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
During her tenure with the orchestra, Sarah conducted over 75 concerts, offering Spartanburg residents an opportunity to hear dozens of world-class guest artists and over a hundred classical masterworks. At the same time, her work with contemporary composers has expanded the repertoire for the symphony, developing the orchestral canon for future generations.
Guest composers include internationally recognized artists Dario Marianelli, Kati Agócs, and Sean O’Boyle. In 2011, the SPO gave the premiere performance of Falling Man by Kenneth Fuchs – a piece that went on to receive national acclaim and was presented by The Juilliard School and Steinway & Sons at the “National September 11 Memorial & Museum” in 2016.
Sarah’s inventive approach struck upon a formula that not only local concertgoers found engaging, but it placed Spartanburg on the world’s music map as a community that is grounded, innovative, and progressive.
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.
Tacoma News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti
The first World Culture Summit is taking place this week in Abu Dhabi, and among the 300
participants from 80 countries is Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma.
Ioannides is the only female conductor of a professional orchestra in the United States invited to the summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the summit is bringing diverse cultural leaders together to brainstorm how to solve world challenges through the arts.
“I am finding the summit extremely positive and highly engaging and stimulating thus far,”
said Ioannides via email this week. “There are many powerful and unique stories of artists and cultures being shared, healthy discussions about the state of the arts, and today we began to formulate the questions we want to ask and to resolve as a group … to tackle key issues our world now faces.”
Music Director Sarah Ioannides has been invited to the inaugural Global Cultural Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, taking place from Sunday, April 9th to Thursday, April 13th, 2017. CultureSummit 2017 is the world’s first event that convenes leaders from the worlds of the arts, media, public policy and technology to address the role that culture can play in solving some of the greatest challenges of our time.
The summit will seek to bring together delegations to discuss common interests, create new collaborations and address in concrete ways challenges ranging from the preservation of cultural heritage to understanding the disruptions likely to be associated with emerging technologies, from bringing arts education to the young to finding new ways to finance the arts, from combatting threats like extremism to developing public policies that promote creativity and social development.
“Our lives are much richer for having Sarah leading Symphony Tacoma,” stated Greater Tacoma Community Foundation President & CEO Kathi Littmann. “Sarah’s vision, passion, and talents are worthy of international recognition. I know she will be a powerful ambassador for Tacoma’s arts community.”
“We are quite thrilled that Sarah was invited to participate,” said Clark D’Elia, President of Symphony Tacoma. “In working with her the past several seasons, we have come to recognize her thought leadership regarding the important role of music in our modern culture. Her participation in this event aligns well with the Symphony Tacoma Mission: Building community through music.”
CultureSummit 2017 Abu Dhabi, the world’s first truly global cultural leadership forum, will kick off in just one month, and will bring together an extraordinary group of the world’s top creative minds to discuss culture and the significant role they play in addressing the universal challenges faced in our present time.
Over the course of five days, from April 9 – 13, 2017, at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, nearly 300
participants from over 80 countries around the world, including key players involved in the fields of government, arts, philanthropy, heritage preservation, education, media, science and technology, will explore in a multidisciplinary approach a wide range of topics all focused on answering how cultural tools can be used to help address significant international challenges and seize emerging opportunities.
Symphony Tacoma, the Museum of Glass (MOG) and Hilltop Artists are collaborating with Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP) in a project culminating with the Symphony’s 2016-2017 Season Finale on May 13, 2017. In commemoration of the Centennial of the National Parks System, the multi-layered 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.
Art responds to life, and by building relationships in the community, art can serve as a catalyst for education, growth and transformation in a region. Through a process of community collaboration and working in multiple mediums, this partnership seeks to produce an inspiring experience, leaving participants sobered by the gravity of the ecological situation, but hopeful and empowered to undertake an active role in protecting our region.
This collaboration could happen nowhere else!
Published in Tacoma Weekly
Award-winning violinist Kristin Lee – a rising star in the world of classical music – will make her debut with Symphony Tacoma next week. Lee will be a featured soloist during “Classics III: Mozart & Tchaikovsky,” a program that will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, at Gig Harbor’s Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26, at Broadway Center’s Rialto Theater.
The shows will mark Lee’s fourth time collaborating with conductor and Symphony Tacoma Musical Director Sarah Ioannides in a relatively short span.
“I got two opportunities within a month to work with her,” Ioannides recalled last week, speaking by phone from home in New Haven, Conn. “We got on great. We had a lovely time and developed a fondness and respect. … She is a very intelligent, sophisticated, thoughtful artist with just unbelievably phenomenal technique and richness to her musicianship.”
Sarah Ioannides returns to the stage to lead the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) with an evening of beautiful and intimate classical music, showcasing some of Spartanburg’s finest musicians. The concert will be held on Saturday, February 4 at 7:00pm in Twichell Auditorium at Converse College.
In August of 2015, Maestro Ioannides announced that she would be stepping down from the podium, ending her 12 year tenure with SPO in the spring of 2017. For the February 4th concert, her penultimate performance with this symphony, Sarah has prepared a program specially for Spartanburg with well-known and joyous classics by Fauré, Mozart, and Beethoven. The concert will open with Gabriel Fauré’s famous Pavane, op. 50 which will feature the Spartanburg Sings choral ensemble.