Archive: News | News Articles

Symphony Tacoma to debut Ott’s “Fire-Mountain” this weekend

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.”


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How do you save Mount Rainier? Symphony Tacoma, Museum of Glass hope to do so with music

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. “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.” 


“ ‘Fire Mountain’ is calling to attention the dangers of climate change,” says Daniel Ott, the composer in the snowshoeing group, of the choral symphonic work that Symphony Tacoma commissioned him to write for the concert “Mountain and Sea.”


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Sound Observations: A fond farewell to Sarah Ioannides

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.”


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Music director, conductor Sarah Ioannides stepping down after 12 seasons

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.


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Sarah Ioannides Remembering Twelve Years as Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, 2005-2017

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.


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Symphony Tacoma director Sarah Ioannides attends World Culture Summit

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.”


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Symphony Tacoma to feature violin soloist Kristin Lee

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.”


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Maestro & Mother leaves imprint on the eastside

eastsideliving_pic Eastside Living Magazine by Constantine Ramantanin


When the 2016/2017 season concludes, the Spartanburg Philharmonic will bid adieu to its Music Director of 12 seasons, Sarah Ioannides.


Under her baton, the SPO has seen significant artistic growth and increased community engagement which is important for the future of a premier musical establishment. 


Reflecting on her tenure here, Ioannides says “Spartanburg is and always will be an important and very special part of my life – not only for me but for my family as well.” Leaving Spartanburg is bittersweet for Ioannides and her family. She and Scott Hartman, her husband of eleven years have three children, Audrey, Elsa, and Karl. The children often travel with Ioannides and in 2014 started tri-city schooling, attending school in CT, WA, and the Spartanburg Day School.


Sarah Ioannides is somewhat of a modern mom, with literally, a highflying career and what she considers a devoted parent who will go extremes for the kids’ sake. Orchestrating work, travel, schooling and parenting for her family and a helpful au pair is no small feat
but Sarah manages it with the same grace that she wields her baton.


What strikes one most about Ms. Ioannides is the sense of genuine gratitude and warmth she feels towards the Spartanburg community and the generosity of the SPO, Converse College, and the Spartanburg Day School in allowing her to share her talents with us the last twelve years. When the SPO baton passes, we may feel a sense of loss, but a sense of great pride too for the journey with Maestro Sarah.


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A Tacoma Classic has a New Name – Symphony Tacoma

a4_skv16-15175_argb-1160x773South Sound Talk


The name change is in fact part of a completely new brand presentation that includes au courant logo, messaging and color palette. The refreshed brand as a whole is intended to graphically embody the significant transformation the organization has undergone in recent seasons—particularly since the introduction of Music Director Sarah Ioannides in 2014.


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Tacoma Symphony Orchestra – now Symphony Tacoma – opens season with Eastern European showcase

vadim_gluzman20The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


The symphony will kick off the new name and new season with a Friday-night gala at Tacoma Art Museum and a Saturday concert at the Pantages, featuring violinist Vadim Gluzman and an Eastern European program connecting past and present.


“It’s an exciting time for the symphony,” said director Sarah Ioannides. “Becoming Symphony Tacoma is separating the past from the future. This is a time where we can take our vision to the next step. It’s more than just the name. It’s about the fresh thinking the symphony is doing about what we can become.”


What they can become, according to the board-agreed statements that informed the new name, logo and even color choice, is an orchestra that is deeply rooted in community while “going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate.”


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