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.
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.”
Saturday’s performance by George Li and Symphony Tacoma was one of the most special and memorable music events in our local arts history. Live music offers an amazing opportunity for people to connect. Sometimes across time and cultures the performing arts provide shared experiences that change us. Top to bottom – this Symphony Tacoma concert was exciting, polished, poetic, and touching.
Under conductor Sarah Ioannides’ leadership, Symphony Tacoma complimented Li’s artistry with polish and inspiration. The admiration between the orchestra and soloist was visible – players smiling and looking at Li throughout the concerto. It was a treat to see the veil of professional stoicism lift, and to witness Ioannides, Li, and the orchestral musicians’ electric vibe that fueled their performance. This performance had the personal communication of chamber music through the large orchestra medium. The commitment to musical teamwork was most obvious in the magical woodwinds and horn solos, and the extreme soft passages with strings. Ioannides has cultivated a special ensemble for our community.
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.”
“On October 19th, Sarah Ioannides and Symphony Tacoma performed music from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. This performance was a fantastic experience that blended drama and orchestra into a touching and profound live performance experience… a modern, creative staging for this music and acting—impressive and relevant work from our local arts community.
This production was all about the orchestra music, and the acting provided reference to the story the music was telling. The flow of the performance felt natural, and Prokofiev’s score was always the center of attention.
Believable excitement, nervousness, passion and romance all delivered through Prokofiev’s music, Symphony Tacoma’s artistry, and words from Shakespeare.
Under Ioannides’ skilled leadership, this orchestra is playing at a very high level.
This Symphony Tacoma concert was a testament to the creativity and collaboration that our community thrives on. The audience received the performance with enthusiastic applause and admiration. The teamwork and creativity of Sarah Ioannides, School of the Arts, and the Symphony Tacoma musicians has provided a unique and profound shared experience in the performing arts.
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.
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’sRomeo 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 newlifeto 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 TheNew York Times and graced numerous top conductor lists, has established a reputation as a formidable creative director. In previous seasons, Ioannides has also forged collaborationswith groups such as the Hilltop Artists, Lincoln High School, and the Tacoma Youth Symphony.
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.
Symphony Tacoma’s 73rd season will present eight dynamic programs – six classics and two holiday concerts –that span 300 years of captivating classical music. Featuring major works by Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin, the season will also be punctuated by three prominent works by Beethoven in recognition of his 250th birthday.
“I selected Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” (February), The Creatures of Prometheus (March), and “Choral Fantasy” (March) because these works collectively demonstrate the breadth of talent that is Beethoven,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “I think our audience will really enjoy the diversity of the pieces.”
Works by contemporary composers – including one world premiere and two U.S. premieres – will complement the classics to amplify the theme of each concert. “We programmed this season to be an exciting representation of today’s classical music genre,” says Ioannides. “There is so much new and diverse material to draw from – compositions by women, works accompanied by multimedia and works that feature artists who play non-traditional orchestral instruments. We have incorporated a touch of each of these into our season.”