News Articles

Symphony Tacoma to Perform Beethoven’s “Eroica” Along with Two U.S. Premieres

January 20, 2020

By The Suburban Times

January 18th, 2020

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.

Eroica, which means “heroic,” is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated and ambitious works. Originally, Beethoven had intended to dedicate this work to Napoleon, one of his personal heroes who he admired for his efforts to elevate the status of the working classes. However, when Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804, Beethoven denounced the act, eventually publishing the work “to celebrate the memory of a great man.”

More substantial, dramatic and emotionally impactful than typical symphonies of its time, Eroica represents a shift from the Classical period to the Romantic era. Beethoven challenged listeners to go beyond the pleasant, light music of the status quo, elevating the symphony into a work of art in its own right. At the time of Eroica’s composition, Beethoven was just coming to grips with his hearing loss. His willingness to take risks and blaze a new path is evident in both his music and in the boldness with which he battled his deafness.

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Symphony Tacoma to Receive a $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment of the Arts

January 20, 2020

By The Suburban Times

January 16th, 2020

Symphony Tacoma has been approved for a $10,000 Art Works grant to support its Composer in the Community program. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The funding from this grant will allow Symphony Tacoma to bring award-winning composer David Ludwig to Tacoma for the program’s inaugural residency. Three of Ludwig’s works—including a world premiere—will be performed during the 2019-2020 season. In addition, Ludwig will engage the community by leading masterclasses, lectures and more, culminating in an open-to-the-public reading session in June where young composers will have their work performed by a professional orchestra.

“We are immensely grateful to the NEA for their support and recognition of this new program with Symphony Tacoma,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “The opportunity to bring renowned composer David Ludwig to work with aspiring musicians, composers and conductors in our region will undoubtedly inspire musicians, students and our symphony patrons in many ways. We are also honored to perform the world premiere of David’s composition, The Bleeding Pines that spotlights the importance of protecting our environment, as well as his revered Violin Concerto and Fanfare for Sam.”

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Symphony Tacoma welcomes pianist George Li

November 3, 2019

By Tacoma Weekly Staff

Symphony Tacoma and George Li will take on one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire in Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 pm in the Pantages Theater. The program will begin with “Fanfare for Sam,” a tribute to composer Samuel Barber written by composer in residence David Ludwig, and Brahms’ poetic “Symphony No. 3.”

At 24, Li is one of the most talented classical pianists of his generation. Music director Sarah Ioannides has performed with Li many times, first collaborating with him onstage with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela when he was just 12 years old. “I am very excited to bring George to Tacoma,” says Ioannides. “He is such an extraordinary musician – that was evident even when he was a tween! His gift for expression, his maturity, interpretation and technical ability are just astounding. The Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto with George will be an amazing and lasting experience for all.”

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Symphony Tacoma Welcomes Pianist George Li to Perform Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3

October 28, 2019

By The Suburban Times

Symphony Tacoma and George Li will take on one of the most technically-challenging piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire in Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater. The program will begin with Fanfare for Sam, a tribute to composer Samuel Barber written by Composer in Residence David Ludwig, and Brahms’ poetic Symphony No. 3.

At 24, George Li is one of the most talented classical pianists of his generation. Music Director Sarah Ioannides has performed with Li many time, first collaborating with him onstage with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela when he was just 12 years old. “I am very excited to bring George to Tacoma,” says Ioannides. “He is such an extraordinary musician—that was evident even when he was a tween! His gift for expression, his maturity, interpretation and technical ability are just astounding. The Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto with George will be an amazing and lasting experience for all.”

Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto offers an immense challenge to stamina and endurance for the soloist, with minimal moments of respite. Uncommon for a concerto in the big Romantic tradition, Rachmaninoff saw the soloist as an alert, flexible, responsive musician who knows how to blend, accompany, and listen.

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Symphony Tacoma Inaugurates 73rd Season with Romeo and Juliet

October 2, 2019

By Kaitlin Armstrong, South Sound Magazine

Symphony Tacoma will begin its 73rd season on Oct. 19th at the Pantages Theater with an original production of Romeo and Juliet.

In a performance that blends symphony and theater, the program will pair Prokofiev’s iconic ballet score with selections from the classic Shakespeare play. Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet has long been an audience favorite, both as a ballet and a symphonic production. Now, director Sarah Ioannides has reimagined the original Prokofiev score, bringing new life to an age-old story. The production will feature students from Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) in the roles of Romeo and Juliet.

This year marks Ioannides’s sixth season with Symphony Tacoma. During her tenure with the symphony, Ioannides, who has received accolades from The New York Times and graced numerous top conductor lists, has established a reputation as a formidable creative director. In previous seasons, Ioannides has also forged collaborations with groups such as the Hilltop Artists, Lincoln High School, and the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

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Symphony Tacoma Opens 73rd Season with Romeo and Juliet

September 19, 2019
Tacoma, WA — Symphony Tacoma will open its 2019-2020 season on Saturday, October 19 at the Pantages Theater with an original production of Romeo and Juliet. This dramatic program combines Prokofiev’s heart-wrenching ballet score with excerpts from Shakespeare’s epic love story enacted by students from Tacoma’s School of the Arts (SOTA). The performance also marks the beginning Sarah Ioannides’ sixth season as music director.
Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet has long been celebrated as a favorite with audiences as both a ballet score and an orchestral concert piece. Originally the movements in each suite were arranged into well-balanced sequences rather than structured narratively chronological. In this program, Ioannides reordered the suites and selected passages from Shakespeare’s play to tell the story of the famous star-crossed lovers.
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Channel 253: We Art Tacoma Podcast with Sarah Ioannides

May 21, 2019

Conductor and musical director Sarah Ioannides joins the podcast to talk about Symphony Tacoma’s May 11 program which brings together Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (including Ode to Joy) with “In Hopes of Finding the Sun,” a world premiere of a new work by composer Hannah Lash. We talk about Sarah’s journey to becoming a conductor, what it takes to commission a new work, and why Beethoven is still relevant in 2019.

Listen to the full podcast below!

Symphony Tacoma Season Finale presents Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

May 6, 2019

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.”


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Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director and Executive Director to Run Tacoma City Marathon

April 25, 2019

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.”

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IRG Health Talks Presents: Sarah Ioannides

April 12, 2019

Sarah Ioannides interviews with IRG and discusses her physical rehabilitation journey and upcoming half-marathon.

Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides to teach Cascade Conducting Masterclass at PLU

April 7, 2019

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.”
~Sarah Ioannides


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James Carter Joins Symphony Tacoma for Saxophone Fusion

April 3, 2019

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.”

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Symphony Tacoma’s ‘Rainier Sunrise’ Celebrates Inspirational Music through Time

March 11, 2019

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!”

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Symphony Tacoma a 2018 Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy Performance Grant Winner

February 21, 2019

The 2018 WPA Performance Grant cycle brought a record number of applicants, exciting and diverse concerts to consider, and many wonderful programs to anticipate throughout the years of 2019 and 2020!

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!

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Mission: Commission

January 26, 2019

From League of American Orchestras, Symphony Magazine By Janelle Gelfand


Smaller-budget orchestras are taking a chance on contemporary composers, involving their communities and appealing to the next generation of music lovers.


At the conclusion of Symphony Tacoma’s May 2017 world premiere of Daniel Ott’s Fire-Mountain, a multimedia work inspired by nearby Mount Rainier, the audience in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater sat, stunned, before erupting in applause. “The was an amazing silence, a quiet embrace of something coming from the grassroots, from the community, from the things so many care about,” says Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “There was the excitement that Symphony Tacoma has given life to something that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.” 

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The Transformational Power of Music by Sarah Ioannides

December 7, 2018

“Conducting is truly an art” I told one of my students at a recent conducting masterclass. I remember my first experimental appearance in front of the orchestra at Cranleigh, wafting my arms through the air to Elgar’s ‘Serenade for Strings’, wondering how one was supposed to connect all these notes between impulses of the beat as well as inspire from the podium. Long has my search for those answers continued, throughout my ascent to three Music Director positions in the US, as well as guest conducting across continents in a rather unpredictable “business”. My journey in pursuit of the musical dream has certainly had its wealth of valleys and peaks, but when the going was tough I turned always to my heart for direction.


Even before I knew this would be my path I was fully absorbed in every available musical opportunity. My direction only became clear when I began to trust the mentors and teachers around me. One of the most important from school days was Elizabeth Ovenden, both a Computer Science teacher and a professional violinist, who changed my attitude and directed the application of my talent. She guided me from practice room to library study, where I put in the countless hours necessary to join both the National Youth Orchestra and Oxford University as an instrumental scholar. Cranleigh gave me the leeway to follow my passion for music whilst maintaining my academics, training for the person I later became: instrumentalist, conductor and Music Director. It also enabled me to devote countless hours to the French Horn, Violin, Piano, Singing Lessons, Choir and Orchestra practice, even a term in guitar and saxophone lessons. It was a huge awakening to find that I could set what seemed like a far-fetched goal and achieve it with determination and diligence. From this point I began to allow myself to dream and to believe that I could become not just “another conductor” but the ultimate version of myself, the most powerful communicator of music that I could be.

  • Sarah Ioannides
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11 Conductors Choose Their Pieces of a Lifetime

September 27, 2018

By James Bennett, II and Max Fine

Some may argue that “impossible questions” are futile exercises — after all, what’s the point in wondering circumstances that in all likelihood will never be made reality?

