By Dave Davison of Tacoma Weekly News
In the ornate and spacious interior of Tacoma’s Pantages Theater, on May 12, Symphony Tacoma finished its 2017-18 season in style with a combined choral and symphonic concert that included the powerful vocals of Kelly Cae Hogan, a soprano from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Music director and conductor of Symphony Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides was like a combination of a dancer and a wizard as she expressively captained the musicians through an evening of sonic wonderment.
The evening opened with a performance of the six movements of Francis Poulenc’s “Gloria,” which brought to bear the full orchestra, the Symphony Tacoma Voices and Hogan’s talents. Decked out in a sparkling, creamy gray gown and with eyes catching the lights as brilliantly as her jeweled ring, Hogan sang the Latin text of “Gloria” with sumptuous verbosity.
By Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Business Courier Contributor
There are many others: Sarah Ioannides – the first woman on the conducting staff of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – leads Symphony Tacoma. Mei-Ann Chen is music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and conductor laureate of the Memphis Symphony. Jane Glover, an acclaimed Mozart specialist, leads Music of Baroque in Chicago. Susanna Mälkki is principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic.
Metropolitan Opera soprano Kelly Cae Hogan joins Symphony Tacoma and Symphony Tacoma Voices for a program of selections by composers Richard Wagner and Francis Poulenc. The concert marks the end of the Symphony’s 2017-18 season and will take place in the Pantages Theater at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
American soprano Kelly Cae Hogan has attracted international attention for her dramatic portrayals in Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and Puccini. She sang Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen for Opera North at the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as on tour in several other UK cities. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she sang in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk as well as Gerhilde in Die Walküre. A native of Iowa, Hogan was a winner of the American Opera Awards and a New York winner of the MacAllister Awards.
By Chrstian Carvajal of The Weekly Volcano
Since before her first album in 1985, Henson-Conant has been broadening her repertoire to include a variety of styles from Irish traditional to highbrow heavy metal. She plays the instrument she commissioned and helped design, an 11-pound sound machine named for her: the CAMAC DHC Light Blue electric harp. The origin of that custom-built instrument is the subject of her recent TED Talk. She earned a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album for the soundtrack to her 2006 DVD, Invention & Alchemy.
Her upcoming appearance with Symphony Tacoma falls on Earth Day, so Henson-Conant seized on that opportunity to feature songs about the earth and our place in it. She sees her own role — in this case, in front of an orchestra — as a symbolic bridge between the individual human and her planetary community. She notes the organic construction of many classical instruments, which ties their resonant personalities to the natural world and reminds us yet again of our interdependence within it.
By Christian Carvajal of the Weekly Volcano
Symphony Tacoma will present Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 10” this Sunday alongside Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, which was written in conscious homage to Beethoven’s Ninth, and a Haydn concerto that highlights the talents of principal trumpeter Charles Butler. “This seemed just the right timing and program to feature (Butler),” said Ioannides, “who has had an incredibly wonderful career, formerly also the principal of Seattle Symphony.” Butler, who began his career with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, is the principal trumpeter for Portland Opera and a substitute for Oregon Ballet Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
“Everybody will take away different meaningful moments,” Ioannides says of an upcoming Tacoma rendition. “I always recommend to a listener, when you hear something for the first time, to lose any sense of expectations and … allow it to take you on a journey into the unknown. … Look for the beauty of contrast. Look for the complexity of polyphonic lines … Follow the peaks and valleys, as you would exploring any new landscape.”
The National Youth Orchestra, South Africa’s symphonic national team, will perform the Fourth Symphony of Tchaikovsky, and Stravinksy’s playful neo-classical Pulcinella Suite in Pretoria and Johannesburg from 14 to 16 December 2017.
These performances will be done under the baton of acclaimed United States conductor Sarah Ioannides, who is listed as one of the top 20 female conductors worldwide. Ioannides’ dynamism has won praise from audience and critics alike. Her engagements have taken her to five continents. This tour will mark her South African debut.
Melinda Bargreen for the Seattle Times
When the Seattle Symphony presents its annual “Messiah” Dec. 15-17, there will be a woman on the podium…
This is a milestone worth considering. The mere fact that female conductors are a comparative rarity around the world, at a point in history when women instrumentalists are commonplace — female orchestra musicians make up 36 percent of the Seattle Symphony — is an indication of the glacial rate of progress for women in ascending the podium.
The Australian-born Ioannides was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of several female conductors cracking the “glass podium” and was termed part of “a new wave of female conductors” by The New York Times.
This busy 45-year-old conductor has divided her time among directorships of Symphony Tacoma and the Spartanburg (North Carolina) Philharmonic, plus the family’s East Coast base (her husband, trombonist Scott Hartman, teaches at Yale University). With a 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old twins, and regular guest-conducting trips to Europe, life has been hectic.
Ioannides observes that there is “the opportunity now for women to make a lot of progress — even though we still make up only about 7 or 8 percent of orchestral-music directors. There needs to be more. And are we just token females, or are we given the same opportunities and the same pay?”
The Pantages Theater stage will be brimming with musicians and instruments, including singers from 4th grade through high school, when Symphony Tacoma presents the annual Sounds of the Seasons program, featuring the Tacoma Youth Chorus. A cherished tradition in Tacoma, the pageant-style concert—conducted by Sarah Ioannides and Judy Herrington—features beloved carols, hymns and songs, including “The Little Drummer Boy,” “My Favorite Things,” “Joy to the World” and “Greensleeves,” among many others.
The program is studded with other great names and titles in choral and seasonal music: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Dance, Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on “Greensleeves,” Eric Whitacre’s “Glow,” John Rutter’s “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” Prokofiev’s “Troika,” and Leroy Anderson’s “Christmas Festival.” Symphony Tacoma’s frequent collaborator Bo Ayars has created arrangements of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” and Richard Kountz’s “The Sleigh.” Sarah Ioannides has orchestrated Judy Herrington’s composition for women’s choir, “Stars Tonight,” which will receive its premiere during the performance!
The Inquirer by David Patrick Stearns
The other big discovery was guest conductor Sarah Ioannides, a Curtis Institute graduate and someone who has been working with regional orchestras from El Paso to Tacoma. However gracious her manner, she somehow induced Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia to play on a level that’s been wanting since the departure of now-conductor-laureate Ignat Solzhenitsyn some years ago. The playing in this longish Beethoven program was vigorous, solid, and with an unusually vibrant sonority. Her programming ideas were provocative: She programmed a lot of early Beethoven that’s worth an occasional hearing, such as the Rondo for piano and orchestra, as well as unfinished Beethoven, in an assemblage of his borderline-chaotic Symphony No. 10. Her rendering of that last piece was particularly notable: This is music with no real performance tradition, though you wouldn’t have known that from what was heard on Sunday.