Archive: News | Reviews

Tacoma Symphony musters robust sound for Russian program, with jaw-dropping Andreas Boyde on piano

TSO 102514The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti

 

The new Tacoma Symphony pattern of a big, enthusiastic crowd, a robust orchestra and a phenomenal soloist continued at the season opening concert in the Pantages Theater last Saturday, with an all-Russian program that saw German pianist Andreas Boyde romp through Tchaikovsky’s second piano concerto and director Sarah Ioannides lead the ensemble to responsive and sonorous playing.

 

It’s a good start for Ioannides’ second year at the helm of an orchestra that’s getting its groove in both musical drive and audience popularity. To a nearly sold-out house, the TSO tackled both the rambling landscape of Prokofiev’s “Russian Overture” and the familiar one of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” with clear commitment to their new leader, who manages to be both passionate and meticulous.

 

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Lightning feet and wistful pipes are the highlight of Tacoma Symphony’s Celtic pops concert.

20140315NHSOPOPS-064Many conductors, faced with programming an orchestral pops concert, will pick a theme, throw in some favorite tunes and top the whole thing off with a crowd-pulling soloist to call it good. Not Sarah Ioannides, whose first pops concert with the Tacoma Symphony last Sunday was a tour de force not just of Celtic-inspired music, carefully thought through for variety and scope, but soloists and composers brought together by Ioannides herself, who emceed the entire afternoon complete with a mock-Irish accent. It was an example of the kind of attention to detail the new director is bringing to Tacoma.

 

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Ioannides leads the Tacoma Symphony and Chorus in a brisk, crisp “Messiah”

10857356_10152599466221849_6227546211830266816_oDespite selling 500 seats to an extra performance of “The Messiah” in Gig Harbor last Thursday night, the Tacoma Symphony still filled St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma on the Friday performance – a testament both to Handel’s beloved oratorio and to some curiosity as to how incoming music director Sarah Ioannides would treat it. Both fulfilled expectations in a thoroughly enjoyable performance that was brisk in pace and crisp in tone, with soloists that, despite their mismatch, shone musically.

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Tacoma Symphony season-opener full of innovation

TSO openerIt was Sarah Ioannides’ first concert as music director of the Tacoma Symphony, bringing with her Dame Evelyn Glennie to premiere a new percussion concerto and its composer Sean O’Boyle.

 

Part of the success was a program thoughtfully chosen to back O’Boyle’s neo-Romantic “Portraits of Immortal Love” with a rich Impressionist soundscape: Ravel, Debussy and Respighi. Part of it was Ioannides herself, with great attention to detail (ends of phrases, hidden melodies) and innovative staging (women’s chorus singing siren songs from either side of the audience, an army of brass ranged around the balcony).

 

Then came an intelligent trick from Ioannides: flowing directly on from the Debussy into Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome” to create one lush, mammoth, seven-movement Impressionist symphony.

 

And if last night’s creativity and brilliance of sound is anything to go by, Ioannides’ five-year term promises good things for the city.

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An unforgettable evening

If you did not attend the Valentine’s Day POPS Concert by the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Twichell Auditorium at Converse College, you missed a treat for the eyes and ears. The orchestra, conducted by the beautiful and talented Sarah Ioannides, performed selections from Ellington, Gilliland, Gershwin and other popular jazz favorites. Guest artist Jens Lindemann, a celebrated trumpet soloist, was amazing with his artistry. The end of an unforgettable evening was the dueling of the saxophonist from the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble with the guest trumpet soloist. Don’t miss the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s concert on May 4, the 100-year anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” – Joan Gibson, Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Sarah Ioannides takes the orchestra to new heights of skill and nuance

A nearly full crowd showed up to watch Sarah Ioannides…blaze her way through an audition concert that combined sterling precision with deep nuanced expression. Conducting mostly from memory the British native showed obvious rapport with the orchestra, who were following as one her encouraging but uncompromising direction…her precision and thought-out structure was impressive. Through-out all, Ioannides coaxed and commanded multifaceted nuance with almost balletic grace…she had the Tacoma symphony playing to the hilt, and the standing audience along with her – The News Tribune, Tacoma

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Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert engaging, innovative

The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s Saturday evening concert serves as an example of the organization’s success in the realms of newness and experimentation. Musical Director Sarah Ioannides — a champion of both contemporary composition and women in music — programmed the U.S. premiere of Andrea Tarrodi’s Lucioles (Fireflies), introduced by the composer via a projected video….The video was made at Ioannides’s behest, and accomplished a great deal.

Lucioles shimmered and fluttered, creating a glowing soundscape that was at once serene and lively. Through much of the piece, the strings played a variety of quick rhythmic figures, but the layered parts maintained a buoyant airiness.

 

(Brahms Violin Concerto) The orchestra accompanied (Michael) Ludwig graciously, filling the diverse corners of placidity and brashness as called for. Ioannides’s weighted timing in the third movement was especially elegant.

 

(Brahms’ Second Symphony)..the Philharmonic performed the symphony majestically, opening tenderly and stating the first theme with great warmth and presence, as though it had occurred to them just then. The musicians offered superb solos, and in the final movement, a thrilling recapitulation concluding with brilliant trumpet calls.
– Spartanburg Herald Journal

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“Treasures” smolders with passion

Everyone in the audience…[was] awake and on the edge of their seats. The performance got a standing ovation…In the right hands, though, this music can smolder. Saturday’s concert proved that.

 

The Mendelssohn (Midsummer Nights Dream Overture) that opened the concert also received more than its usual share of passion. Ioannides and the BPO brought an explosive excitement to the sudden fortes

 

Ioannides took a good approach to the music (Schubert Symphony No.8)

 

Once it hit its stride it was a bacchanailian riot. (Borodin Polovtsian Dances) – Buffalo News

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Fresh Energy to Canonic Jewels

Last Saturday, the preponderance of Spartanburg’s musical talent and one remarkable New Yorker collaborated to bring fresh energy to canonic jewels.

The ensemble’s excellent balance was apparent in the delicate melody that followed, giving way to contrapuntal precision. (Mozart Magic Flute Overture)

Sarah Ioannides, now in her eighth year as SPO’s music director, conducts with strength and great authority, clearly relying on a well-established relationship with her orchestra. SPO has matured commendably under her baton and it is a pleasure to hear musicians that know each other well.

In all, the evening displayed the community’s enviable musical talents and great collaborative spirit. – Leah Harrison, For Spartanburg Herald Journal

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