That’s a fair argument, but that’s not exactly a “fun” way of moving through life and assessing those myriad things that bring you joy and happiness. Which is why we asked a handful of conductors to share with us the one piece they would choose if they could only conduct that music for the rest of their lives. Here’s what they said.

“Well, this verges on the devastating question; which one of your children would you keep if you had to choose just one? So even here I can’t do it; I’d choose Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Wagner’s The Ring Cycle, and I couldn’t pass up the Brahms’ Four Symphonies as my third treasure of a lifetime!” – Sarah Ioannides

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The Parallel Powers of Music and Athletics

September 19, 2018

By Kelly Lenihan, Showcase Magazine

Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium for Symphony Tacoma has won praise from audiences and critics internationally. The New York Times has described her as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority.” 

The physicality of Ioannides’ career requires dedication and perseverance, much like an athletic endeavor. She shares her story of injury, healing and music as a lens through which others might envision succeeding in anything that requires both mental and physical discipline. 

“I’ve always had a passion for running,” says Ioannides, “but…with having two knee surgeries, conquering Lyme disease, and bringing up three children—while living in three states from coast to coast—my physical strength needed recovery…an ongoing challenge with constant travel.” 

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Roads Not Taken: 11 Conductors Tell Us What Else They Might Have Been

September 13, 2018

By James Bennet II and Max Fine, WQXR New York Blog

There’s something magical about watching a conductor at work — how they internalize the work before them in all its component parts, in turn uniting the ensemble and bringing the music to life. It seems an almost superhuman effort. But conductors are human too, and like the rest of us, sometimes they think about what else they might have done instead of walking onto a podium with their baton.

We asked eleven of them what other career paths they might have taken. Here’s what they had to say.

“I envision myself a neuroscientist, studying the effect of classical music on brain development; how we are changed as performers, students, listeners and ultimately as members of a civil society. I believe we would show its value to humanity and society, an essential component of education, as important as Math, English and the Sciences; even its role in peace-making, and the optimal wiring of our minds. Invigorated by my work as a neuroscientist, and inspired by nature and the animal world, I would spend the weekends as an environmental scientist / conservationist who is also a pilot, free like a bird to explore the beauty of our planet.”


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Sarah Ioannides to teach First Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass

May 22, 2018

The first annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at Pacific Lutheran University will feature principle members of Symphony Tacoma leading the Cascade Conducting Orchestra in a program that will focus on score analysis, baton technique, and will offer 17 plus hours of quality podium time with the Cascade Conducting Orchestra. 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.” ~Sarah Ioannides

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May Festival conductor Kim among new wave of women on the podium

May 17, 2018

By Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati  Business Courier Contributor


It’s remarkable that women are still achieving “firsts” on the conducting podium. Many are vastly talented musicians, but it’s still an uphill battle for women to get to the top of the conducting world. 


Traditionally, leading orchestras or opera has been a male domain. Today, board members and arts leaders recognize that women conductors also can inspire orchestras and audiences. But in 2016, just 9.2 percent of American music directors – the top orchestra job — were female, according to the League of American Orchestras.


There are many others: Sarah Ioannides – the first woman on the conducting staff of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – leads Symphony Tacoma. Mei-Ann Chen is music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and conductor laureate of the Memphis Symphony. Jane Glover, an acclaimed Mozart specialist, leads Music of Baroque in Chicago. Susanna Mälkki is principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic.


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Heaven with Theatrical Flair: Symphony Tacoma Welcomes the Hip Harpist

April 19, 2018

By Chrstian Carvajal of The Weekly Volcano


Since before her first album in 1985, Henson-Conant has been broadening her repertoire to include a variety of styles from Irish traditional to highbrow heavy metal. She plays the instrument she commissioned and helped design, an 11-pound sound machine named for her: the CAMAC DHC Light Blue electric harp. The origin of that custom-built instrument is the subject of her recent TED Talk. She earned a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Crossover Album for the soundtrack to her 2006 DVD, Invention & Alchemy.


Her upcoming appearance with Symphony Tacoma falls on Earth Day, so Henson-Conant seized on that opportunity to feature songs about the earth and our place in it. She sees her own role — in this case, in front of an orchestra — as a symbolic bridge between the individual human and her planetary community. She notes the organic construction of many classical instruments, which ties their resonant personalities to the natural world and reminds us yet again of our interdependence within it.


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Journey Into the Unknown: Symphony Tacoma Presents a Trio of Titans

March 22, 2018


By Christian Carvajal of the Weekly Volcano


Symphony Tacoma will present Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 10” this Sunday alongside Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, which was written in conscious homage to Beethoven’s Ninth, and a Haydn concerto that highlights the talents of principal trumpeter Charles Butler. “This seemed just the right timing and program to feature (Butler),” said Ioannides, “who has had an incredibly wonderful career, formerly also the principal of Seattle Symphony.” Butler, who began his career with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, is the principal trumpeter for Portland Opera and a substitute for Oregon Ballet Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet.


“Everybody will take away different meaningful moments,” Ioannides says of an upcoming Tacoma rendition. “I always recommend to a listener, when you hear something for the first time, to lose any sense of expectations and … allow it to take you on a journey into the unknown. … Look for the beauty of contrast. Look for the complexity of polyphonic lines … Follow the peaks and valleys, as you would exploring any new landscape.”

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Conducting’s glass podium: Female music directors are still rare, but the Northwest has nurtured some

November 30, 2017

Melinda Bargreen for the Seattle Times

When the Seattle Symphony presents its annual “Messiah” Dec. 15-17, there will be a woman on the podium…


This is a milestone worth considering. The mere fact that female conductors are a comparative rarity around the world, at a point in history when women instrumentalists are commonplace — female orchestra musicians make up 36 percent of the Seattle Symphony — is an indication of the glacial rate of progress for women in ascending the podium.

The Australian-born Ioannides was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of several female conductors cracking the “glass podium” and was termed part of “a new wave of female conductors” by The New York Times.


This busy 45-year-old conductor has divided her time among directorships of Symphony Tacoma and the Spartanburg (North Carolina) Philharmonic, plus the family’s East Coast base (her husband, trombonist Scott Hartman, teaches at Yale University). With a 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old twins, and regular guest-conducting trips to Europe, life has been hectic.

Ioannides observes that there is “the opportunity now for women to make a lot of progress — even though we still make up only about 7 or 8 percent of orchestral-music directors. There needs to be more. And are we just token females, or are we given the same opportunities and the same pay?”


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Symphony conductor loves Tacoma so much she’s staying — long term

June 19, 2017

By Jared Brown, The News Tribune


Symphony Tacoma’s dynamo of a music director Sarah Ioannides is putting down roots in the City of Destiny. The symphony’s board is extending her five-year contract through the next seven seasons, and the East Coast-based road warrior told The News Tribune she will be making Tacoma her “primary base.” “Being here (in Tacoma) is a complete pleasure,” she said Friday as she prepared for a symphony performance Saturday at the Festival of Sail.


“We are delighted to announce the extension of Maestra Ioannides’ contract,” Board President Clark D’Elia said in a Symphony Tacoma news release. “In just three seasons, the changes she has implemented — both artistic and programmatic — have been remarkable. She has wholeheartedly embraced and been embraced by the community, building the orchestra’s artistic capacity, forging collaborative relationships and bringing a new caliber of guest artists to the concert stage. The board is extremely pleased with the results, and we look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership for years to come.”

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Symphony Tacoma to debut Ott’s “Fire-Mountain” this weekend

May 13, 2017

The Tacoma Weekly


This weekend, Symphony Tacoma hopes to raise awareness of global climate change. Its new program “Classics V: Mountain and Sea” – to be presented 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Pantages Theater – will include performances of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” from Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” and Claude Debussy’s “La Mer.”


It will also include the world premier of a new piece called “Fire-Mountain” by Daniel Ott, a New York-based composer and university professor (The Juilliard School, Fordham University) with strong ties to the area.
“He’s got a really thoughtful, unique and a very, very interesting, fascinating style of composition. Symphony Tacoma Musical Director Sarah Ioannides said. “The point of this piece is to bring awareness to environmental changes that our planet is enduring at this time and to really bring thought and reverence to the natural beauty of places like Mount Rainier.”


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How do you save Mount Rainier? Symphony Tacoma, Museum of Glass hope to do so with music

May 12, 2017

Rosemary Ponnekanti for the Tacoma News Tribune


Around 38 orchestra students from Lincoln High School — most of whom had never been up Mount Rainier — were joined by a climatologist, a composer, a conductor, park rangers and a symphony violinist, who is their orchestra teacher. The goal? To discover how classical music can help save our environment in the form of a brand-new piece premiering Saturday with Symphony Tacoma!


“The goal is to express the challenges of global warming and what needs to be done,” she says. “If there were a mass movement (in music) to express our feelings on this, more people would become aware that it’s an important subject.” 


“ ‘Fire Mountain’ is calling to attention the dangers of climate change,” says Daniel Ott, the composer in the snowshoeing group, of the choral symphonic work that Symphony Tacoma commissioned him to write for the concert “Mountain and Sea.”


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Sound Observations: A fond farewell to Sarah Ioannides

April 27, 2017

By Dan Armonaitis


This weekend marks the end of an era for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and it’s got me feeling a little nostalgic.


Sarah Ioannides, who will perform her final concert as music director and conductor of the SPO Saturday night at Twichell Auditorium, has been a joy to cover these last few years and I’ll miss chatting with her on a somewhat regular basis.


