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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 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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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 Season Finale presents Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

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

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

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

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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