There will be a fresh face behind the podium as Tacoma Symphony Orchestra kicks off its new season the evening of Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Pantages Theater. Sarah Ioannides will make her public debut as incoming music director, conducting TSO as it performs the world premier of Sean O’Boyle’s new concerto, “Portraits of Immortal Love.”
“When somebody dies, you continue loving them forever – that never goes away,” Ioannides said recently, speaking with a lilting accent that betrays her British and Australian.
Growing up in England, Sarah Ioannides was the kind of teenager who played every instrument she could find. Violin, horn and piano were the main ones. She also tried viola, saxophone and guitar.
But as much as she was intrigued by the different musical sounds, Ioannides — who’ll step onto the podium as the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s new music director on Oct. 25 — also was fascinated by psychology and what makes people tick.
“The tricky part of the puzzle (is) branching out in new directions, but never sacrificing the essentials to do it. An orchestra can change its color, but needs to retain its identity.”
Perhaps the most obvious change in the Sarah Ioannides era will be that the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra will be led by a woman — its first female musical director.
It’s not a subject Ioannides is comfortable talking about, commenting during the audition process before her hiring that gender “makes no difference” in music making.
But Ioannides, as a female conductor, is in a real minority.