One of the cool things about Ioannides’ 12-year tenure as SPO music director is the tremendous amount of internationally-renowned classical musicians she’s been able to bring to Spartanburg. I had the opportunity to speak with many of them and have vivid memories of some of those conversations.


But perhaps the best words about Ioannides came from Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann, who described her as “a fantastic conductor — very personable both with the musicians and the audience.”


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Music director, conductor Sarah Ioannides stepping down after 12 seasons

April 25, 2017

By Dan Armonaitis for Spartanburg Magazine


In her final season with the SPO, Ioannides, who was born in Australia and raised in the U.K., has been honored twice with proclamations recognizing her achievements in Spartanburg. The city named Oct. 15, 2016, (the night of the orchestra’s season-opening concert) Sarah Ioannides Day and the county did the same at the most recent “Classics Series” concert on Feb. 4.
“Music is about recognizing the beauty, and sometimes it’s about recognizing the sadness,” Ioannides said. “It’s about being able to reflect on humanity, on our society, on nature, (and) on the world. That’s the greater message that music is able to give. It’s able to reflect on life in a way that no other art can, and it’s so powerful.”

“She raised the bar for musicianship in our orchestra and that legacy will continue,” Dunleavy said. “I’m excited for her to move on to a bigger symphony, which she already has with Tacoma, and I’m sure she’s got plans to do some other things as well. I think her future is limitless .”

But no matter where the future takes her, Ioannides promises that Spartanburg will remain close to her heart.


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Sarah Ioannides Remembering Twelve Years as Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, 2005-2017

April 23, 2017

Steve Wong for Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra


During her tenure with the orchestra, Sarah conducted over 75 concerts, offering Spartanburg residents an opportunity to hear dozens of world-class guest artists and over a hundred classical masterworks. At the same time, her work with contemporary composers has expanded the repertoire for the symphony, developing the orchestral canon for future generations.


Guest composers include internationally recognized artists Dario Marianelli, Kati Agócs, and Sean O’Boyle. In 2011, the SPO gave the premiere performance of Falling Man by Kenneth Fuchs – a piece that went on to receive national acclaim and was presented by The Juilliard School and Steinway & Sons at the “National September 11 Memorial & Museum” in 2016.

Sarah’s inventive approach struck upon a formula that not only local concertgoers found engaging, but it placed Spartanburg on the world’s music map as a community that is grounded, innovative, and progressive.

Her signature style of presenting well-known masterpieces alongside new works of classical music helped the SPO to develop an impressive, distinct sound, emerging as one of the most highly esteemed orchestras in the region.


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Symphony Tacoma director Sarah Ioannides attends World Culture Summit

April 12, 2017

Tacoma News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


The first World Culture Summit is taking place this week in Abu Dhabi, and among the 300
participants from 80 countries is Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma.
Ioannides is the only female conductor of a professional orchestra in the United States invited to the summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the summit is bringing diverse cultural leaders together to brainstorm how to solve world challenges through the arts.


“I am finding the summit extremely positive and highly engaging and stimulating thus far,”
said Ioannides via email this week. “There are many powerful and unique stories of artists and cultures being shared, healthy discussions about the state of the arts, and today we began to formulate the questions we want to ask and to resolve as a group … to tackle key issues our world now faces.”


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Symphony Tacoma to feature violin soloist Kristin Lee

February 17, 2017

Published in Tacoma Weekly


Award-winning violinist Kristin Lee – a rising star in the world of classical music – will make her debut with Symphony Tacoma next week. Lee will be a featured soloist during “Classics III: Mozart & Tchaikovsky,” a program that will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, at Gig Harbor’s Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26, at Broadway Center’s Rialto Theater.


The shows will mark Lee’s fourth time collaborating with conductor and Symphony Tacoma Musical Director Sarah Ioannides in a relatively short span.


“I got two opportunities within a month to work with her,” Ioannides recalled last week, speaking by phone from home in New Haven, Conn. “We got on great. We had a lovely time and developed a fondness and respect. … She is a very intelligent, sophisticated, thoughtful artist with just unbelievably phenomenal technique and richness to her musicianship.”


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Maestro & Mother leaves imprint on the eastside

December 14, 2016

eastsideliving_pic Eastside Living Magazine by Constantine Ramantanin


When the 2016/2017 season concludes, the Spartanburg Philharmonic will bid adieu to its Music Director of 12 seasons, Sarah Ioannides.


Under her baton, the SPO has seen significant artistic growth and increased community engagement which is important for the future of a premier musical establishment. 


Reflecting on her tenure here, Ioannides says “Spartanburg is and always will be an important and very special part of my life – not only for me but for my family as well.” Leaving Spartanburg is bittersweet for Ioannides and her family. She and Scott Hartman, her husband of eleven years have three children, Audrey, Elsa, and Karl. The children often travel with Ioannides and in 2014 started tri-city schooling, attending school in CT, WA, and the Spartanburg Day School.


Sarah Ioannides is somewhat of a modern mom, with literally, a highflying career and what she considers a devoted parent who will go extremes for the kids’ sake. Orchestrating work, travel, schooling and parenting for her family and a helpful au pair is no small feat
but Sarah manages it with the same grace that she wields her baton.


What strikes one most about Ms. Ioannides is the sense of genuine gratitude and warmth she feels towards the Spartanburg community and the generosity of the SPO, Converse College, and the Spartanburg Day School in allowing her to share her talents with us the last twelve years. When the SPO baton passes, we may feel a sense of loss, but a sense of great pride too for the journey with Maestro Sarah.


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A Tacoma Classic has a New Name – Symphony Tacoma

November 9, 2016

a4_skv16-15175_argb-1160x773South Sound Talk


The name change is in fact part of a completely new brand presentation that includes au courant logo, messaging and color palette. The refreshed brand as a whole is intended to graphically embody the significant transformation the organization has undergone in recent seasons—particularly since the introduction of Music Director Sarah Ioannides in 2014.


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Tacoma Symphony Orchestra – now Symphony Tacoma – opens season with Eastern European showcase

October 20, 2016

vadim_gluzman20The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


The symphony will kick off the new name and new season with a Friday-night gala at Tacoma Art Museum and a Saturday concert at the Pantages, featuring violinist Vadim Gluzman and an Eastern European program connecting past and present.


“It’s an exciting time for the symphony,” said director Sarah Ioannides. “Becoming Symphony Tacoma is separating the past from the future. This is a time where we can take our vision to the next step. It’s more than just the name. It’s about the fresh thinking the symphony is doing about what we can become.”


What they can become, according to the board-agreed statements that informed the new name, logo and even color choice, is an orchestra that is deeply rooted in community while “going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate.”


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Ioannides’s final Spartanburg Philharmonic season, paying homage to U.S. connections

October 15, 2016

a4_skv16-15173_argb-1160x773Spartanburg Herald Journal Article by Leena Dbouk


Featured by the League of American Orchestras in “The Hub”


On Saturday, “Sarah Ioannides will kick off her final season with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra by using music she used in the first symphony she ever conducted,” writes Leena Dbouk in Thursday’s (10/13) Spartanburg Herald-Journal (S.C.)….


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Sierra: Wonderful and Electrifying

August 24, 2016

Cincy LogoSubito Music


“It began about 15 months ago with a wonderful performance I heard featuring James Carter andRoberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody at the Oregon Symphony!” On the eve of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s August 27 world premiere of Caribbean Rhapsody’s new chamber orchestra version, conductor Sarah Ioannides shares some thoughts about Sierra’s popular work.


The performance features internationally known saxophonist James Carter, who in 2002, who premiered the work its original chamber ensemble version with the Detroit Symphony.  Ioannides conducts this chamber orchestra premiere as part of the ensemble’s “SummerMusik” Festival.


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CCO enlists NKU artist for multimedia ‘Creation’

August 24, 2016

African StatuesCincinnati Enquirer by Janelle Gelfand


On Saturday, the Chamber Orchestra presents Darius Milhaud’s jazzy “La Création du Monde” (“The Creation of the World”), part of a program conducted and curated by Sarah Ioannides, a candidate for music director.


It is just one element of Ioannides’ ambitious program, which includes the world premiere of “Caribbean Rhapsody,” performed by saxophonist James Carter. Carter will also play the prominent saxophone part in Milhaud’s “Creation of the World.”


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Chamber Orchestra: Meet the Candidates

August 6, 2016

Sarah Ioannides - CCO

Cincinnati Enquirer by Janelle Gelfand


The Enquirer asked three questions of each of the five candidates who will be auditioning for the job of music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra….


What is one thing that would you like to see in the Chamber Orchestra’s future if you are named music director?


Sarah Ioannides: The greatest of success for the CCO as a result of Artistic Vibrancy! I wish for Cincinnati to come behind and support an organization that has even more potential to thrive through exciting projects, new creations, great synergy in partnerships, new energy and excitement, all of which could lead to new funding, recognition and most of all opportunities for the people of Cincinnati and its summer visitors to experience something world-class, unique, and draw people to the region because of its renown.


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Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra music director competition heats up

July 28, 2016

Movers and MakersMovers & Makers by Thom Mariner


The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra is auditioning candidates for the position of music director during its second annual Summermusik. Four conductors will lead the CCO and curate a chamber music program during the festival, Aug. 13-Sept. 1. 


Movers & Makers presented a series of questions to learn about each candidate and how they plan to approach this new position, if selected. These are not part of the formal audition process, but are intended to give candidates a chance to share their perspective on this opportunity with the public.


