October 10 at First Congregational Church
The concert features music that reflects the historically underrepresented voices of Indigenous composers, including the ominous reverberations of “Talowa’ Hiloha” by Jerod Impechchaachaaha’ Tate, the luminous “Imago” by Andean composer Inti Figgis-Vizueta, and Gabriela Ortiz’s “Pico-Bite-Beat”—an imaginative and intriguing musical exploration of Mesoamerican cuisine.
(September 6, 2022) ensembleNewSRQ (enSRQ), the innovative chamber music ensemble, opens its 2022-2023 season with “First Voices,” a concert showcasing music that reflects the historically underrepresented voices of Indigenous composers. Works include Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate’s “Talowa’ Hiloha” (“Thunder Song”) for solo timpani—a powerful piece that honors the beautiful, brilliant, and resilient spirit of American Indian cultures through the powerful and unifying force of music. The evening also includes the luminous “Imago” by Andean composer inti figgis-vizueta, and Gabriela Ortiz’s “Pico-Bite-Beat”—an imaginative and intriguing musical exploration of Mesoamerican cuisine. Works by Elizabeth Ogonek and Michael Begay will also be performed. The concert is Monday, October 10, 7:30 p.m., at First Congregational Church, 1031 S Euclid Ave, Sarasota. Single tickets are $25. Single tickets for streaming options are $10. Season subscriptions for the five concerts at First Congregational Church are also available for $115. For more information on ticket packages and single tickets, including student ticket pricing, visit www.ensrq.org. A special fundraising event, the “Beats and Bites” brunch, kicks off the season on Sunday, October 9, at 11 a.m., at The Founders Club in Sarasota. The event features the enSRQ artists performing Gabriela Ortiz’s “Pico-Bite-Beat.” Guests will also enjoy a Mexican-fusion three-course brunch. Tickets are $125. RSVP before October 3 at www.ensrq.org.
Violinist Samantha Bennett and percussionist George Nickson are the group’s founders and co-artistic directors. Nickson says they have been wanting to program the music of Jerod Impechchaachaaha’ Tate “for several years, ever since I worked with him on a premiere with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The ominous reverberations of his ‘Thunder Song’ for solo timpani are the perfect way to open our seventh season.”
Bennett says she is particularly excited for Gabriela Ortiz’s “Pico-Bite-Beat,” which is a “truly a joyful explosion of musical fusion. The piece is about the intermingling of cultures, and the similarity between musical artists and chefs. With movement titles like ‘Burrito Pastrami’ and ‘Kimchi Quesadilla,’ flavor combinations literally take form as musical motifs and rhythmic patterns. Using string quartet, percussion and original electronics, it will be a completely unique sonorific experience.”
Both artistic directors are also thrilled to announce that, new this year, they are bringing local musicians on in a new capacity as enSRQ artists. “These are the faces you already know and love in their capacity to bring modern masterpieces to life,” says Bennett. “Artists like Jennifer Best Takeda, Bharat Chandra, Betsy Traba and Marcelina Suchocka strengthen our ties to the community and will be with you on this season’s journey of musical discovery.”
Artists playing this program include: Samantha Bennett and Jennifer Best Takeda, violins; Daniel Urbanowicz, viola; Claire Solomon, cello; George Nickson and Marcelina Suchocka, percussion; Jesse Martins, piano, and Bharat Chandra, clarinet.
Jerod Impichchaachaaha ̍ Tate is a classical composer, citizen of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma and dedicated to the development of American Indian classical composition. A Washington Post review states that “Tate is rare as an American Indian composer of classical music. Rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical msic with American Indian nationalism.” Tate is guest composer/conductor/pianist for the San Francisco Symphony’s “Currents” program, “Thunder Song: American Indian Musical Cultures,” and was recently guest composer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Balcony Bar program, “Home with ETHEL and Friends,” featuring his commissioned work, “Pisachi” (“Reveal”) for string quartet.
Called “wonderfully strange” (Pioneer Press) and “a cauldron of subtle sounds” (All About Jazz), the “smooth and serrated melodies” (The New York Times) of composer inti figgis-vizueta invite listeners into elemental sonic worlds that reveal “structure and simplicity within a cacophony of sound and complicated texture” (The Strad Magazine). She is the recipient of the Fred Ho Award from The ASCAP Foundation, the National Sawdust Hildegard Award, the American Composers Orchestra’s CoLABoratory Fellowship, and is the upcoming Dumbarton Oaks Early-Career Musician-in-Residence. The artist enjoys weaving classical aesthetics and improvisational approaches into spontaneous, interactive works that highlight the transformative power of communal listening; The Washington Post says her music “feels sprouted between structures, liberated from certainty and wrought from a language we’d do well to learn.”
