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Kate Mulligan joins ensembleNewSRQ as its first general manager

Kate Mulligan is EnsembleNewSRQ's first general manager.
Kate Mulligan is EnsembleNewSRQ's first general manager.
Courtesy photo
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For the first time in its nine-year history, Sarasota contemporary classical music group EnsembleNewSRQ has hired a general manager. 

Kate Mulligan, the former executive director of the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey, will join the Sarasota music group founded by husband-and-wife team Samantha Bennett and George Nickson, who serve as co-artistic directors.

Before joining Capital Philharmonic, Mulligan was the executive director of the Trenton Children's Chorus in New Jersey. In a statement, Bennett described Mulligan as a professional musician and "an entrepreneurial and vision-driven leader who reimagines and transforms arts organizations to help them achieve their mission." 

"Kate brings a world of experience to this position," Bennett said in a statement. "We're confident she will help us bring EnsembleNewSRQ to the next transformative level." 

In her new position, Mulligan will handle the organization's finances, operational systems, performance logistics and contractual relations. She will also be in charge of coordinating grants and fundraising campaigns, supervise independent contractors and oversee marketing and community outreach programs.

"I am so excited to have the opportunity to manage such an incredible ensemble, and I am really looking forward to the start of the season in October," Mulligan said.

EnsembleNewSRQ was one of 35 arts and cultural organizations to benefit from $3.2 million in funding in tourist tax grants this year from Sarasota County. The contemporary classical music group received $10,786, up from $4,923 the previous year.

In an interview with the Observer earlier this year, Bennett, who is former principal second violin with the Sarasota Orchestra, said EnsembleNewSRQ's budget has grown to $150,000. 

"It's been inspiring to see our small organization grow to a place where we can welcome additional staff to oversee day-to-day operations," Nickson said.

In April, EnsembleNewSRQ performed at the Sarasota Opera House for the first time, with 40 musicians on stage for its "1976" show, a milestone hailed by Bennett and Dickson at the time.

Bennett and Dickson live in Dallas, where Nickson is principal percussionist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and a faculty member at Southern Methodist University.

Prior to joining the Dallas Symphony and SMU, Nickson was principal percussionist for the Sarasota Orchestra. The couple lives in Dallas but maintains a house in Sarasota. 

In addition to her management and financial acumen, Mulligan brings a wealth of experience as a successful director of events at well-known venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey, and the White House. 

Bennett and Dickson were drawn to Mulligan's track record advocating for youth outreach and development through her roles in Riding with HEART, Trenton Children's Chorus, Roxey Ballet and Buckingham Friends School. 

"Mulligan is dedicated to the urgency of supportive, equitable, representative and accessible operating models, especially in arts and education," they said in a statement.

Mulligan holds degrees in music and nonprofit management from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and an MBA from Rutgers University. A former professional musician, Mulligan is an award-winning equestrian who lives with her family in Sarasota.



Monica Roman Gagnier

Monica Roman Gagnier is the arts and entertainment editor of the Observer. Previously, she covered A&E in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the Albuquerque Journal and film for industry trade publications Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

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