What is your overall programming philosophy?


Ioannides) My goal is to create a platform from which the listener can gain maximum satisfaction, understanding and appreciation of the music. I look to make multiple connections to a concept or theme to increase their receptivity and for elements to produce the greatest artistic vibrancy. Diversity, variety of color and styles help pair the choices for the most appealing and interesting menu that satisfy as many different tastes as possible. I consider the different audiences, their responses, the set-up, positioning of the works, extra-musical possibilities, and all that is important to the best possible effect on the audience.


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Tacoma Symphony wins $10.000 grant

June 6, 2016

Portraits of Sara Ioannides Hartman and family Bulletin Board by Tacoma Weekly


This month, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service announced $1,067,500 in support of 50 grants in 27 states, including an award of $10,000 to Tacoma Symphony to support the commission of a new symphonic poem written in homage to Mount Rainier by Puyallup native Daniel Ott.


“As part of the NEA’s 50th anniversary, this year we are celebrating the magnificence of America’s national cultural treasures through art,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The Imagine Your Parks grant program unites our mission with the National Park Service by connecting art projects with the natural, historic and cultural settings of the National Park System and will inspire a new generation to discover these special places and experience our great heritage.”


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Woman conductors: the power list

May 29, 2016

Nielsen Still Fav_1 Slipped Disc by Norman Lebrecht


It’s 2016 and we no longer get excited about a music director turning out to be non-male. Every few months, it seems, another young woman conductor rises to a position of authority.


Yet, when we survey the current field, we find no more than half a dozen women near the top of the profession and barely 20 in contention for real leadership.


It’s 2016. Way to go.


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A day in the constant life of Sarah Ioannides

May 29, 2016

daylife_ioannides_A1_leadTacoma News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


Anyone who thinks they have a busy life should follow Sarah Ioannides around for a day.


The Tacoma Symphony’s music director is in town this month to finish up her second season with the orchestra, conducting the season finale concert Saturday in the Pantages and a children’s concert.


But there’s much more to being a professional conductor than just waving the baton on a Saturday night. Shuffling her family among three cities, juggling multiple orchestras and somehow fitting in the odd cup of tea, Ioannides has the organizational powers of a general, and driving ambition and musical talent.


The News Tribune followed the 44-year-old British conductor around Tacoma earlier this week, and discovered that being Sarah Ioannides is a very complicated thing…


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Tacoma Symphony plays Stravinsky’s famous ‘Rite of Spring’ for the first time

May 6, 2016

Rite of Spring TSOTacoma News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


As music director Sarah Ioannides walked into the first rehearsal for Saturday night’s Tacoma Symphony concert, she had just four rehearsals ahead of her to prepare the orchestra for a piece that’s still as shocking as it was when it premiered in 1913, but which the symphony as a group has never, apparently, played: Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”


Yet, while the Paris premiere caused ballerina drama and an audience riot, “The Rite of Spring” is now part of the standard repertoire for good reason. Driving, passionate and earthy, it encapsulates a musical time period when all the rules were being broken and that connection to our primal selves that’s just below the surface of civilization.


Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez,” on the other hand, is possibly the best-known guitar concerto ever, used for countless films and commercials, and sways between lyrical Spanish melodies and dramatic orchestral moments.


(Soloist Pepe) Romero, honored by kings, heads of state and major institutions, is part of the world’s leading guitar-playing family, and has more than 60 recordings to his credit.


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Tacoma Youth Symphony plays alongside Tacoma Symphony Orchestra in a free Pantages concert

April 8, 2016

Tacoma Youth SymphonyThe News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and Tacoma Youth Symphony will make history Sunday as well as music. In a Pantages Theater concert, the professional and youth orchestras will play Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” side by side on the stage — their first time ever. The concert, which also includes Tchaikovsky and a marimba concerto by the youth orchestra, is free as a thank-you to the community.


For the young musicians, who get a two-hour rehearsal alongside their professional colleagues under director Sarah Ioannides, it’s an invaluable learning experience.


“I really believe in supporting and cultivating our young musicians,” said Ioannides. “It will be a great experience for the audience, and for both the young and professional musicians.”


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

March 17, 2016

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

March 4, 2016

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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Au Naturel – A trio of pastoral classics for Tacoma Symphony Sunday

February 25, 2016

Sarah Ioannides - CCOWeeky Volcano by Christian Carvajal


The name of French composer Claude-Achille Debussy may not rattle off your tongue, but you do know his work. “Clair de Lune,” from Suite Bergamasque, boasts one of the most beautiful and adored melodies in Western history. Almost as well-known is “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” a 10-minute symphonic poem that appears in such diverse entertainments as FlashdanceRen & Stimpy, and True Blood.


The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra conductor Sarah Ioannides (pronounced “Ee-oh-NEED-eez”) offers this classic, along with the equally familiar “Symphony No. 6” or “Pastoral Symphony” by Ludwig van Beethoven, Feb. 28. She’s also thrown in a bridging piece, “Harp Concerto in G Minor” by Elias Parish Alvars, featuring Valerie Mussolini-Gordon, principal harpist for the Seattle Symphony.


“The common theme in this program,” Ioannides explained, “is (the composer’s) connection to nature … They’re nature lovers. Being out in the countryside, or, for Debussy, being by the sea, was important to them. To them, nature is the world.”


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Sarah Ioannides – Music Director and Conductor

February 25, 2016

SPO MagazineHearHere Magazine by Louise Fagan


When Maestra Sarah Ioannides takes to the stage on concert night, one might be forgiven for assuming her seemingly effortless command of the music stems only from her enviable wealth of natural talent. But her journey from her home to Twitchell Auditorium – or as guest conductor in far off countries like Dominican Republic, Austria and Scandinavia – is equal parts study, rehearsal and life management. To not acknowledge the ‘business’ side of managing an international career is akin to admiring the sporting style of a Harley Davidson motorcycle without a nod to its high performance engine.


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Q&A Sarah Ioannides

February 23, 2016

Tulsa Magazine
Intermission Magazine by Caroline Johnson

What are your expectations as you return to the Tulsa Stage?


I am certainly excited to be returning to conduct the Tulsa Symphony. I really enjoyed my last cisit and so working with the same musicians will be a real pleasure! It is a wonderful group and there is a real sense of joy in their music-making. I am looking forward to that and to this program in particular, which is a feast of great tradition in classical music.


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Tacoma Symphony, north of the Narrows

February 23, 2016

TSO 102514Kitsap Sun by Michael C. Moore


TACOMA — Sarah Ioannides isn’t just building bridges as the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s music director. She’s also crossing them.


Ioannides begins her second season on the TSO’s podium with a program of spring-inspired music that includes Beethoven’s “Pastorale” symphony (No. 6), and a road trip north of the Tacoma Narrows. The first of a season-opening brace of concerts, Feb. 27, will be at Gig Harbor’s Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, with the orchestra’s home opener set for the next night in the Rialto Theater in Tacoma.


Though TSO has been to Chapel Hill on two previous occasions to contribute to holiday-season performances of “The Messiah,” this is the first full-orchestra march across the Narrows Bridge.


“There seemed to be a keen classical music audience there,” said the Australian-born, London-raised Ioannides, who’s in the second year of a five-year pact to lead TSO.


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Interview: Sarah Ioannides, the conductor

February 23, 2016

South Sound InterviewSouth Sound Magazine by Joanna Kresge


We asked Ioannides to put down her baton and tell us a little about her life.


Q: What can we look forward to at the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra? 


A: We are doing “Water Passion After St. Matthew.” Water Passion is literally a piece using water as an instrument. We are also doing a U.S. premier of Django Reinhardt’s music … (with) Grammy award winners (and) local talent. We are going to expand our classics programs to Gig Harbor.


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World-renowned trumpeter to join SPO for Valentine’s concert Saturday

February 23, 2016

LindemannThe Herald Journal by Dan Armonaitis

The last time world-renowned trumpeter Jens Lindemann performed as a guest soloist with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Valentine’s Day pops concert ended in spectacular fashion.

During the grand finale performance of the jazz standard, “A Night in Tunisia,” Lindemann and Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble saxophonist/director Tom Wright engaged in a friendly, improvised duel that concluded with Lindemann playing “Taps” as he lay defeated on stage.

The concert three years ago was such a success that the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra is bringing Lindemann back for another Valentine’s pops concert, which will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday at Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium.

“We’re bringing this concert back by popular demand,” said SPO music director/conductor Sarah Ioannides. “Everybody had such a good time that last time, and everybody was asking, ‘When can we have Jens back?’


“We’ve basically got a similar concert, but it’s not identical. There are lots of different numbers.”


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Tacoma Symphony kicks off season with Russian energy

September 30, 2015

Boyde1The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


After last year’s season record-breaking ticket sales, the Tacoma Symphony will kick off its 2015-16 season at the Pantages Theater on Saturday with a crowd-pleasing program of Russian music, featuring pianist Andreas Boyde in Tchaikovsky’s rarely played second concerto. The German soloist will also perform Mussorgsky’s original piano version of “Pictures at an Exhibition” on Friday (Oct. 2) at the orchestra’s fundraising gala at Tacoma Art Museum.


“It’s a big, exciting program,” said director Sarah Ioannides, who just finished her first season leading the orchestra, which helped spur last year’s 20 percent jump in ticket sales and donors. “I heard Andreas play Tchaikovsky’s Concerto no. 2 when he was recording it in Freiburg. He has an amazing technique, all muscle. He’s a powerhouse. ‘Pictures’ is played a lot, for good reason, and I know he plays (the piano original), so I concocted the idea of him playing it at Tacoma Art Museum.”


