Archive: News

Symphony Tacoma welcomes pianist George Li

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’s Romeo and Juliet Collaboration = Big Win for Community

Review by John Falskow, South Sound Magazine

“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.

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

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

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

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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Symphony Tacoma Announces 2019/2020 Season

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.”

 

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2nd Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass accepting auditors

The 2nd Annual Cascade Conducting Masterclass at Pacific Lutheran University with Maestro Sarah Ioannides is accepting auditors and participating auditors until June 1st.  Anyone with a musical background and interest in learning the art of conducting is invited to apply.  Auditors who are accepted to play in the Cascade Conducting Orchestra will receive a tuition discount.  

 

On Saturday, the 22nd of June at 7:30pm, full masterclass participants will conduct the Cascade Conducting Symphony, led by musicians from Symphony Tacoma, in a final concert that includes music by Stravinsky, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, and Rossini.  The concert is open to he public and free of charge.

 

“Preserving one’s own talent, faith in the music, and performance integrity while navigating a successful path forward is imperative yet challenging! The goal is that great symphonic music and traditions 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.

 

To apply, please visit: www.cascadeconducting.com

 

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Channel 253: We Art Tacoma Podcast with Sarah Ioannides

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 Rises to Beethoven’s Sun

Commissioning new work has become part of the Tacoma orchestra’s identity since Ioannides, a British conductor hailed as one of the best on Lebrecht’s “Women Conductors: The Power List,” took the helm nearly five years ago.

 

On Saturday night in the Pantages Theater, however, the music was not only new, but quietly turned the historic male composer archetype on its head. Lash isn’t just a woman, she’s also a professional harpist — an instrument traditionally dominated by women, and the polar opposite to Beethoven’s blustery, piano-percussive modality.

 

Symphony Tacoma, under Ioannides’ assured baton, rose to Beethoven’s sun with energy, passion and a full, rich sound that filled the sold-out theater. In the first movement, firm brass chords resonated against the renovated theater’s new shell, violins crisp and timpani exciting, with Ioannides guiding the music like a ship’s captain over stormy waves.

 

The Molto vivace was just that, fast and light, the lacy airiness of the triplets interrupted by stomping timpani like a giant among elves. Legato strings, a precise bassoon and expressive oboe led to an ending with flair. The third movement is a love song, and Ioannides made it flowing rather than funereal with long, arching phrases and the triplet section as intimate as a slow waltz. The 4th horn solo was particularly poignant, sounding as if played offstage.

 

And then, of course, the finale that everybody waits for: sonorous cello/bass recitative, thoughtful phrases, wistful violins, triumphant brass. Ioannides wove through the tempo changes with precision and grace, and the orchestra followed flawlessly. The quartet of soloists made a perfect balance of voices: Baritone  Charles Robert Stephens warm and personable, tenor Ross Hauck brilliant, mezzo Melissa Plagemann and soprano Kristin Vogel glittery as sunlight on top.

 

Symphony Tacoma Chorus filled the hall with a dynamic, strong sound, and as the notes flew to their shining destinations, it was as if every question in Hannah Lash’s piece had been answered.

 
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Symphony delivers strong performance in world premiere

Symphony Tacoma closed out its 2018-19 season with a flourish, with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Choral.” But the real highlight was a world premiere of “In Hopes of Finding the Sun.” Composed by Hannah Lash, a rising star in American orchestral music, the piece served as a perfect opening act. Written as response to response to Beethoven’s 9th, particularly “Ode to Joy,” it perfectly complemented the masterpiece by the German composers.

 

Sarah Ioannides, music director, did a marvelous job conducting the orchestra. At 15 minutes long, “In Hopes of Finding the Sun” was very effective in utilizing a short period of time to make a powerful musical statement. It shifted back and forth from the stringed instruments taking the forefront to them stepping back and the woodwinds moving into the spotlight.

 

“In Hopes of Finding the Sun” is an impressive work; we look forward to hearing more great output from Lash in the future.

 
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