BEETHOVEN’S EROICA AND HIS ELECTRIC UNIVERSE
Tacoma, WA— Symphony Tacoma is marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth by performing three of his works in its first two concerts of 2020, beginning with his Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” on Saturday, February 22, 2020. The orchestra will perform Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus and Fantasy for Piano, Chorus & Orchestra “Choral Fantasy” at the March 21 concert.
In addition to Beethoven’s epic “Eroica” the orchestra will feature two U. S. premieres. The first, Spheres by new composer Simon Petersson, was conducted by Music Director Sarah Ioannides in Sweden in 2018. Narrative in nature, the work sparks the listener’s imagination to tell its story without visuals, with the title only providing a hint of its subject matter.
The second U.S. premiere is Yaron Gottfried’s Electric Guitar Concerto, a beautiful classical piece featuring a non-traditional orchestral instrument. Gottfried is one of Israel’s most prominent contemporary musicians who bridges classical, contemporary and jazz music. His Electric Guitar Concerto uses presets with various styles of sounds to change the atmosphere and character of the music, presenting the electric guitar as a unique solo instrument within the classical acoustic world.
The featured soloist for this piece is guitarist Michael Nicolella. With a repertoire spanning from J.S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti to Jimi Hendrix and Elliott Carter, Nicolella is known for creative programming that blurs the lines between musical styles and disciplines. He is recognized as one of America’s most innovative classical guitar virtuosos and has extended the repertoire and audience of his instrument. A graduate of Yale University, Berklee College of Music and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, Nicolella currently lives in Seattle and is a faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts.
Frederick Delius‘ On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring will open the concert. In this symphonic poem, listeners can envision the start of a bright sunny day, with the charming exchange of a cuckoo’s call by a solo oboe with the lush sound of the violins and woodwinds in response.
Tickets ($24 to $83) are on sale through the Tacoma Arts Live box office. To order tickets, call 253-591-5894 or visit symphonytacoma.org. Beethoven’s Eroica and His Electric Universe is sponsored by MultiCare, General Plastics, One Stop Dentistry and ArtsFund.
Symphony Tacoma’s 73rd season will present eight dynamic programs – six classics and two holiday concerts –that span 300 years of captivating classical music. Featuring major works by Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin, the season will also be punctuated by three prominent works by Beethoven in recognition of his 250th birthday.
“I selected Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” (February), The Creatures of Prometheus (March), and “Choral Fantasy” (March) because these works collectively demonstrate the breadth of talent that is Beethoven,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “I think our audience will really enjoy the diversity of the pieces.”
Works by contemporary composers – including one world premiere and two U.S. premieres – will complement the classics to amplify the theme of each concert. “We programmed this season to be an exciting representation of today’s classical music genre,” says Ioannides. “There is so much new and diverse material to draw from – compositions by women, works accompanied by multimedia and works that feature artists who play non-traditional orchestral instruments. We have incorporated a touch of each of these into our season.”
The 2nd Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at Pacific Lutheran University with Maestro Sarah Ioannides is accepting auditors and participating auditors until June 1st. Anyone with a musical background and interest in learning the art of conducting is invited to apply. Auditors who are accepted to play in the Cascade Conducting Orchestra will receive a tuition discount.
On Saturday, the 22nd of June at 7:30pm, full masterclass participants will conduct the Cascade Conducting Symphony, led by musicians from Symphony Tacoma, in a final concert that includes music by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, and Rossini. The concert is open to he public and free of charge.
“Preserving one’s own talent, faith in the music, and performance integrity while navigating a successful path forward is imperative yet challenging! The goal is that great symphonic music and traditions can live on and not only be cherished by generations to come, but be a more relevant and effective platform for peace, expression, and understanding of our world.” – Sarah Ioannides.
To apply, please visit: www.cascadeconducting.com
Symphony Tacoma will conclude its 2018-2019 season on Saturday, May 11 with Ode to Joy, a program featuring arguably Beethoven’s greatest work and one of the greatest achievements in the history of Western music. The concert will take place at 7:30 pm in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.
Opening the program is In Hopes of Finding the Sun, a new work by rising-star American composer Hannah Lash that captures a contemporary woman’s perspective on the famous Friedrich Schiller 1792 poem, Ode to Joy. Commissioned by Symphony Tacoma, the piece will pay tribute to the orchestra’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
“This is my personal response to Beethoven’s Ninth, particularly the Ode to Joy,” says Lash. “It includes full chorus and orchestra, and the text is my own re-imagining of Schiller’s poem which Beethoven set. It is interesting, in approaching a piece that celebrates joy, how deeply profound-almost onerous-the task feels. As artists, we are perhaps more accustomed to responding to painful emotions or creating art that lives in an abstract realm. When approaching a piece about joy and the Divine (in the broadest human sense rather than the religious), the responsibility one feels to make a piece that can sing is truly a solemn one. It is an honor, and I am thrilled to be working with Symphony Tacoma on this project.”
Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director Sarah Ioannides and Executive Director Karina Bharne are lacing up their sneakers to run in the Tacoma City Marathon on Sunday, May 5, 2019. They are participating in the half marathon as part of their personal commitment to a healthy lifestyle as well as promoting the impact of Symphony Tacoma to the South Sound community.