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SPO Conductor Sarah Ioannides resigning at the end of 2016-17 season

August 14, 2015

Sarah_conducting-armraisedSarah Ioannides, who has served as music director and conductor of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005, is stepping down from her post at the end of the 2016-17 season.


In a resignation letter addressed to the orchestra, Ioannides wrote that the decision is “purely a personal one and is by no means a result of an event or internal conflict.”


At the time she concludes her tenure, Ioannides will have been at the helm of the SPO for 12 seasons. Since her arrival, she has led the orchestra through a period of significant artistic growth and increased community engagement.


“Spartanburg has been such an important part of my life — not only for me but also my family,” Ioannides said by phone Thursday afternoon. “All of the friendships I’ve made in Spartanburg that have really enriched my time with the orchestra won’t ever go away.

“The imprint of those relationships will last forever, and I look forward to remaining supportive beyond my tenure and available to provide whatever support I can for the organization. The future of the orchestra is so important to me.”


“Sarah’s a real talent who has a lot of room left to grow, and she’s got a lot of drive and ambition, and that’s kind of the reason she’s moving on,” SPO board president Ray Dunleavy said. “She’s leaving us in excellent shape. The challenge for us is to be able to find that next rising star who wants to come to a community like Spartanburg and move us to the next level.”


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5 finalists tapped for Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s top post

August 14, 2015

Sarah Ioannides - CCOOne of five conductors could be the fifth music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.


The Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra has selected five finalists to audition to be the next leader of the 32-member ensemble. They are: Donato Cabrera, Sarah Ioannides, Kelly Kuo, Daniel Meyer, and Eckart Preu.


The finalists were winnowed from a field of 200 applicants from three continents during a six-month review, said search committee chair and board vice president Wes Needham.


Each candidate will conduct an audition concert, and the audience will be invited to provide feedback on his or her performance. The first candidate will be the orchestra’s interim music director, Kuo, who will audition on Sept. 3 as part of this season’s Summermusik festival. The other four candidates will each have an audition concert during Summermusik 2016.


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Sarah Ioannides reflects on first 10 years as conductor of Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra

June 14, 2015

By Dan Armonaitis, Spartanburg Magazine


As Sarah Ioannides reflected recently on her first 10 years as music director and conductor of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, she spoke in terms sure to bring joy to her many admirers in the community. “We’re still cultivating our orchestra. There’s still future growth,” she said. “I have visions and dreams for the orchestra that we haven’t achieved yet.”


In other words, Ioannides intends to continue building on the successes she has had with the orchestra over the past decade. She and her family have made Spartanburg a major part of their lives, and she aims on keeping it that way.


But their lives are anything but ordinary. In a sense, they’re nomads, traveling from one place to another on a frequent basis, albeit, in their case, doing so with an absolute purpose. In addition to Spartanburg, Ioannides and her family have residences in Connecticut, where her husband, professional jazz trombonist Scott Hartman, teaches music at Yale University, and in Tacoma, Wash., where Ioannides began serving as music director and conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra last year.


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Celebrate Memorial Day with Spartanburg Philharmonic, fireworks

May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Concert 2014The festivities of Memorial Day mark the unofficial start of summer.


And for people in the South, songs, hot dogs and fireworks are the quintessential way to celebrate the holiday.


The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra will give locals the opportunity to celebrate the patriotic holiday with its second annual Memorial Day Pops in the Park.


“This concert is a way that the SPO can give back to the community and (a way) to honor all of our military veterans,” said Kathryn Boucher, executive director for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra.


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Tacoma’s new conductor is also a mother of three

May 7, 2015

Conductor and MomTacoma, Wash. — Can exposure to classical music help a child do better in school? One Tacoma mom says “Absolutely! “And she should know. She is also the conductor and music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra.


Called a conductor of “unquestionable strength and authority” by no less than The New York Times, Sarah Ioannides has brought glamour to Grit City and a passion for classical music that’s infectious.

“Come to concert hall and experience getting really engaged in a piece of music and what’s happening on stage because it’s not just listening,” she says. “It’s watching.”


On the podium she may be the maestra but on the playground she is Mommy. Ioannides is raising three small music lovers who all come to concerts and who are all learning to play instruments.


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Tacoma Symphony Orchestra returns to roots as new director leads University of Puget Sound Orchestra

April 23, 2015

sarah_action2It doesn’t feel like a historical moment. The University of Puget Sound orchestra is at rehearsal number 121 of the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. As the strings come in for the unison, the horns are struggling with clef changes, and the cymbalist looks a little uncertain of where he is. The brass don’t quite make their triumphant entry, and the conductor stops them.

“You’ve got to get into the cycle of before your entrance to breathe in time,” the conductor says patiently, voice stuffy with a thick cold and 18 hours at an airport the night before. It’s Sarah Ioannides, new music director of the Tacoma Symphony, who’s rehearsing the university’s orchestra for their free concert Friday (April 24) — and making a little Tacoma history at the same time as the first TSO conductor to unite the two institutions since Edward Seferian began the orchestra back in 1959.

“This is an opportunity to make Sarah’s first year in Tacoma special,” said Keith Ward, chairman of the university’s Music Department, as Ioannides moved on to the third movement, pulling the second violins into their difficult opening with encouraging warmth. “She’s coming back to the roots of where the TSO began.”

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Students at Tacoma Symphony get to play along

April 15, 2015

IMG_0018An orchestra doesn’t often get to play Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” theme with the entire audience joining in.

Tacoma Symphony’s annual Simply Symphonic schools concerts came with a big difference this year — an interactive program called Link Up, organized by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

The program was brought to the orchestra by its new music director, Sarah Ioannides, who conducted her enormous ensemble with obvious delight.

“The more the audience participates, the more it works,” Ioannides said backstage after the second of Tuesday’s two concerts.It’s designed to be educational as much as entertaining,” Ioannides said. “It gets students to understand how melody gets passed around through the orchestra, and simplifies it enough that they can grasp easily how composition takes place.

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Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s season finale will be mix of visual, audial artistry

April 10, 2015

cadimThe 2014-15 Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s season has been one of the most exciting since Sarah Ioannides took over as music director and conductor 10 years ago.

The concert will be a mix of visual and audial artistry featuring internationally acclaimed solo violinist Vadim Gluzman, who will perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D while painter Julyan Davis simultaneously paints on stage.

Ioannides chose pieces by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Edvard Grieg and Modest Mussorgsky, which she found fit marvelously together, and she built the program to imitate or celebrate life.

“The program builds in grandeur toward the end and it represents, to me, as a whole, the celebration of life,” Ioannides said, “from a wedding day to a remarkable violin, violinist and creator (Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto) and finally to art and its connection to music in the ‘Pictures at an Exhibition.'”

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TSO’s Sarah Ioannides Conducts the UPS Symphony Orchestra, Apr. 24

April 2, 2015

10403191_746257682062452_6769864302773477406_nTACOMA, Wash. – Sarah Ioannides, the new music director at Tacoma Symphony Orchestra (TSO), will raise her baton to lead the University of Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra at a free April 24 concert.

Ioannides will be guest conductor at the place where the TSO had its start: the University of Puget Sound campus, where the orchestra grew under the leadership of Edward Seferian, professor of music and “Father of the TSO.” This is believed to be the first time a TSO music director has returned to the campus to conduct the college’s own student orchestra.

“We know Sarah’s deep connection to and profound belief in music education, and we celebrate the opportunity to bring her back to the roots of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra during her first year,” he said.

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Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra hosting annual family concert

March 27, 2015

instrumentalistsSpring has finally arrived in the Upstate and, with the blooming of the flowers, comes the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s annual Family Concert.

The jovial familial affair, this year titled “Narrated Musical Stories,” is aimed at introducing children to the wonders of classical music and coincidentally falls on the same week as SPO’s LinkUp concert program.

“Part of our mission is to educate,” SPO music director and conductor Sarah Ioannides said. “And so, with these fun family programs, we can do so with enjoyment and in an entertaining way with great music and fun events surrounding the concert.

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Tacoma Symphony paints a picture of Ireland

March 21, 2015

irishSarah Ioannides has already pulled some innovative ideas out of the classical box in her first year as director of the Tacoma Symphony: a world premiere percussion concerto, international soloists, and a pianist able to improvise a Chopin-esque prelude based on the audience’s choice of theme.

This Sunday, she has another one: a concerto for tap dancer and orchestra. Along with “Lord of the Rings” singer Kaitlyn Lusk and piper Andrew Thomson, it’s part of a St. Patrick’s Day-themed concert in the Pantages that celebrates Irish music from classical to folk — music that Ioannides, with her British upbringing, loves

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Parent Map Interview- Someone You Should Know: Sarah Ioannides

March 10, 2015


Sarah Ioannides, the celebrated new music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra (TSO), has won accolade after accolade for her conducting talent and innovation in a field still dominated by men.

Her inaugural season with TSO, meanwhile, is selling out concerts and earning rave reviews. Ioannides, who was born in Canberra, Australia, is also music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra in South Carolina. She is mother to three young children and is married to Yale professor of trombone Scott Hartman.

“Being exposed to music and live music and performance is a whole other world that can be so enriching and that can show [kids] the greater world out there. Set aside some time and resources and savings for that. We are such a world obsessed by things, but I think what we do is more important than what we’ve got.”

