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Passion project: Three musical organizations bring contemporary settings of the crucifixion story to Tacoma

Water PassionDuring Lent, many choirs around the Christian world perform a “Passion” — a musical retelling of Jesus’ death by voices and instruments. It might be Bach’s massive “St. Matthew Passion,” or maybe the “St. John.”


But this month, Tacoma will see a musical event usually reserved for much bigger cities: three Passions by major contemporary composers in 10 days.


(…) new Tacoma Symphony director Sarah Ioannides — who assisted composer Tan Dun in preparing choirs, directing production and once even conducting the “Water Passion” in its first performances — was exploring the Olympic Peninsula with her family after her Tacoma debut. At Rialto Beach, she found exactly the kind of flat, resonant stones she’d always had to find for the choir to play in “Water Passion” performances, and she decided to bring the work to Tacoma.


Watch a video about the three passion projects here!


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Meet the Maestro: Sarah Ioannides

Portraits of Sara Ioannides Hartman and familyClassical Music Magazine by Toby Delller


The music director of orchestras in Spartanburg and Tacoma was born in Australia, studied in Oxford, Philadelphia, New York and St Petersburg, and is putting in dates for Europe. She talks to Toby Deller.


“For me as music director, the key really is to absorb yourself in the community and learn about it. Certainly in Tacoma and Seattle it’s a very different mentality and energy. Yet the approach is the same: to get to know what people are passionate about and make connections so that the orchestra’s not isolated.”


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