By James Bennett, II and Max Fine
Some may argue that “impossible questions” are futile exercises — after all, what’s the point in wondering circumstances that in all likelihood will never be made reality?
That’s a fair argument, but that’s not exactly a “fun” way of moving through life and assessing those myriad things that bring you joy and happiness. Which is why we asked a handful of conductors to share with us the one piece they would choose if they could only conduct that music for the rest of their lives. Here’s what they said.
“Well, this verges on the devastating question; which one of your children would you keep if you had to choose just one? So even here I can’t do it; I’d choose Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, and I couldn’t pass up the Brahms’ Four Symphonies as my third treasure of a lifetime!” – Sarah Ioannides
By Kelly Lenihan, Showcase Magazine
Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium for Symphony Tacoma has won praise from audiences and critics internationally. The New York Times has described her as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority.”
The physicality of Ioannides’ career requires dedication and perseverance, much like an athletic endeavor. She shares her story of injury, healing and music as a lens through which others might envision succeeding in anything that requires both mental and physical discipline.
“I’ve always had a passion for running,” says Ioannides, “but…with having two knee surgeries, conquering Lyme disease, and bringing up three children—while living in three states from coast to coast—my physical strength needed recovery…an ongoing challenge with constant travel.”
By James Bennet II and Max Fine, WQXR New York Blog
There’s something magical about watching a conductor at work — how they internalize the work before them in all its component parts, in turn uniting the ensemble and bringing the music to life. It seems an almost superhuman effort. But conductors are human too, and like the rest of us, sometimes they think about what else they might have done instead of walking onto a podium with their baton.
We asked eleven of them what other career paths they might have taken. Here’s what they had to say.
“I envision myself a neuroscientist, studying the effect of classical music on brain development; how we are changed as performers, students, listeners and ultimately as members of a civil society. I believe we would show its value to humanity and society, an essential component of education, as important as Math, English and the Sciences; even its role in peace-making, and the optimal wiring of our minds. Invigorated by my work as a neuroscientist, and inspired by nature and the animal world, I would spend the weekends as an environmental scientist / conservationist who is also a pilot, free like a bird to explore the beauty of our planet.”
From timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Beethoven, to innovative works by contemporary composers, Symphony Tacoma presents a rich program line-up for its 2018-2019 season. The season includes eight concerts that run from October to May.
For the first time, the Symphony offers six classics concerts, complemented by annual holiday favorites, Sounds of the Season and Handel’s Messiah. Maestra Sarah Ioannides has carefully curated each concert to balance treasured masterpieces alongside contemporary works that are unconventional in both instrumentation and repertoire. “My planning process is a bit like a Rubik’s Cube,” says Ioannides. “I keep working the program until it feels right artistically and musically. It’s hard to put a label on that, but I’m looking for a certain kind of energy and inspiration.”
The 2018-2019 concert series highlights innovation with works by six living composers and three by women. Prominent guest artists from around the world–masters of instruments ranging from violin and piano to saxophone and tabla-will join the Symphony Tacoma orchestra on stage in the newly–renovated Pantages Theater for all but Barber & Tchaikovsky and Messiah.
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 Diane Peterson, The Press Democrat
The Santa Rosa Symphony has announced its 2018-’19 season, which will welcome new Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong for three out of the seven concert sets and bring back Conductor Emeritus Jeffrey Kahane and outgoing Music Director Bruno Ferrandis to conduct the final two concert sets.
Feb. 9-11: For this unusual “Love Letters” program, guest conductor Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Symphony Tacoma, will lead works that celebrate the love between a pair of well-known female and male composers. Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s delicate Overture in C major provides the foil for brother Felix Mendelssohn’s stirring Symphony No. 3, “Scottish.” Meanwhile, Clara Schumann’s passionate Piano Concerto, performed by Anne-Marie McDermott, is paired with husband Robert Schumann’s poetic “Manfred” Overture.
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.