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Gender Gap on the Podium- Featured on The Hub from the League of American Orchestras

February 5, 2015

SPO 2014-321“They’re the maestros. From Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta to Gustavo Dudamel, symphony orchestra conductors have been classical music’s most visible figures–commanding, dramatic, elegant, and almost always male. Except at the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, where Maestra Sarah Ioannides has been appointed principal conductor and music director. Even in 2015 it’s a noteworthy event. Australian-born, British-educated Ioannides is also the music director of the Spartanburg (NC) Symphony and a past music director of the El Paso Symphony. She opened the 2014-15 Tacoma season with sell-outs.”

Watch here on KCTS Television (Seattle)

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Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra fundraiser – a tribute to longtime music director

January 29, 2015

serenade for sarahIoannides said she is honored that the organization would set aside an evening in recognition of her 10 years as its music director.

“I think the orchestra has grown immensely, our audience has grown and our position in the community has grown.”

“The phrase in England is ‘tickled pink.’ I’m really excited,” said Ioannides, who grew up in the United Kingdom. “Of course, it’s really in recognition of the orchestra. This is 10 years of our work together, and it’s been a very special journey.

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“Fashion Statements”- Sarah Ioannides featured in Symphony Magazine

January 16, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 1.45.34 PM

For Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic in South Carolina and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra in Washington, practical considerations come first. “I am a busy person. I am a mother of three children, and I have two orchestras. I have limited time to shop, to decide what to wear, to get my clothes pressed, picked up from venue to venue.

Ioannides also says she enjoys when the musicians change up their attire. “I like it when the orchestra has a sense of style as well. A few times I have experimented with the orchestra’s clothing, and it really seemed to change the atmosphere in the audience.

It’s an interesting topic. First of all, you’ve got an orchestra dressed in essentially late-18th- or early-19th-century costume. On the other hand, that’s a male costume: tailcoats. It’s not a woman’s costume, and you have a lot of women in orchestras. So that opens up a multitude of possibilities.”

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The Ioannides Era of Tacoma Symphony Begins This Weekend with “Immortal Love”

October 24, 2014

TSO_1There 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.

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Conducting a new score: Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s incoming director Sarah Ioannides

October 17, 2014

1kin1Y.AuSt.5Growing 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.”

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Tacoma in forefront with its first female conductor

October 17, 2014

sarah4Perhaps 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.

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Spartanburg’s World Class Maestro

August 29, 2014

Sarah_conducting-armraised“In the end,” Ioannides said, “what makes my work all worthwhile is having an audience that really feels that the concert made a difference, made an impact, moved them, inspired them. Music can do so much to move people from one place to another. It can open new doors, heal old pains, excite and invigorate or re-invigorate. Finding the key to unlock something in each person is ultimately is my goal.”

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SPO announces performances for 2014-15 season

May 4, 2014

Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra has announced its 2014-15 concert season, which will mark the 10th anniversary of Sarah Ioannides as the music director. The season will include six performances: four at Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium and two at Chapman Cultural Center. The season will open with the return of famed German pianist Andreas Boyde in concert with SPO performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with Smetana’s much-loved the Moldau from Ma Vlast. – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia will be conducted by Sarah Ioannides in May

March 28, 2014

Whether it’s staging flash mobs on balconies or inviting music students to perform in the ranks, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia has a lively, inclusive approach that has made it a key player in the country’s burgeoning classical scene. […] Maestros who will conduct the orchestra later this year include Chile’s José Luis Domínguez, Colombian Andrés Franco, Sarah Ioannides from Australia, Russia’s Guerassim Voronkov and Tomasz Golka from Poland. – international arts manager

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Tacoma Symphony Season to feature famed musicians, world premier with new Music Director, Sarah Ioannides

February 25, 2014

For her first season with the Tacoma Symphony, brand-new musical director Sarah Ioannides is making a splash. The orchestra’s 2014/15 season, announced yesterday, opens with a literal bang thanks to international percussion superstar Evelyn Glennie playing a world-premiere concerto by Australian composer Sean O’Boyle, and continues with soloists like Israeli cellist Amit Peled, Olympia prodigy pianist Charlie Albright, violinist Vadim Gluzman and an Irish pops concert featuring a tap dancer and piper with soprano Kaitlyn Lusk.

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Kids see Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, perform their poems through Partners in Education program

February 7, 2014

The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra on Thursday presented two Young Persons Concerts for the entire student body of Kendall-Whittier, the school’s teachers and some parents […]. The music for the concerts included selections from Camille Saint-Saens’ popular “Carnival of the Animals,” which is usually performed with the musical vignettes of various wildlife interspersed with Ogden Nash’s pun-filled light verse. […] Thursday morning’s concerts were conducted by British conductor Sarah Ioannides, who will also lead the orchestra Saturday. […]

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Sarah Ioannides takes second position in Tacoma, Wash.

January 5, 2014

Sarah Ioannides, who has served as music director and conductor of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005, has landed a new job. The Tacoma (Wash.) Symphony Orchestra announced in December that Ioannides has been named its next music director and that her five-year contract will officially begin July 1. The new position will not affect Ioannides’ commitment to the Spartanburg music community. “I am naturally very excited about this invitation,” Ioannides said. “It will be a great honor to hold this position, in addition to my role as music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and I am certainly looking forward to working with another group of highly esteemed colleagues and musicians in the beautiful setting of Washington’s Puget Sound.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Welcome to Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides!

December 30, 2013

“The news of my appointment comes with great happiness to me,” said Sarah Ioannides. “The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra found a way into my heart in February 2013. The experience we had making music together was very special that week. Not only did I find great chemistry with the musicians, but also felt at one with the audience that evening, and with the entire community during my weeklong visit. It will be my great honor to work with the Tacoma Symphony in partnership with its superb team of musicians, staff, board, and supporters. I embrace my future in Tacoma with excited anticipation of changing times for orchestras. May we be part of the wave that brings music to more and more people’s hearts from all walks of life, and sustain the gifts of music through engaging live performances over the next decade.” – Tacoma Arts

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Sarah Ioannides Named Music Director Of Tacoma Symphony

December 22, 2013

[…] The Orchestra’s  board searched about two years for a new conductor. Sarah Ioannides will succeed Harvey Felder, leaving the orchestra next June after 20 years as director. The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra  has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape since 1946. With 80 contracted musicians and an affiliated community chorus, the TSO brings music into the city with 200.000 inhabitants, located 50 km southwest from Seattle in the State of Washington. – pizzicato

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Girl Power – Tacoma Symphony Orchestra names Aussie Sarah Ioannides as New Music Director

December 21, 2013

“We’re very excited, very enthusiastic…” TSO board President Dick Ammerman has said “… she’ll bring a real vibrancy and passion to the symphony, which will be appreciated not only by the board and musicians but by the community.” – THE VIOLIN CHANNEL

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Welcome to Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides!

December 20, 2013

“The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra announced today the appointment of Sarah Ioannides as their next Music Director. The appointment comes after an international search spanning two years and encompassing more than 100 prospects. […] Her initial contract with the TSO spans a full five seasons, effective on July 1, 2014.  She is already at work with TSO officials in planning her inaugural season, which is slated to open on Saturday, October 25, 2014.” – Tacoma Arts

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British conductor with ‘magic’ to lead Tacoma Symphony

December 20, 2013

Sarah Ioannides tops field of 120 candidates, starts 5-year contract in July

“Sarah had a wonderful chemistry with the orchestra, ” said Greg Youtz, a music professor at Pacific Lutheran University and a member of the selection committee. “We were all impressed by her inspired craftsmanship working with them. I think they realized . . . they’d done something really special.”

“She’s a very fine musician, really passionate, ” said concertmaster Svend Ronning, another committee member. “We felt it, and the audience felt it.”

Another factor that earned Ioannides the position is her desire to bring the orchestra into the community.

“She’s a fabulous fit with the TSO in terms of where she is with her career and the exciting ideas she brings, ” Youtz said. “She seems at first to exhibit the classic British reserve, but then you notice the mischievous twinkle in her eye. She was asking about alternative venues . . . like the (Museum of Glass) hot shop or the Armory, and she’s worked a lot with composers so we’ll see some new music.”

The board also hopes Ioannides will bring to Tacoma the passion for working with kids that has seen her launch efforts such as symphony art competitions and work with school orchestras. That Ioannides is the symphony’s first female director is a bonus, he added.

“The role of music director has been male-dominated in Europe, ” Ammerman noted. “In the States there are more (opportunities), but there’s a long way to go. I’m excited that we can be at the forefront of that in Tacoma. She’ll bring a different type of vitality. It’ll also give us bragging rights.” – The News Tribune, Tacoma

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‘Sensational Serenades’: Performers anticipate roles with Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra

November 21, 2013

 The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s presentation of the piece by Britten is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the famed British composer’s birth on Nov. 22, 1913.

