Sunday, January 17, 2021 enSRQ presents Ulysses Kay's "Fugitive Songs" and Quinn Mason's "The 19th Amendment" online for free 8 PM EST Monday, Jan. 18

Quinn Mason
(Provided by ENSRQ)

Ulysses Kay (1917-1995)

Jay Handelman

Jan. 15, 2021

George Nickson and Samantha Bennett are trying to focus on the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down performing arts companies around the world and forced some to close permanently.

For the first fall concert, their contemporary classical music group ensembleNEWSRQ reached far more people online than they ever would have in a one-night performance in front of a live audience.


“Now we can show a whole concert,” Bennett said. “Before we were allowed to post certain pieces. This exponentially increases awareness of our organizations and the composers we present.”

They are reuniting with some composing and performing friends as they introduce more music to Sarasota audiences with their season’s second program, “Solitude and Suffrage,” a title they say has taken on greater meaning since it was announced months ago.

“It’s a confluence of different themes and ideas but the principal one is the idea of solitude and reflecting on the early parts of the pandemic and how a lot of people are still dealing with that,” Nickson said.

The concert also offers a belated tribute to the first century of women winning the right to vote with Quinn Mason’s 2019 piece “The 19th Amendment,” which Bennett will play with Bharat Chandra, principal clarinet of Sarasota Orchestra, and pianist Jesse Martins, music director of the Sarasota Youth Opera.

“He introduced himself and said I’m a composer,” Nickson recalled. “And now we’re able to perform his music in Sarasota and because it’s online, he’ll get to watch and everyone he knows can.” 


The concert at 8 p.m. Monday will be streamed live from enSRQ’s usual home at First Congregational Church in Sarasota with help of a video package the organization purchased. A total of seven musicians will be featured and because there is no audience on site, they are able to arrange performers in a socially distanced manner that allows for greater community and safety.

The program also includes Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “An Invention on ‘Solitude’” (1999), with Chandra, Bennett and Mia Laity, violins, Rachel Halvorson, viola and Natalie Helm, cello. [Soprano Thea] Lobo and [Pianist] Jesse Martins will perform three selections from Ulysses Kay’s 1950 “Fugitive Songs.”

‘Solitude and Suffrage’

Presented by ensembleNEWSRQ at 8 p.m. Monday. Available for free online at

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