Pianist Garrick Ohlsson opens the series with Kirill Gerstein Feb. 25.

Image: Kacper Pempel

While Sarasota Concert Association audiences have missed out on the thrill of live performances this 2021 season due to Covid-19 cancellations, the association recently announced a “Musically Speaking” virtual concert and conversation series that will do what it can to bridge the gap—and it’s free.

The three-concert series commences Feb. 25 and features preeminent classical musicians not only in performance but in informal conversations. World-acclaimed pianists Garrick Ohlsson and Kirill Gerstein launch the series with a duo performance at 7 p.m. Feb. 25. Then violinist Samantha Bennett and percussionist George Nickson (known to area audiences for their ensemblenewSRQ programs) follow up at 7 p.m. March 11. And the renowned chamber orchestra Academy of St Martin in the Fields concludes the series at 7 p.m. March 25.

Kirill Gerstein

SCA board member and musician-educator Charles Turon will lead the conversations.

Newly appointed executive director for SCA Linda Moxley said in a release, “We are certainly disappointed that we had to cancel our 2021 concert season, but it was the decision we needed to make” for the safety of audiences. “Musically Speaking,” she added, is a “thank you to those who continue to support great music in our region.”

Samantha Bennett and George Nickson

Although the series is free, registration is required; each link will be viewable for seven days. Ohlsson and Gerstein will perform works including Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and Ravel’s La Valse; Bennett and Nickson will present a wide-ranging program highlighting contemporary music; and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields concert will spotlight soloists from within the orchestra on works by Bach, Messiaen and MacMillan, while the whole ensemble will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 29.

To register, visit scasarasota.org/musicallyspeaking.

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