The concert “is part of a big international celebration of Benjamin Britten that’s been happening throughout the year,” SPO music director and conductor Sarah Ioannides said. “Being of British heritage myself, I really appreciate his music and wanted to take this opportunity to share one of the really golden eggs of his compositions. This is a beautiful piece of music, and it’s extremely poignant and very touching.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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It’s a Whole ‘New World’

September 26, 2013

“Whether it’s classical, jazz, pop or whatever, if during those two hours of the concert the artist succeeds in making people forget their daily upsets and worries, then something nice and useful has been accomplished for the survival of mankind,” Katsaris said. “It’s about getting to a higher spiritual level and making people happy.” […] Katsaris said he’s looking forward to working with Ioannides, whom he met while serving as best man at her father’s wedding in Cyprus two decades ago. Like his daughter, Ayis Ioannides is a renowned conductor. Saturday’s concert will also include performances of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” No. 9 and a piece called “Discover the Wild” by contemporary composer Kenneth Fuchs, whose “Falling Man” was performed by the SPO at a 9/11 tribute concert in 2011. – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Pianist Cyprien Katsaris guest soloist at Philharmonic concert

September 26, 2013

During Saturday’s concert with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Katsaris will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. […] “There is a lot of diversity,” Katsaris said. “It’s one of the greatest masterworks of Beethoven, and I hope that we’ll have enough audience there to fully appreciate it.” – Dan Armonaites

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Fanfare for the uncommon woman conductor

September 11, 2013

“Recognition first and foremost and, ideally, only for their work as musicians, regardless of gender […]” – by Jessica Duchen from Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music & Ballet Blog

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Spartanburg Philharmonic honors Stravinsky’s ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’

May 2, 2013

The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the centennial anniversary of “The Rite of Spring” by performing the famous work as the highlight of the orchestra’s final masterworks concert of the season Saturday at Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium. “The 100th anniversary of this piece is being celebrated all over the world,” said Sarah Ioannides, music director and conductor of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. “If we weren’t a part of that, I’d feel like we were missing out.” What makes the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s celebration unique is that it’s more than just a musical performance. Concert-goers will also get a glimpse into the minds of local high school students, whose visualizations of “The Rite of Spring” will be presented in a multimedia slide show presentation. – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Music, artwork to celebrate anniversary of ‘Rite of Spring’

April 28, 2013

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of music director Sarah Ioannides, will perform it at 7 p.m. Saturday in Twichell Auditorium at Converse College. In addition to the concert, patrons also can get a glimpse into the minds of students, who will exhibit their visualization of Stravinsky’s music in an art exhibit. For the past several weeks, high school art students in Spartanburg School districts 1, 2 and 7 have been asked to listen to the recorded symphony and create visual art that reflects the music through paintings, drawings or sculptures. An exhibit is on view at the Chapman Cultural Center. – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Spartanburg students get lessons on music from the pros

April 26, 2013

The future of local music was on display Friday at Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium. Spartanburg County third, fourth and fifth graders performed with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra to music by Ludwig Beethoven and other great composers. About 4,000 students from the seven county school districts participated in performances and learned about music and instruments with the local philharmonic orchestra. Three separate sessions were held to accommodate all of the students […]. Orchestra conductor Sarah Ioannides said the students seemed to get more and more involved with each show. “I think it was just brilliant,” she said. “A lot of children will be choosing what instrument they want to play next year. Today they got the opportunity to hear their instrument played. It’s so important.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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A Recipe for a fascinating concert

February 22, 2013

The show will start with the fast and furiously gleeful runs of Glinka’s “Ruslan and Ludmilla” overture, everyone’s favorite Cossack dance. After that … a concerto for double bass – the orchestra’s lowest-sounding instrument – by the man who wrote the scores for some of cinema’s darkest moments, and a symphony written in angry defiance of a terrifying regime. Add to that a conductor auditioning for the symphony’s artistic director post and you have a recipe for a fascinating concert. – Tacoma News Tribune

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Q & A with the News Tribune of Tacoma by Rosemary Ponnekanti

February 18, 2013

Q: What do you bring to the Tacoma Symphony? 

A: Well, I’m a unique personality. As a musician, I have a wide range of musical tastes: vocal, operatic, new works, multimedia, though I was born and bred in the standard classical repertoire. I have a great interest in the education and future of classical music, in presenting it in different formats in a community. I try to stay close to the composer’s intent but touch as many people as possible in the performance. I’m always looking at how to interact, how to bring people in, to reach out. – News Tribune of Tacoma

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“Concert Unites Jazz Hearts for Valentine’s Day”

February 10, 2013

Lindemann, who has played every major concert venue in the world and was once named International Brass Personality of the Year by Brass Herald, will be the guest soloist for a special Valentine’s Day POPS concert Thursday by the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra at Converse College’s Twichell Auditorium.

Lindemann said he and Spartanburg Philharmonic music director/conductor Sarah Ioannides previously worked together on the piece during a performance in Michigan with the world-renowned Brass Band of Battle Creek.

Ioannides “is a fantastic conductor — very personable both with the musicians and the audience,” said Lindemann, who was classically trained at The Juilliard School in New York. “What I like about working with her is that she’s what we would call a ‘musician’s conductor,’ meaning that she has true empathy for the people who are standing on stage making music that she’s trying to create.

In addition to featuring Lindemann, Thursday’s POPS concert will include the first-ever collaboration between the Spartanburg Philharmonic and the Spartanburg Jazz Ensemble. – By Dan Armonaitis, Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Violinist Michael Ludwig to solo with philharmonic, Ioannides

January 17, 2013

Violin virtuoso Michael Ludwig is particularly enthusiastic about getting to perform with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra this weekend. “It’s always nice to work with somebody that you know on a personal level,” Ludwig said, referring to SPO music director and conductor Sarah Ioannides. “She’s a wonderful person and a great musician, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Philharmonic show to feature clarinet star Anthony McGill

November 8, 2012

McGill, 33, has been with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2004. Before that, he was a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, where he worked with current Spartanburg Philharmonic conductor Sarah Ioannides. McGill and Ioannides first met as students at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. “It’s been great to see how Sarah’s career has also taken off,” McGill said. “She’s done some great things with the (Spartanburg Philharmonic) orchestra, and I’m really looking forward to working with her again.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Sarah Ioannides Conducts Louisville Orchestra Tonight – Radio Interview

October 12, 2012

Australian conductor Sarah Ioannides will conduct Schwantner From Afar: Fantasy for Guitar and Orchestra for the Louisville Orchestra concert this evening. This afternoon on Byline she spoke with WFPL’s Erin Keane about her career in music. – WFPL News 89,3 FM

Listen to Interview

BPO’s new season colored by sounds from around world

September 22, 2012

The concert opens with the Overture to Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” including the famous Wedding March. Completing the concert, in wild contrast, are the exotic “Polovtsian Dances,” from Alexander Borodin’s opera “Prince Igor.” They add a lighter note and reflect the season’s Russian ambience. You will recognize the melodies, which were used in the musical “Kismet.” Among them are “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” and the iconic “Stranger in Paradise.” The guest conductor for this concert is Sarah Ioannides. This will be her Buffalo debut. – The Buffalo News

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Organist Szafron set to reprise ‘Toccata Festiva’ to open Philharmonic’s season

September 6, 2012

Szafron will again perform “Toccata Festiva” during the Spartanburg Philharmonic’s season-opening concert Saturday at Twichell Auditorium. “This is the music — with Brennan as solo artist — that sort of launched my relationship with Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra,” Ioannides said. “So I absolutely feel a personal connection to it.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal

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The Chautauquan Daily by Kelsy Burritt

July 24, 2012

Ioannides to lead CSO, bandoneónist Trivisonno through cultural musical sampling.

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Town Magazine Note Taker by Jac Chebatoris

April 25, 2012

Music soars in the accomplished hands of Sarah Ioannides…..Ioannides’ eclectic programming brings boldface luminaries, such as Dario Marianelli who last year premiered an adaption of his Pride & Prejudice Suite.

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Femme Forte! By Kerrie Saddler

November 8, 2011

Two extraordinary women take the stage. Ms. St. John will be the soloist for the West Coast premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto No. 1, “Australian Postcards.” This exciting, colorful piece was written in 2000 as a set of movements that reflect Australian places or outlooks and contemporary Australian culture. — Ventura County Star

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Spartanburg Herald Journal Philharmonic Premieres Falling Man By Dan Armonaitis

September 10, 2011

Among the highlights is a world premiere performance of Kenneth Fuchs’ “Falling Man,” featuring renowned Metropolitan Opera baritone James Maddalena. The Spartanburg Festival Chorus will also be on hand along with a 20-member choir of local first responders performing a variety of patriotic selections…

It was a vital component of our concert to have the first responders participate — most of all to give them an opportunity to remember and for us to thank them for their dedication to their mission.

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First Responders Form 9/11 Tribute Choir SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. by Mike McCormick

September 8, 2011

Among the highlights is a world premiere performance of Kenneth Fuchs’ “Falling Man,” featuring renowned Metropolitan Opera baritone James Maddalena. The Spartanburg Festival Chorus will also be on hand along with a 20-member choir of local first responders performing a variety of patriotic selections… It was a vital component of our concert to have the first responders participate — most of all to give them an opportunity to remember and for us to thank them for their dedication to their mission.

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Happy 235th Birthday, America!

July 4, 2011

As an expected 20 to 30,000 flocked to the park late Sunday afternoon, Liquid Pleasure entertained families with some of music’s top hits while children played games of Frisbee and tag on the lawn…

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N.C. Symphony – Ioannides brings musical fireworks to July 2 concert

June 28, 2011

The North Carolina Symphony will help kick off Fourth of July festivities in the Port City Saturday night at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium with a dynamic young guest conductor leading a program that taps American traditions from Broadway to Hollywood and from jazz to the immigrant experience in classical music. Sarah Ioannides, 39, is helming the orchestra for all of its holiday concerts. – Star News

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Sarah Leads NC Symphony

June 7, 2011

Ioannides is a creative force behind two of America’s finest up-and-coming orchestras. Her engagements have spanned five continents.

