concert is a collaboration concert with another ensemble that Samantha is a founding member of tell us about this concert called En SRQ plus Chroma Trio.

Samantha Bennett: Yes. So this concert I'm really excited about. It's kind of a strings feature. We're bringing down two of my trio mates who started out as quartet mates when I was doing. A number of summers at Tanglewood Music Center and the new music portion of that in later years as an alum, the, From players, which is really where I kind of got my foothold into the contemporary music repertoire, and really where I, knew that we had to bring some kind of. Really intense chamber music, new music experience down to Florida. So Mary Furillo who's a violist with the Boston Symphony and Francesca McNeely. Who's a cellist in the Boston area and teacher as well. They will be joining us here in Florida to present a program of trio quartet. Works that, are all string based. And really most of them are, also influenced by works of art. This concert also features another co commission, the third one so far this year by Tyler Golston Davis. And it's a trio work just simply called string trio that was written for Francesca, Mary and myself. And it was another co-commission. Between Chromo Trio and the ensemble. We're super excited about that. There's strangely, not a lot of repertoire. That's just for one violin, Viola and cello and we found it to be such a rich sound world of expression. We don't honestly, you know what, we don't need a second violin. I'm enough violin for one group, you know?

George Nickson: So. As program has No percussion on it. 

Samantha Bennett: Yes. This is true. This is true. There is no progression and it's all right. We got to give 

George Nickson: ours. Is that because the first violinist ego is so big that it spills over into the second violinist. And occupies both 

Samantha Bennett: no way, no way. It'll be great to have them. We've been trying to get, Mary and Francesca down here for a number of years to collaborate with the ensemble. We've done some through trio performances. I usually go up to Boston. And to Tanglewood to, to do these concerts. And as you mentioned earlier, it's just a great way to have this collaborative effort between different organizations to bring new works to life. It really makes it possible to just ramp up the amount of commissioning that we're able to do. And that's something that has been at the forefront of our minds since we started the ensemble. So it feels like we're really on a good train for that. And in particular, I'm really excited about this work. One of Tyler's biggest inspirations is music of Elliott Carter. And so it's really fun for us to have a really almost thorny score to kind of parse through. There's a different way of, tackling music. Like he's written in it comes back to almost an intellectual base, which is really great. And it's something that we. Are really successful with and the various performances that we've had at Tanglewood over the years. The other works on that program we're doing a a duo by Andreia Pinto-Correia another great composer friend of the ensemble. We premiered her percussion concerto a couple of years ago. This work is also based on some art as well. The percussion concerto. She really has a good relationship with visual art as well. Then the program also includes a trio by Freya Waley-Cohen, who is a English American composer, who we worked with at Tanglewood. In our year she was a composing fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center when we were the Fromm Players there. So we got to work with her in close conjunction, and then it closes with a work by Du Yun. A string quartet, which we will have to add another violin for very, yes. Yes. You Pulitzer prize winner. It's a string quartet called I Am My Own Achilles Heel. And it's incredible. It's just an amazing, amazing work. So I'm personally very excited about this. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And if you're a string player in town, not to miss this one, 

Samantha Bennett: Definitely. 

Robyn Bell: yeah. And that one is also at eight o'clock at First Congregational Church. And then a concert titled Vortex Temporum them on Monday, March the 28th, featuring a very special guest artist. Right.

George Nickson: Absolutely. We have Han Chen coming to us who is an incredible pianist, a semifinalist from a Van Cliburn competition and someone that I've had the opportunity to perform with over the years, a good deal. We were in school together. He and Conor Hanick our other piano guests. Actually, we all performed together for the first time back in school. And I, was really attracted to both of their playing and Han is an incredible artist Vortex Temporum. Incredible exploration of it's really a masterpiece of creating a new kind of sound world with this French Spectralist movement. The idea of, how sound moves differently and creates entire waves and entire textures that can build upon each other. And it has the work Unbelievable piano Cadenza in the middle, where time seems to stop. And the pianos just goes on this journey away from the ensemble, like literally ensemble. It's almost like a jazz set. Like everybody puts their stuff down, goes to the bar and pianos takes off for like 20 minutes, but it's. And so this incredible virtuosic display that not many people can do, but Han is, the man with the plan for this. And we're thrilled to see him put it together. And the interesting thing about Vortex Temporum also is that one of the things that's really fascinating, it has two notes on the piano that are de-tuned so are tuned a quarter step lower. So whenever this occurs in the piano part and it, comes in very surreptitiously at first. And you can't quite tell you're like, something seems slightly unsettling and it's to create this, unsettled mood, that it's not just a perfect fifth but there's something, slightly amiss here.

Robyn Bell: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute. As the performer, then in rehearsing this, have to have the tools to those two strings and de-tune them. 

