Symphony Tacoma Announces 2019/2020 Season

Symphony Tacoma’s 73rd season will present eight dynamic programs – six classics and two holiday concerts –that span 300 years of captivating classical music. Featuring major works by Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin, the season will also be punctuated by three prominent works by Beethoven in recognition of his 250th birthday.

 

“I selected Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” (February), The Creatures of Prometheus (March), and “Choral Fantasy” (March) because these works collectively demonstrate the breadth of talent that is Beethoven,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “I think our audience will really enjoy the diversity of the pieces.”

 

Works by contemporary composers – including one world premiere and two U.S. premieres – will complement the classics to amplify the theme of each concert. “We programmed this season to be an exciting representation of today’s classical music genre,” says Ioannides. “There is so much new and diverse material to draw from – compositions by women, works accompanied by multimedia and works that feature artists who play non-traditional orchestral instruments. We have incorporated a touch of each of these into our season.”

 

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2nd Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass accepting auditors

The 2nd Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at Pacific Lutheran University with Maestro Sarah Ioannides is accepting auditors and participating auditors until June 1st.  Anyone with a musical background and interest in learning the art of conducting is invited to apply.  Auditors who are accepted to play in the Cascade Conducting Orchestra will receive a tuition discount.  

 

On Saturday, the 22nd of June at 7:30pm, full masterclass participants will conduct the Cascade Conducting Symphony, led by musicians from Symphony Tacoma, in a final concert that includes music by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, and Rossini.  The concert is open to he public and free of charge.

 

“Preserving one’s own talent, faith in the music, and performance integrity while navigating a successful path forward is imperative yet challenging! The goal is that great symphonic music and traditions can live on and not only be cherished by generations to come, but be a more relevant and effective platform for peace, expression, and understanding of our world.” – Sarah Ioannides.

 

To apply, please visit: www.cascadeconducting.com

 

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Channel 253: We Art Tacoma Podcast with Sarah Ioannides

Conductor and musical director Sarah Ioannides joins the podcast to talk about Symphony Tacoma’s May 11 program which brings together Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (including Ode to Joy) with “In Hopes of Finding the Sun,” a world premiere of a new work by composer Hannah Lash. We talk about Sarah’s journey to becoming a conductor, what it takes to commission a new work, and why Beethoven is still relevant in 2019.

Listen to the full podcast below!

Symphony Tacoma Rises to Beethoven’s Sun

Commissioning new work has become part of the Tacoma orchestra’s identity since Ioannides, a British conductor hailed as one of the best on Lebrecht’s “Women Conductors: The Power List,” took the helm nearly five years ago.

 

On Saturday night in the Pantages Theater, however, the music was not only new, but quietly turned the historic male composer archetype on its head. Lash isn’t just a woman, she’s also a professional harpist — an instrument traditionally dominated by women, and the polar opposite to Beethoven’s blustery, piano-percussive modality.

 

Symphony Tacoma, under Ioannides’ assured baton, rose to Beethoven’s sun with energy, passion and a full, rich sound that filled the sold-out theater. In the first movement, firm brass chords resonated against the renovated theater’s new shell, violins crisp and timpani exciting, with Ioannides guiding the music like a ship’s captain over stormy waves.

 

The Molto vivace was just that, fast and light, the lacy airiness of the triplets interrupted by stomping timpani like a giant among elves. Legato strings, a precise bassoon and expressive oboe led to an ending with flair. The third movement is a love song, and Ioannides made it flowing rather than funereal with long, arching phrases and the triplet section as intimate as a slow waltz. The 4th horn solo was particularly poignant, sounding as if played offstage.

 

And then, of course, the finale that everybody waits for: sonorous cello/bass recitative, thoughtful phrases, wistful violins, triumphant brass. Ioannides wove through the tempo changes with precision and grace, and the orchestra followed flawlessly. The quartet of soloists made a perfect balance of voices: Baritone  Charles Robert Stephens warm and personable, tenor Ross Hauck brilliant, mezzo Melissa Plagemann and soprano Kristin Vogel glittery as sunlight on top.

 

Symphony Tacoma Chorus filled the hall with a dynamic, strong sound, and as the notes flew to their shining destinations, it was as if every question in Hannah Lash’s piece had been answered.

 
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Symphony delivers strong performance in world premiere

Symphony Tacoma closed out its 2018-19 season with a flourish, with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Choral.” But the real highlight was a world premiere of “In Hopes of Finding the Sun.” Composed by Hannah Lash, a rising star in American orchestral music, the piece served as a perfect opening act. Written as response to response to Beethoven’s 9th, particularly “Ode to Joy,” it perfectly complemented the masterpiece by the German composers.

 

Sarah Ioannides, music director, did a marvelous job conducting the orchestra. At 15 minutes long, “In Hopes of Finding the Sun” was very effective in utilizing a short period of time to make a powerful musical statement. It shifted back and forth from the stringed instruments taking the forefront to them stepping back and the woodwinds moving into the spotlight.

 

“In Hopes of Finding the Sun” is an impressive work; we look forward to hearing more great output from Lash in the future.