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Spartanburg Herald Journal, by Lou Parris

January 22, 2011

OUTSTANDING: The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of “An American Christmas” was “outstanding,” declares Jim Jones of Inman. “It’s one of a kind and not easily duplicated, but Sarah Ioannides waved her magic wand, and miracles began to happen,” he says. “Every performer, like Pam Stone, Sharon Decker, Fayssoux McLean, Brandon Turner, Ballet Spartanburg, First Presbyterian Chancel Choir and last but certainly not least, the Pure-N-Heart Kids Choir, was terrific and deserves another round of applause. You don’t have to travel to New York City. It’s all right in our front yard.”

El Paso Inc. Q & A by David Crowder: The Maestra Moves On

October 23, 2010

For five seasons, the woman with Hepburn good looks, a dancer’s grace, and an adventurous musical flair, has captivated El Paso audiences from the conductor’s stand. Those attributes are also making her famous.

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Twins Magazine “Beethoven, Babies & Batons!” by Sarah Gunn

September 1, 2010

I’ve always felt the importance of living life to its fullest. My pursuit of personal and professional passions has led me to a wonderful place in life! I know managing both career and family will be difficult at times but fortunately my husband’s and my careers are in music, and music is a force that bonds and unites people. I strongly believe in its power.

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Maestra with Children

July 30, 2010

Tonight’s Chamizal Concert, caring for twins, yes, Ioannides is busy!

El Paso Times: Orchestra Conductor Ioannides to Exit After Next Season by Dough Pullen

July 7, 2010

Conductor and music director Sarah Ioannides announced Tuesday that she will leave the El Paso Symphony Orchestra after the 2010-11 season, her sixth with the organization….

We were in need of some new ideas, which she brought,” Gibson said.

They included last season’s performance of Holst’s “The Planets,” which featured video footage from NASA’s Hubble telescope. She also programmed Chinese composer Tan Dun’s “Water Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra.” It included water vessels used as percussion.

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How she does it!

May 20, 2010

Balancing Dynamics […] Sarah’s passion for her art makes it challenging to slow down, even for maternity leave. She conducted two days before Audrey Rose was born and then took several weeks to bond with her newborn. Six weeks later with the baby in tow, she was conducting again. – Working Mother Magazine
 by Suzanne Riss

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Some prominent women conductors through history

January 21, 2010

The list of women conductors may be small, but it is enormously prestigious nonetheless. Here are some examples, and their principal appointments: Sarah Ioannides (b. 1972): Leader of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the Spartanburg Philharmonic. Conducted premieres by such composers as Stephen Paulus, Richard Danielpour, Steve Reich and Tan Dun. – Cape Cod Times by Keith Powers

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Sarah of the Symphony -As El Paso’s first maestra, Sarah Ioannides commands the stage and conducts beautiful music

September 1, 2009

Sarah Ioannides, music director of the symphony, glides into view to rousing applause, her smile as warm as her looks are captivating…

I think she stole everyone’s heart,” says Debbie Hand, president-elect of the board of the symphony. “She has brought this wonderful youth, energy, and pro- gramming,” says Ruth Ellen Jacobson, executive director of the symphony. “Interest is way up. I think she’s lit a fire under the community, and she’s really embraced El Paso, just as we’ve embraced her – Southern Living Magazine, TX

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Female Conductors Crack the Glass Podium

May 10, 2009

Though women are making progress, music directors of big-league orchestras still are overwhelmingly male. – Los Angeles Times by Chloe Veltman

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As El Paso’s first maestra, Sarah Ioannides commands the stage and conducts beautiful music. by Gary D. Ford

May 6, 2009

“… Sarah Ioannides, music director of the symphony, glides into view to rousing applause, her smile as warm as her looks are captivating…
I think she stole everyone’s heart,” says Debbie Hand, president-elect of the board of the symphony. “She has brought this wonderful youth, energy, and pro- gramming,” says Ruth Ellen Jacobson, executive director of the symphony. “Interest is way up. I think she’s lit a fire under the community, and she’s really embraced El Paso, just as we’ve embraced her.” – South Carolina People and Places

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Sarah of the Symphony

May 1, 2009

She has the best interests of the community at heart. She’s friendly, outgoing, a natural draw for people. Her conducting style is exquisite. It looks like she’s dancing as she conducts. – Southern Living Magazine, SC

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Top 10: Sarah Ioannides

April 18, 2007

“There’s been a star in a constellation in the vicinity of the Plaza Theater on symphony weekends. The name of the star is Ioannides, first name Sarah, and she’s the young conductor of the El Paso Symphony. We asked Sarah to be next in our series of recognizable El Pasoans talking about their top 10 favorite CDs. On music, Sarah has this to say: “Listening or performing can transport you all you need do is allow yourself to let go completely.” – What’s Up, El Paso?  By Dan Lambert

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BATON of the Sexes by Rosie Johnson

April 6, 2007

“They can’t do ‘men’s music’; their clothes distract the audience; their breasts get in the way … Rosie Johnston wonders why there are still so few female conductors” – The Guardian

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Fire and Water at the symphony

March 14, 2007

“I hadn’t been to the Plaza Theater yet, and what better way to get initiated then hearing Sarah Ioannides conduct the orchestra? […] The Tan Dun piece was mesmerizing. It started Blue Man Group-style with two percussionists playing as they walked down either aisle from the back of the hall to the stage. Soloist David Cossin coaxed an ocean full of sounds from the interaction of water and instruments. Rhythmic splashes, ringing half-submerged cymbals, watery cascades, a hollow tube played percussively with one end in the water sounding like a tuned drum, beats tapped out on floating bowls all mic’d up and floating over the theater sound system accompanied by the orchestra. Mike Newman’s production had video of both Ioannides and Cossin displayed on large screens so you could follow every nuance.” – What’s Up El Paso? By Dan Lambert

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EPSO goes avant-garde, gets wet

February 7, 2007

“Cossin says Ioannides brings that vibrancy herself. “She breathes new life into symphonies,” he says, noting her dedication to exposing children to classical and contemporary music by having artists like himself visit schools when he comes to perform. Cossin also says using a piece like Dun’s water concerto is a good way to engage new audiences. “Yes, he’s experimental, but he’s not too academic – his music is melodic and audience friendly.” Ioannides adds: “We must support living artists, not just ones of the past – or we’ll cut off the future of music.” – El Paso Inc. by Jennifer Nittoso

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Journal Philharmonic’s new season reunites conductor, father

April 16, 2006

“Beyond Generations, a concert featuring Ioannides with her father and husband. Ioannides’ father, Ayis Ioannides, lives in Cyprus, an island in the northeastern quarter of the Mediterranean Sea, and is a conductor and composer. The philharmonic will play a piece that he’s written for the orchestra. This will be our first time playing together,” said Ioannides, who said her father last saw her conduct 10 years ago at a Philadelphia concert.” – Spartanburg Herald-Journal by Dudley Brown

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Soaked in Sweet Sounds

January 13, 2006

“Whether it’s tiny droplets dripping with a ting into a sink, the whoosh of rainfall soaking city streets or the thundering rush of rapid white rivers, the sounds of water are inherent in our experiences. However, few have likely ever heard or seen water portrayed quite the way it will be Saturday night at Twichell Auditorium, when guest water percussionist David Cossin performs “Water Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra” with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The concerto, written by Tan Dun, the Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer of the film score for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” features various waterborne instruments he invented along with percussionist Christopher Lamb, played within and around a pair of transparent hemispherical basins filled with water. “Water is just like music,” Dun said via telephone from New York City. “Music is different from literature, it’s absolutely a boundless language; water also is boundless.” –  The Spartanburg Herald-Journal

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Music Director garners National Acclaim

January 1, 2006

“Jesse Rosen, President of the League of American Orchestras, has watched Ioannides conduct at least three times. “She has a big personality and is highly expressive and she makes a difference” he said.” – Spartanburg Herald Journal by Dudley Brown

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The Sound of Sarah Ioannides

November 7, 2005

“She’s a visionary driver with the ability to lead an orchestra to new heights….Sarah used her high level of violin playing to get her into Oxford Univserity where she studied conducting.” –  El Paso Inside and Out

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Sonidos con toque femino

August 1, 2005

Magazine from “El Diario”

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New Orchestra Conductor Makes Music—and History

June 15, 2005

“Sarah Stood out as the type of music director with the creativity needed to challenge the orchestra and help it grow to a higher level of artistic achievement.: said Dana Gencarelli, executive director of the Music Foundation. She has the foresight to come in and get to know the community and assiss the needs and determine what type of music is appropriate for the community.” –  Spartanburg Herald Journal

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Q & A with Dan Huff New conductor of the El Paso Symphony

June 11, 2005

“Sarah Ioannides is filled with passion and progressive ideas for the development of symphonic music in the 21st century.” – El Paso Inc.

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Call Me Madam Maestro

January 14, 2005

“These artists represent a new wave of female conductors in their late 20’s through early 40’s. Others are Joana Carneiro, Sara Jobin, Sarah Ioannides, Sarah Hicks, Keri-Lynn Wilson and Anne Manson. They confront significantly less prejudice than did their counterparts who are only a few years older: Gisèle Ben-Dor, Catherine Comet, Rachel Worby, JoAnn Falletta, Marin Alsop and others, performers who have made women a familiar presence on the orchestra podium.” –  The New York Times

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