Bio

Sarah Ioannides has gained recognition as one of the most inspiring and creative conductors of her generation. Now in her sixth season as Music Director of Symphony Tacoma, Sarah is active as a guest conductor internationally with many orchestras including the Tonkünstler, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Seattle Symphony (Untitled Series), Calgary Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others. She has recorded world premieres with the Royal Philharmonic and most recently with the Malmö Symphony and Nordic Chamber Orchestra for a CD of music by Marie Samuelsson released in 2019.

Described by the New York Times as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority” and as a conductor with “magic,” Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium has won praise from audience and critics internationally. Named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium,” Sarah was included as one of the leading female conductors worldwide by Norman Lebrecht’s “Woman Conductors: The Power List.” 

As an arts advocate, Ms. Ioannides is active an adjudicator, panelist, public speaker, and educator and has served both as a delegate at the World Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi and as National Endowment for the Arts Panelist for the U.S. Government. Under her leadership, both the Symphony Tacoma and the Spartanburg Philharmonic received Art Work grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to commission, collaborate and perform new works with innovative presentation strategies and community engagement.

Sarah is the founding Artistic Director of Cascade Conducting and Composing, an international masterclass held in partnership with Symphony Tacoma, and on the conducting faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music’s Young Artists Summer Program. She was formerly the Music Director of the El Paso Symphony and Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestras, and Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. As an arts advocate, Ms. Ioannides is active an adjudicator, panelist, public speaker, and educator and has served both as a delegate at the World Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi and as National Endowment for the Arts Panelist for the U.S. Government.

Sarah has directed and commissioned films for live orchestral multimedia performances including new films for Holst’s The Planets, and Steve Reich’s The Desert Music. In 2016 she produced a new multimedia art film to accompany Milhaud’s Creation du Monde, directed by Brad McCombs, using artworks selected from the Cincinnati Art Museum, international collections and her own paintings, which was shown in performance at Cincinnati’s Summermusik Festival. In a collaboration with the National Parks Association, Tacoma’s Museum of Glass and Hilltop Artists, project “Fire-Mountain” gave birth to a double premiere under her direction with music by Daniel Ott and film by Derek Klein. Passionate about engaging the community, she received three proclamations for “Sarah Ioannides’ Day” from both the County and the City of Spartanburg and the city of Tacoma for community involvement.

A zealous advocate of new music and multi-media artistic collaborations, Sarah has conducted over fifty premiers. As collaborator and assistant to composer/conductor Tan Dun she conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Flemish Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Oregon Bach Festival. She was the first conductor chosen by Tan Dun to conduct his Water Passion After St. Matthew at the Perth International Arts Festival and the Metamorphosis Festival in Athens in 2016. Sarah has led many operas and conducted at festivals worldwide, including British Youth Opera, Curtis Opera Theatre, and Spoleto Festival and she conducted the European premiere of Stephen Paulus’ The Woodlanders in Oxford. She was guest Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs, and Music Director of Oxford University’s Philharmonia and Opera.

Following studies at Oxford University and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she pursued further training as a Fulbright Scholar with Otto-Werner Mueller, earning a Diploma in conducting at The Curtis Institute of Music, and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from The Juilliard School.

Sarah is pleased to advocate the role of music and the arts, new and old, in creating equal and diverse educational opportunities for all, enriching and bringing communities together socially for events, festivals, celebrations, story telling, and remembrance.