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11 Conductors Choose Their Pieces of a Lifetime

By James Bennett, II and Max Fine

Some may argue that “impossible questions” are futile exercises — after all, what’s the point in wondering circumstances that in all likelihood will never be made reality?

That’s a fair argument, but that’s not exactly a “fun” way of moving through life and assessing those myriad things that bring you joy and happiness. Which is why we asked a handful of conductors to share with us the one piece they would choose if they could only conduct that music for the rest of their lives. Here’s what they said.

“Well, this verges on the devastating question; which one of your children would you keep if you had to choose just one? So even here I can’t do it; I’d choose Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, and I couldn’t pass up the Brahms’ Four Symphonies as my third treasure of a lifetime!” – Sarah Ioannides

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The Parallel Powers of Music and Athletics

By Kelly Lenihan, Showcase Magazine

Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium for Symphony Tacoma has won praise from audiences and critics internationally. The New York Times has described her as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority.” 

The physicality of Ioannides’ career requires dedication and perseverance, much like an athletic endeavor. She shares her story of injury, healing and music as a lens through which others might envision succeeding in anything that requires both mental and physical discipline. 

“I’ve always had a passion for running,” says Ioannides, “but…with having two knee surgeries, conquering Lyme disease, and bringing up three children—while living in three states from coast to coast—my physical strength needed recovery…an ongoing challenge with constant travel.” 

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Roads Not Taken: 11 Conductors Tell Us What Else They Might Have Been

By James Bennet II and Max Fine, WQXR New York Blog

There’s something magical about watching a conductor at work — how they internalize the work before them in all its component parts, in turn uniting the ensemble and bringing the music to life. It seems an almost superhuman effort. But conductors are human too, and like the rest of us, sometimes they think about what else they might have done instead of walking onto a podium with their baton.

We asked eleven of them what other career paths they might have taken. Here’s what they had to say.

“I envision myself a neuroscientist, studying the effect of classical music on brain development; how we are changed as performers, students, listeners and ultimately as members of a civil society. I believe we would show its value to humanity and society, an essential component of education, as important as Math, English and the Sciences; even its role in peace-making, and the optimal wiring of our minds. Invigorated by my work as a neuroscientist, and inspired by nature and the animal world, I would spend the weekends as an environmental scientist / conservationist who is also a pilot, free like a bird to explore the beauty of our planet.”

 

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