George Nickson: Yeah. It's usually easier. Yeah. If the pianist has, a wrench and can do the detuning or we have to call somebody in each time. But 

Robyn Bell: Wow.

George Nickson: one of the things that's really cool about this though, is that once you de-tune a piano, it's kind of hard to bring it back in the middle of a concert to regular tuning, but our friend Nina C young who's a great young composer friend of ours from Tanglewood has, written a piece to accompany Vortex Temporum that is written with the same detuning scheme on the piano, but standalone piece. And it's, really incredible to hear those two works in dialogue. So Han's also going to be playing that. We're going to start that concert with a duo for Han and myself, which is by another French company. Younger French composer, then who wrote Vortex Temporum Phillipe Pirelle, who was one of his students. And this work is actually the work that we're opening the concert with is called Tombeau in Memoriam Gerard Grisey. And this was a work that when Grisey a passed. Jarell was inspired to write it. So we have that, layer of personal connection dialogue, going through the program also to tie it together.

Samantha Bennett: I will say that this, program is really the culmination of, what ended up being kind of a, season long journey into this French spectral world, this program, Vortex Temporum, we also. Postponed I believe twice. And in lieu of that last season, when we couldn't do a work that had this large of a format, we were trying to, figure out a way to, how do we bring our audiences along on a journey that might actually prepare them to hear this work? Whenever it does eventually come on our stage. And that's kind of something that we want to do with every. In general is bring the audience along on a journey. And it seems like, okay, we can't play Vortex Temporum yet, but this might be a great opportunity to actually go back a little bit hear some of Grisey's days solo and smaller chamber works. And we played percussion duo of his and a work that involves seven players. That was in the same style, but building up to what events. Was his Magnum Opus of this great work. So hopefully if audiences got to hear those pieces last year, and in fact they're still on the website they can be viewed all of our live streams from last season can still be viewed on our website. It's actually a really great way to get further into the compositional style and sound world that will be presented on this concert. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, I see that. And I often over the summer by music appreciation students, I would send them to your YouTube channels cause they have to do a concert report and that, you know, there's no concerts. So we always had your link on there as one of their choices and the students that listened to it, just like, I never knew anything like this existed. It's really cool. And And then the grand finale of season six, tell us about the final program called Waves.

George Nickson: We have a concert and his final commission, our final commission by Sebastian Currier. And it is called the Waves. So this is an excellent new work from someone who has a previous connection to the area. Sebastian Currier celebrated composer is someone who has been a Hermitage Artist Retreat composer in the past. 

Robyn Bell: Love the Hermitage artists. Yeah.

George Nickson: Yeah is an organization that we'd love to be able to combine efforts with. We've done many things in the past where, we feature works by composers who have been there and Sebastian Currier is no different. This is a great new work for a solo singer and small ensemble and electronics inspired by Virginia Woolf's novel. The Waves. And it actually takes simultaneous aligns of different, women's perceptions throughout New York City and weaves them into one narrative that the song cycle keeps revisiting. It comes back to, and it's, very evocative of the. And we're, really thrilled to bring that also with our first work that we're performing by Anna Thorvaldsdóttir an incredible Icelandic composer. She has an amazing sound world that is, just incredible. Every time I hear a work by her, I know it's her. It's an incredible way she's able to mix instruments and create this steely cold kind of Icelandic Landscape. 

Samantha Bennett: And she's one of those composers where it's on us for not programming a work of hers before now. She she's very important. And her music is, really incredible.

George Nickson: The last work on that program is actually by Yaz Lancaster it's a work called Firn and Yaz is a young composer and we are bookending our season with their works. And as a young composer, we think it's great to be able to offer a platform for audiences to hear, not just one of their works, but multiple. And actually when I was in Los Angeles, one of our students out there was a colleague, student of Yaz's and so it was great to hear more about that and find personal connections in there and it's, going to be great. 

Robyn Bell: you had alluded to this earlier, but tell us the many different ways we can experience your performances in this sixth season.

Samantha Bennett: So we are happy that we're able to. Come back to live audiences, but we are also continuing our live streaming subscription. And we felt that it was really important for a number of reasons. Number one we just want to do everything we can to increase the access to these performances for not only those who might not feel comfortable yet coming out to a live concert or for any number of reasons, can't get to one of the performances, but also for our friends, around the country and around the globe that otherwise wouldn't have the chance to hear some of this great repertoire. Especially some of these new commissions, this'll be the first time that they're heard and probably only time for at least a little while. So we have a couple of different ways. To be able to see these concerts. We've got a membership this year an Ensemble New SRQmembership. And what that entails is a ticket to all of the concerts in person and access to the archival streaming after the concert. So you can go back and listen to some of these works again, pick and choose what you might want to hear again, one of the great feedback, that we heard from audience members last year was the fact that they could listen to some of this music twice. And I don't know why that surprised me. It shouldn't have, because even when I prepare these works, initially they seem daunting or I'm confused by them. I'm not wrapping my head around the language, but the more that you're familiar with them, the more that they did. Known to you and even more exciting. So the fact that our audience members were finding that out for themselves was awesome. And we did not want to let that go by. I think it's really important, especially for the kind of music that we play to offer multiple chances for people to hear these works. So a membership can get you all of that. I can get you a ticket to all of the live concerts, which. Receptions and often pre talks with the composers and little extras like that, as well as the archival streaming. And then of course you can buy a single streaming ticket. We are still going to be offering student pricing. And for those people who are far away or want to choose this option, streaming subscription, and you can get all of the access for five concerts. 

