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Tacoma Symphony Orchestra returns to roots as new director leads University of Puget Sound Orchestra

sarah_action2It doesn’t feel like a historical moment. The University of Puget Sound orchestra is at rehearsal number 121 of the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. As the strings come in for the unison, the horns are struggling with clef changes, and the cymbalist looks a little uncertain of where he is. The brass don’t quite make their triumphant entry, and the conductor stops them.

“You’ve got to get into the cycle of before your entrance to breathe in time,” the conductor says patiently, voice stuffy with a thick cold and 18 hours at an airport the night before. It’s Sarah Ioannides, new music director of the Tacoma Symphony, who’s rehearsing the university’s orchestra for their free concert Friday (April 24) — and making a little Tacoma history at the same time as the first TSO conductor to unite the two institutions since Edward Seferian began the orchestra back in 1959.

“This is an opportunity to make Sarah’s first year in Tacoma special,” said Keith Ward, chairman of the university’s Music Department, as Ioannides moved on to the third movement, pulling the second violins into their difficult opening with encouraging warmth. “She’s coming back to the roots of where the TSO began.”

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Students at Tacoma Symphony get to play along

IMG_0018An orchestra doesn’t often get to play Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” theme with the entire audience joining in.

Tacoma Symphony’s annual Simply Symphonic schools concerts came with a big difference this year — an interactive program called Link Up, organized by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

The program was brought to the orchestra by its new music director, Sarah Ioannides, who conducted her enormous ensemble with obvious delight.

“The more the audience participates, the more it works,” Ioannides said backstage after the second of Tuesday’s two concerts.It’s designed to be educational as much as entertaining,” Ioannides said. “It gets students to understand how melody gets passed around through the orchestra, and simplifies it enough that they can grasp easily how composition takes place.

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Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s season finale will be mix of visual, audial artistry

cadimThe 2014-15 Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s season has been one of the most exciting since Sarah Ioannides took over as music director and conductor 10 years ago.

The concert will be a mix of visual and audial artistry featuring internationally acclaimed solo violinist Vadim Gluzman, who will perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D while painter Julyan Davis simultaneously paints on stage.

Ioannides chose pieces by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg and Modest Mussorgsky, which she found fit marvelously together, and she built the program to imitate or celebrate life.

“The program builds in grandeur toward the end and it represents, to me, as a whole, the celebration of life,” Ioannides said, “from a wedding day to a remarkable violin, violinist and creator (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto) and finally to art and its connection to music in the ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.'”

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TSO’s Sarah Ioannides Conducts the UPS Symphony Orchestra, Apr. 24

10403191_746257682062452_6769864302773477406_nTACOMA, Wash. – Sarah Ioannides, the new music director at Tacoma Symphony Orchestra (TSO), will raise her baton to lead the University of Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra at a free April 24 concert.

Ioannides will be guest conductor at the place where the TSO had its start: the University of Puget Sound campus, where the orchestra grew under the leadership of Edward Seferian, professor of music and “Father of the TSO.” This is believed to be the first time a TSO music director has returned to the campus to conduct the college’s own student orchestra.

“We know Sarah’s deep connection to and profound belief in music education, and we celebrate the opportunity to bring her back to the roots of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra during her first year,” he said.

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