By John Falskow for The News Tribune
“Mountain and Sea” was not just a concert by Symphony Tacoma — it was a culmination of creativity, education, outreach and advocacy that touched our community and brought people together in a powerful shared experience.
“Fire Mountain” ended in an elongated, disintegrating diminuendo. The violin sections melted into a single thread of sound, and their whisper faded into profound silence. This silence clung on for a long time. It seemed that nobody in the Pantages Theater wanted this moment to end. The silence broke, and the audience launched into an immediate standing ovation.
A review of just the Symphony Tacoma performance cannot do justice to the depth and profound effect the “Fire Mountain” collaboration has had on the Tacoma community. Was it a great concert? Absolutely. Bravo to Symphony Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides, Daniel Ott, and everyone behind the massive and inclusive project. But the larger lesson goes beyond a single concert event. “Fire Mountain” has given us a glimpse at the creative and collaborative potential in Tacoma.
The Tacoma Weekly
This weekend, Symphony Tacoma hopes to raise awareness of global climate change. Its new program “Classics V: Mountain and Sea” – to be presented 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Pantages Theater – will include performances of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” from Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” and Claude Debussy’s “La Mer.”
It will also include the world premier of a new piece called “Fire-Mountain” by Daniel Ott, a New York-based composer and university professor (The Juilliard School, Fordham University) with strong ties to the area.
“He’s got a really thoughtful, unique and a very, very interesting, fascinating style of composition. Symphony Tacoma Musical Director Sarah Ioannides said. “The point of this piece is to bring awareness to environmental changes that our planet is enduring at this time and to really bring thought and reverence to the natural beauty of places like Mount Rainier.”
From The HUB of the League of American Orchestras
Washington’s Symphony Tacoma has been collaborating this spring with the Museum of Glass, Hilltop Artists Video, and Mount Rainier National Park in preparation for the May 13 world premiere of Daniel Ott’s Fire Mountain Symphony. Leading up to the concert, area residents participated in events designed to raise awareness of the plight of Mount Rainier’s rapidly melting glaciers. In March at the Museum of Glass, student artists worked with ice and molten glass in a joint performance-art event with Symphony Tacoma musicians, who played composed and improvised music as glass-blowers worked. Video footage from the event will be incorporated, together with images of Mount Rainier, for a video art piece to accompany the May 13 world premiere, led by Music Director Sarah Ioannides and featuring Symphony Tacoma and Symphony Tacoma Voices. The molten glass is meant as “a metaphor for the flowing magma within the mountain, and the ice reflects the changes to its exterior,” says the orchestra in a press release. Composer Daniel Ott is a native of Puyallup, Washington.
Posted May 12, 2017
Rosemary Ponnekanti for the Tacoma News Tribune
Around 38 orchestra students from Lincoln High School — most of whom had never been up Mount Rainier — were joined by a climatologist, a composer, a conductor, park rangers and a symphony violinist, who is their orchestra teacher. The goal? To discover how classical music can help save our environment in the form of a brand-new piece premiering Saturday with Symphony Tacoma!
“The goal is to express the challenges of global warming and what needs to be done,” she says. “It feels even more poignant with the current government. … If there were a mass movement (in music) to express our feelings on this, more people would become aware that it’s an important subject.”
The World Premiere of a new symphonic work. A multimedia experience featuring video, glass art and music. A symposium exploring changes to the delicate ecosystem of the Mountain and its glaciers. A collaboration between the Arts and the National Park Service. A once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity for area high school students. Symphony Tacoma’s Mountain and Sea season finale is all this and more.
Conceived by Music Director Sarah Ioannides, Mountain and Sea is a collaborative effort between Symphony Tacoma, Museum of Glass, Hilltop Artists and Mount Rainier National Park to create a cross-disciplinary multimedia artistic event culminating with the Symphony’s season finale. Commemorating the Centennial of the National Parks System, the project will engage area residents in music and glass art and raise awareness of the plight of Mount Rainier’s glaciers, which are melting at an alarming rate.
Conceived by Music Director Sarah Ioannides, Mountain and Sea engages Symphony Tacoma, the Museum of Glass (MOG), Hilltop Artists, Lincoln High School orchestra students and Mount Rainier National Park in a multimedia artistic event culminating with the May 13 concert. In commemoration of the Centennial of the National Parks System, the multi-layered project will engage participants in music and glass art and raise awareness of the plight of Mount Rainier’s glaciers, which are melting at an alarming rate. The capstone of the project and the season finale will be the world premiere of Fire-Mountain, the new symphonic work by Daniel Ott.
It has been a privilege to support Dan, Derek and especially Sarah in the long run-up to this concert. Elements of the project have been in Sarah’s mind since the early days of her tenure, and we have literally been writing grant proposals, building bridges with collaborative partners, and otherwise planning the event since the spring of 2015!
By Dan Armonaitis
This weekend marks the end of an era for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and it’s got me feeling a little nostalgic.
Sarah Ioannides, who will perform her final concert as music director and conductor of the SPO Saturday night at Twichell Auditorium, has been a joy to cover these last few years and I’ll miss chatting with her on a somewhat regular basis.
One of the cool things about Ioannides’ 12-year tenure as SPO music director is the tremendous amount of internationally-renowned classical musicians she’s been able to bring to Spartanburg. I had the opportunity to speak with many of them and have vivid memories of some of those conversations.
But perhaps the best words about Ioannides came from Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann, who described her as “a fantastic conductor — very personable both with the musicians and the audience.”
By Dan Armonaitis for Spartanburg Magazine
In her final season with the SPO, Ioannides, who was born in Australia and raised in the U.K., has been honored twice with proclamations recognizing her achievements in Spartanburg. The city named Oct. 15, 2016, (the night of the orchestra’s season-opening concert) Sarah Ioannides Day and the county did the same at the most recent “Classics Series” concert on Feb. 4.
“Music is about recognizing the beauty, and sometimes it’s about recognizing the sadness,” Ioannides said. “It’s about being able to reflect on humanity, on our society, on nature, (and) on the world. That’s the greater message that music is able to give. It’s able to reflect on life in a way that no other art can, and it’s so powerful.”
“She raised the bar for musicianship in our orchestra and that legacy will continue,” Dunleavy said. “I’m excited for her to move on to a bigger symphony, which she already has with Tacoma, and I’m sure she’s got plans to do some other things as well. I think her future is limitless .”
But no matter where the future takes her, Ioannides promises that Spartanburg will remain close to her heart.
Steve Wong for Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra
When Sarah Ioannides steps down from the podium after conducting her final performance at Twichell Auditorium, she will leave a lasting legacy of innovation and inspiration. As the 68th season of the symphony comes to a close, the Maestro will conclude her 12 years serving as Music Director of the SPO. Since 2005, when the orchestra officially changed its name from the Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic (GSP) to the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO), she has worked with the ensemble to offer creative and educational programs that engaged audience members, young and old. Her signature style of presenting well-known masterpieces alongside new works of classical music helped the SPO to develop an impressive, distinct sound, emerging as one of the most highly esteemed orchestras in the region.