 
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Symphony Tacoma Season Finale presents Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Symphony Tacoma will conclude its 2018-2019 season on Saturday, May 11 with Ode to Joy, a program featuring arguably Beethoven’s greatest work and one of the greatest achievements in the history of Western music. The concert will take place at 7:30 pm in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.

 

Opening the program is In Hopes of Finding the Sun, a new work by rising-star American composer Hannah Lash that captures a contemporary woman’s perspective on the famous Friedrich Schiller 1792 poem, Ode to Joy. Commissioned by Symphony Tacoma, the piece will pay tribute to the orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

 

“This is my personal response to Beethoven’s Ninth, particularly the Ode to Joy,” says Lash. “It includes full chorus and orchestra, and the text is my own re-imagining of Schiller’s poem which Beethoven set. It is interesting, in approaching a piece that celebrates joy, how deeply profound-almost onerous-the task feels. As artists, we are perhaps more accustomed to responding to painful emotions or creating art that lives in an abstract realm. When approaching a piece about joy and the Divine (in the broadest human sense rather than the religious), the responsibility one feels to make a piece that can sing is truly a solemn one. It is an honor, and I am thrilled to be working with Symphony Tacoma on this project.”

 

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Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director and Executive Director to Run Tacoma City Marathon

Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director Sarah Ioannides and Executive Director Karina Bharne are lacing up their sneakers to run in the Tacoma City Marathon on Sunday, May 5, 2019. They are participating in the half marathon as part of their personal commitment to a healthy lifestyle as well as promoting the impact of Symphony Tacoma to the South Sound community.

 

“Running is a key part of my fitness regimen that helps to keep me in shape for the podium and maintain long-term overall strength,” says Ioannides. “Like music, it feeds my soul.”

 

Bharne similarly runs to refuel. “I run to relieve stress and clear my mind so I can focus on what’s most important in my work and home life. Running energizes me-and I take pride in setting and achieving my personal goals.” 

 

After the two agreed to run the race, they realized what a perfect analogy it is to the work they do with Symphony Tacoma. With a mission of “building community through music,” Symphony Tacoma brings classical music to Tacoma through live performances as well as subsidizing tickets and music lessons for students who would not normally be able to afford them. “We work together every day on and offstage to spread the joy and magic of LIVE music,” says Bharne. “Just as physical activity keeps a body healthy and fit, music enriches a community.”

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Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides to teach Cascade Conducting Masterclass at PLU

Participants of the 1st annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass have said that the first ever conducting masterclass with Sarah Ioannides “dramatically changed my point of view on professional conducting,” and “challenged me to stretch my artistry.”

 

The second annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at PLU will feature some additions to the program. It will be one day longer, beginning Monday, June 17th, with the final concert taking place on Saturday evening the 22nd. The Cascade Conducting Orchestra will be made up of 3 times as many Symphony Tacoma musicians as last year, and there will be more quality podium time for each participant (1.5 hours). The repertoire will  feature a composition of Tacoma composer, and PLU faculty member Gregory Youtz. Time will also be dedicated to discussion of the business and media aspects of conducting, including applying and auditioning for conducting positions, crafting a resume, public relations, and how to balance these practical aspects of the business while maintaining one’s unique musical identity.

 

“…through what is undoubtedly a very challenging business, yet a highly worthwhile and valuable art form, one has to stay true to the music throughout. Preserving one’s own talent, faith to the music and performance integrity while navigating a successful path forward is imperative, so that great symphonic music can live on and not only be cherished by generations to come, but be a more relevant and effective platform for peace, expression and understanding of our world.”
~Sarah Ioannides

 

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James Carter Joins Symphony Tacoma for Saxophone Fusion

Symphony Tacoma welcomes jazz saxophone virtuoso James Carter to the Pantages Theater on Saturday, April 20 as the guest soloist for Saxophone Fusion. The program presents compositions derived from diverse cultures that feature the luscious sounds of the saxophone with the rich harmonies of the orchestra.

 

Closing the concert is Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody (2010). The result of a decade-long collaboration between Carter and Sierra, Caribbean Rhapsody marries classical and Latin jazz influences and showcases Carter’s virtuosity. It draws on Sierra’s memories of growing up in Puerto Rico and the music he heard on jukeboxes-from the sensuous opening boléro, to the Latin riffs reminiscent of son montuno with alternating reflective and spirited music. Sierra wrote the piece as a musical reunion for Carter and his cousin, violinist Regina Carter. Sierra was “curious to see the combination of James and Regina improvising together and also on two different instruments-the sax, basically from the jazz tradition, and the violin, the quintessential orchestral instrument.” The resulting juxtaposition of saxophone and violin, viola, cello and bass is a refreshingly new hybrid of musical elements.

 

“When I first heard James Carter perform, a whole new set of possibilities opened up in my creative mind,” says Sierra. “I realized that his extraordinary gifts as musician and improviser would be fertile ground for the collaboration that culminated in the writing of Caribbean Rhapsody. I think that what I write is expression that comes from my soul, and a reflection of my own life experiences…This rhapsody not only recalls memories of tropical colors and sounds, but also exposes the pulse of life-the life that I knew growing up in Puerto Rico.”

 
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