The name of French composer Claude-Achille Debussy may not rattle off your tongue, but you do know his work. “Clair de Lune,” from Suite Bergamasque, boasts one of the most beautiful and adored melodies in Western history. Almost as well-known is “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” a 10-minute symphonic poem that appears in such diverse entertainments as Flashdance, Ren & Stimpy, and True Blood.
The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra conductor Sarah Ioannides (pronounced “Ee-oh-NEED-eez”) offers this classic, along with the equally familiar “Symphony No. 6” or “Pastoral Symphony” by Ludwig van Beethoven, Feb. 28. She’s also thrown in a bridging piece, “Harp Concerto in G Minor” by Elias Parish Alvars, featuring Valerie Mussolini-Gordon, principal harpist for the Seattle Symphony.
“The common theme in this program,” Ioannides explained, “is (the composer’s) connection to nature … They’re nature lovers. Being out in the countryside, or, for Debussy, being by the sea, was important to them. To them, nature is the world.”