British conductor with ‘magic’ to lead Tacoma Symphony

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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