“Running is a key part of my fitness regimen that helps to keep me in shape for the podium and maintain long-term overall strength,” says Ioannides. “Like music, it feeds my soul.”
Bharne similarly runs to refuel. “I run to relieve stress and clear my mind so I can focus on what’s most important in my work and home life. Running energizes me-and I take pride in setting and achieving my personal goals.”
After the two agreed to run the race, they realized what a perfect analogy it is to the work they do with Symphony Tacoma. With a mission of “building community through music,” Symphony Tacoma brings classical music to Tacoma through live performances as well as subsidizing tickets and music lessons for students who would not normally be able to afford them. “We work together every day on and offstage to spread the joy and magic of LIVE music,” says Bharne. “Just as physical activity keeps a body healthy and fit, music enriches a community.”
Participants of the 1st annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass have said that the first ever conducting masterclass with Sarah Ioannides “dramatically changed my point of view on professional conducting,” and “challenged me to stretch my artistry.”
The second annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at PLU will feature some additions to the program. It will be one day longer, beginning Monday, June 17th, with the final concert taking place on Saturday evening the 22nd. The Cascade Conducting Orchestra will be made up of 3 times as many Symphony Tacoma musicians as last year, and there will be more quality podium time for each participant (1.5 hours). The repertoire will feature a composition of Tacoma composer, and PLU faculty member Gregory Youtz. Time will also be dedicated to discussion of the business and media aspects of conducting, including applying and auditioning for conducting positions, crafting a resume, public relations, and how to balance these practical aspects of the business while maintaining one’s unique musical identity.
“…through what is undoubtedly a very challenging business, yet a highly worthwhile and valuable art form, one has to stay true to the music throughout. Preserving one’s own talent, faith to the music and performance integrity while navigating a successful path forward is imperative, so that great symphonic music can live on and not only be cherished by generations to come, but be a more relevant and effective platform for peace, expression and understanding of our world.”
Symphony Tacoma welcomes jazz saxophone virtuoso James Carter to the Pantages Theater on Saturday, April 20 as the guest soloist for Saxophone Fusion. The program presents compositions derived from diverse cultures that feature the luscious sounds of the saxophone with the rich harmonies of the orchestra.
Closing the concert is Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody (2010). The result of a decade-long collaboration between Carter and Sierra, Caribbean Rhapsody marries classical and Latin jazz influences and showcases Carter’s virtuosity. It draws on Sierra’s memories of growing up in Puerto Rico and the music he heard on jukeboxes-from the sensuous opening boléro, to the Latin riffs reminiscent of son montuno with alternating reflective and spirited music. Sierra wrote the piece as a musical reunion for Carter and his cousin, violinist Regina Carter. Sierra was “curious to see the combination of James and Regina improvising together and also on two different instruments-the sax, basically from the jazz tradition, and the violin, the quintessential orchestral instrument.” The resulting juxtaposition of saxophone and violin, viola, cello and bass is a refreshingly new hybrid of musical elements.
“When I first heard James Carter perform, a whole new set of possibilities opened up in my creative mind,” says Sierra. “I realized that his extraordinary gifts as musician and improviser would be fertile ground for the collaboration that culminated in the writing of Caribbean Rhapsody. I think that what I write is expression that comes from my soul, and a reflection of my own life experiences…This rhapsody not only recalls memories of tropical colors and sounds, but also exposes the pulse of life-the life that I knew growing up in Puerto Rico.”
By The Suburban Times
Symphony Tacoma’s March concert comprises elegant and melodic works ranging from the 18th century up to present day. Four works–one each from the contemporary, neoclassical, romantic and classical genres–make up the evening’s repertoire, which will take place on Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 pm in the Pantages Theater.
“This body of work highlights a diversity of musical styles, each inspired by something beautiful in the eyes of the composer,” says Sarah Ioannides, Symphony Tacoma Music Director. “Here in the Pacific Northwest, we can recognize Karel Butz’s reverence of Mt. Rainier’s grandeur, and the romantic in each of us can easily relate to Wagner’s declaration of love to his wife and newborn child. Perhaps not as intuitive are Stravinsky’s wish to reinvent compositions of bygone days or Mozart’s illumination of the play of tones and color between the violin and viola, but each composition is an individual gem that has captivated audiences.”
Performing the solos are Symphony Tacoma’s own Concertmaster Svend Rønning and Principal Viola Thane Lewis. “Both of these musicians are elegant, highly talented and sophisticated,” comments Ioannides. “How splendid that two of our finest musicians–who know the symphony deeply from the inside out–are providing musical inspiration and leadership as soloists in the execution of the most revered of Mozart’s concerti for more than one player!”
As in the past, the strongest applicants programmed works by more than one composer, included works by both contemporary as well as historic composers, with plans for extensive outreach opportunities and collaborations within their communities. Each ensemble demonstrated a commitment to providing a more inclusive and diverse representation of music history, reminding their audiences that there is much more to orchestral music than just the traditional “top 40” classics of Mozart, Beethoven, etc..
The spectrum of works being programmed is also the widest we’ve ever heard – from an arrangement of music by Hildegard von Bingen to new compositions by rising stars. More than one ensemble will be celebrating Clara Schumann on the anniversary of her 200th birthday, and Florence Price’s symphonies will be heard across the country! In addition, new works by Du Yun, Katherine Balch, Julia Adolphe, and many more, are scheduled for performance!