Elizabeth Ogonek, whose music has been described as “shimmering,” “dramatic” and “painstakingly crafted” by the Chicago Tribune, is an American composer living and working in New York. In 2015, Ogonek was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the Mead Composer-in-Residence, a position she held alongside Samuel Adams until 2018. During her tenure with the CSO, she was commissioned to write three new works. Ogonek was also responsible for co-curating MusicNOW, the orchestra’s new music series, which brought together CSO musicians with composers to explore the music of today as well as influential works of the 20th century.
A Diné performer/composer of chamber music, experimental sound, Native American flute, and metal music, Michael Begay is a guitarist and bassist, but also plays piano, and various instruments both Native American and orchestral. Originally based on the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona, Begay moved to Baltimore, Maryland, after being accepted to The Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute of Music to further his studies in music composition. Currently, he is studying music composition in the studio of Oscar Bettison at Peabody and is working on various compositions.
Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today, and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging in the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde, combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Ortiz’s compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. Among many awards and accolades, Ortiz has been honored with the National Prize for Arts and Literature, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; the Fulbright Fellowship; a Banff Center for the Arts residency; and the Mozart Medal award.
enSRQ is celebrating its seventh season with contemporary masterworks, compelling new compositions, exciting collaborations, and world premieres. Bennett and Nickson have curated a six-program season that shines a light on the evolution of contemporary music in the 21st century. Other highlights of enSRQ’s season includes tributes to recently passed composers, George Crumb and Louis Andriessen; world premieres of newly commissioned works by the renowned British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and the emerging American percussionist/composer Shaun Tilburg; and a collaboration with Sarasota Contemporary Dance. This season concludes with a first-ever concert at the Sarasota Opera House featuring 40 musicians.
2022-2023 Season at a Glance
- First Voices: October 10, 7:30 p.m. The ominous reverberations of “Talowa’ Hiloha” (“Thunder Song”) by Jerod Impechchaachaaha’ Tate opens the season with a focus on the historically underrepresented voices of Indigenous composers. The evening also features the luminous “Imago” by Andean composer Inti Figgis-Vizueta, and Gabriela Ortiz’s “Pico-Bite-Beat”—an imaginative and intriguing musical exploration of Mesoamerican cuisine. First Congregational Church, 1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
- Collaboration With Sarasota Contemporary Dance: December 1-4. As enSRQ has redefined the limits of new music, Sarasota Contemporary Dance has pushed the boundaries of modern dance with its inventive choreography by Leymis Bolanos Wilmott. Its multimedia exploration of global rhythms, dance, and song is the perfect collaboration. This concert will also showcase stunning scenic and projection design by Sharon McCaman, the St. Petersburg-based multidisciplinary artist. Performances are in the Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
- Crumb: January 16, 7:30 p.m. “Black Angels,” the epic lament for the troubled years of the Vietnam era climaxes a tribute to George Crumb (1929-2022), the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer whose works are among the most frequently performed compositions in today’s musical world. Renowned soprano and enSRQ favorite, Lucy Fitz Gibbon returns to sing Crumb’s evocative “Madrigals,” and the emotionally powerful “Demeter Prelude” by Crumb’s protégé, Margaret Brouwer will also be performed. First Congregational Church, 1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
- Vespers For A New Dark Age: February 6, 7:30 p.m. The voices of the Dallas-based Verdigris Ensemble rise in collaboration with ensembleNEWSRQ to present the compelling choral works of two internationally acclaimed composers: “The Branch Will Not Break” by Christopher Cerrone—as inspired by the poetry of James Arlington Wright; and “Vespers for a New Dark Age” by Missy Mazzoli—set to the poetry of Matthew Zapruder. First Congregational Church, 1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
- And The Hits Keep Coming: March 20, 7:30 p.m. The virtuosic versatility of the percussionist is celebrated in a program featuring Krizts Auznieks’s “Prelude and Ether” for marimbas, vibraphone, and piano; Emma O’Halloran’s “Shell” for marimba quartet; and the world premieres of newly commissioned works for percussion ensembles by the renowned British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and the emerging American percussionist/composer Shaun Tilburg. First Congregational Church, 1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
- 1976: April 17,7:30 p.m. Forty musicians ensemble to perform a double bill of contemporary classics, both composed in 1976. HK Gruber’s vastly entertaining “Frankenstein” (a “pandemonium for baritone chansonnier and ensemble”) opens the program, and Louis Andriessen’s iconic and groundbreaking “De Staat” concludes it. Sarasota Opera House, 61 North Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. Live streaming will also be available to viewers for this concert.
About ensembleNEWSRQ: Founded in 2015 by violinist Samantha Bennett and percussionist George Nickson, ensembleNEWSRQ (enSRQ) is a versatile chamber music ensemble in Sarasota, FL, dedicated to playing and advocating for the music of contemporary composers. Through thoughtfully curated and innovative programs, enSRQ demonstrates how contemporary music is a reflection of our world and cultural experience. The ensemble strives to manifest the creativity of the current generation and inspire audiences to participate in musical culture in