September 5 at First Congregational Church
The Suncoast Composer Fellowship Program, a new residency program for six emerging composers and nine classical musicians, empowers emerging composers by providing resources to build their careers.
(August 15, 2023) ensembleNEWSRQ (enSRQ), the innovative chamber music ensemble, has collaborated with Sarasota-based Soundbox Ventures in the Suncoast Composer Fellowship Program (SCFP), a new residency program for six emerging composers and nine classical musicians. The group is producing the program’s first concert, Tuesday, September 5, 7 p.m., at First Congregational Church, 1031 S. Euclid Ave., Sarasota. The event will include a pre-concert lecture and salon, featuring wine and refreshments, while the composer fellows speak about the work that will be performed that evening. Audiences can meet and greet the artists and composers following the concert. Tickets are $25 for the general public; free for enSRQ subscribers if a season subscription is purchased before September 5; and can be purchased at www.EnSRQ.org.
The Suncoast Composer Fellowship Program takes place August 28 to September 7 with two internationally acclaimed composers in residence, six composer fellows selected from an international applicant pool, and nine classical musicians. The program’s aim is to support the artistic development of emergent composers by bolstering their portfolio with high-quality performances and recordings of their music, improving their self-advocacy skills through writing and speaking workshops, and building a mentorship network through a community of composers, performers, and audience patrons.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Soundbox Ventures to produce this concert of the composer fellows’ work,” says George Nickson, co-founder and co-artistic director of enSRQ. “It’s integral to our mission as a new music organization to provide opportunities for the next generation of talented composers to have their work performed and workshopped at a high level. We were deeply impressed with the depth of talent we saw in the application process. The composers selected are incredibly talented and we cannot wait to share their musical voices with the community.”
Samantha Bennett, enSRQ’s co-founder and co-artistic director says that she remembers the “value of mentorship as a young musician coming into the professional world. Having a safe space to experiment, observe, and explore is so important in any musician’s development. It’s exciting for me to be on the other side of this process now, and I’m proud that enSRQ has grown into an organization that is able to provide these opportunities.”
Founded in November 2022 by violinist Max Tan, Soundbox Ventures is a project-based performing arts management organization headquartered in Sarasota. Tan explains that the mission is to “build meaningful connections between musicians and audiences by organizing artist residencies and concerts that focus on making the artist process accessible.” Tan adds that the group’s first project was incubated by the Sarasota Art Museum and was a modern take on the salon concerts of the 19th-century. He adds that each event includes a conversation with artists and audiences.
“Soundbox addresses two needs,” says Tan. “First, it gives musicians a sandbox to experiment and create something related to their unique artistic voice, and second, it makes the case to audiences that they can be artists too. It takes a village to bring this vision to life and Soundbox catalyzes partnerships between artists and local organizations and will continue producing seasons of meaningful concerts and cultural events. There is more to come!”
The six composer fellows who are participating in SCFP’s first residency program are Angela Slater (United Kingdom), Chris Neiner (Cleveland, OH), Nicholas Bentz (Charleston, SC), Yangfan Xu (Boston, MA), Zachary Konick (San Diego, CA), and Claire Hu (Princeton, NJ). The nine classical musicians are Luke Hsu, violin (Berlin, Germany), Hana Mundiya, violin (New York, NY), KJ McDonald, violin (Stamford, CT), Jeremy Kienbaum (New York, NY), Rimbo Wong (Pittsburgh, PA), Rainer Crosset, cello (Berlin, Germany), Lev Mamuya, cello (Los Angeles, CA), TianYi Li, piano (Princeton, NJ), and Baron Fenwick, piano (New York, NY). The composer mentors in residence are Sean Friar and Marc Migó Cortes. For more information about SCFP, visit www.soundboxventures.org/scfp.
enSRQ will announce its 2023-2024 season on August 15. For more information, visit www.EnSRQ.org.
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 a profound way.