Robyn Bell: And we can get tickets either on your website, E N S R Or you can go to the Suncoast Culture Club, Calendar of Events when you're looking for all your entertainment and cultural experiences, and you can click right to the Ensemble New SRQ website to purchase your tickets. Now, George and Sam, a couple of years ago, I had a brass quintet perform with both my Pops orchestra and the college's Symphonic Band. And these ladies were from all over the United States, but they managed to have this amazing brass quintet and give incredible performances. And what I discovered about the audiences is that when we were talking with them and see kind of a question and answer session, they were most interested in how these five people rehearse and perform when they lived so far apart. So I think people might be very interested to know the logistics of how. Ensemble New SRQ is able to accomplish this task with half of the duo living in Dallas and bringing people from, New York and Boston. So how are you going about the rehearsal process and the performances spread out all over the country.

Samantha Bennett: Well, first of all, I think it's very helpful that George and I have been playing together for obvious reasons for 12 years. And so what's nice about this for many reasons, is that we can rely on just our, playing relationship with each other where we may have to work out specific things if it's a really complicated piece, but I don't have to worry about boy. I don't know. How he's going to do this. It could be any number of ways. You know, if it's between the two of us, I know that it will come together pretty easily. And for, the rest of the ensemble I would say most of our musicians are In the Sarasota area, other my colleagues at the orchestra or other freelancers. And then with an addition of one or two of these guests, artists who now, many of them, Conor and Han have come down for a number of years. And these are now people that are like family to us here, which is one of the beautiful things about it is that now my colleagues in the orchestra that, played these concerts with me, you know, they have played just as many times with Conor as I have at this point. And so we've all developed a relationship of the dynamic, one word in the same place, playing music. it's kind of just like a feeling and a language. Like when you're there, you start to develop it and then it doesn't go away. When, you leave it, it's very familiar when you come back to it. But just logistically speaking, all of our rehearsals really take place the week before, and this is pretty standard. So what will happen is that we'll have, any of the guests, artists that are coming in. will arrive early in the week and we'll have a series of rehearsals, , I would say four to five rehearsals for each of these programs. And that's something that we're, all very used to. We prepare our parts individually and do the necessary homework if you will to make sure that when we come together, it's, an easy process. 

George Nickson: From my perspective. And you know, this Robyn with, putting your concerts together, that work really begins 6, 8, 10 months in advance. And for us having a reliable crew. not only Sam and I, which formed kind of the nucleus of reliability with internet artistically, we know kind of what each other's going to do. We also really know our colleagues in Sarasota really well for the people that are going to come in. And I know months in advance, what people will need or what, we can rely on and same with our guest artists and the preparation plan is to have, all of the communication and everything figured out really well. Rehearsal plans figured out being able to predict and get ahead of. Extra things that need to be in the score or things that aren't very clear and things that we need to figure out or decide as a team, how are we going to do this passage? Who's going to do the cues here. So a lot of work that you would just sit down at first rehearsal and go, okay, so, and you open up the piece and you go like, so this piece. So who's playing violet. We, by the time we get to rehearsal, number one, we are like 80% along

Robyn Bell: In your case it's who's playing second violin.

George Nickson: exactly. I'm always playing second fiddle to Sam


Robyn Bell: How sweet.

George Nickson: very clear. But yeah, the majority of that work, all of that detail is. Yeah, so that, that gets us on on the path to success. 

Robyn Bell: Well, you know, I would normally say George and Sam, I appreciate you spending time with us today, to tell us about your concerts series, but honestly, and I do, I do appreciate your time, but what I really appreciate here is the type of music you're bringing to not just our community, but to the greater chamber music repertoire in general and this new avant. Music that you're championing. It takes innovative, creative, and determined people to make that happen. And today we've listened to two people in this world that are sharing their passion for music, performance and new music being performed. So thank you for that. And I wish you all the best and an extraordinary successful sixth season. I'm really looking forward to it. 

George Nickson: Like so much Robyn, thanks for having us. And thanks for all you do. 

Samantha Bennett: Thank you so much.