Archive: News | Reviews

Review: Ioannides and Ott inspire with premier performance of ‘Fire Mountain’

By John Falskow for The News Tribune


“Mountain and Sea” was not just a concert by Symphony Tacoma — it was a culmination of creativity, education, outreach and advocacy that touched our community and brought people together in a powerful shared experience.


“Fire Mountain” ended in an elongated, disintegrating diminuendo. The violin sections melted into a single thread of sound, and their whisper faded into profound silence. This silence clung on for a long time. It seemed that nobody in the Pantages Theater wanted this moment to end. The silence broke, and the audience launched into an immediate standing ovation.


A review of just the Symphony Tacoma performance cannot do justice to the depth and profound effect the “Fire Mountain” collaboration has had on the Tacoma community. Was it a great concert? Absolutely. Bravo to Symphony Tacoma, Sarah Ioannides, Daniel Ott, and everyone behind the massive and inclusive project. But the larger lesson goes beyond a single concert event. “Fire Mountain” has given us a glimpse at the creative and collaborative potential in Tacoma.


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Gluzman conquers Glazunov; Symphony Tacoma works Dvoràk

PugetSoundTacoma News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


Virtuosity and familiarity made a winning combination in the Pantages Theater Saturday night, as Symphony Tacoma opened the new season with its first concert under a new name.


The concert’s anchor, however, was the “New World” symphony — a warhorse, but Ioannides’ first rendition with Symphony Tacoma and fitting the Eastern European program like a cloak. Conducting entirely from memory, Ioannides gave great attention to detail (ends of phrases, brass nuance) and brought some new sounds to this so-familiar work (a slight pause, an acceleration) that made sense of the theme transitions. Yet, she was kind, constantly encouraging the horns and letting the woodwind choruses handle their own cathedral-like passages.



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Saxophone sensation heats up Chamber Orchestra

636079800823548973-Carter-and-SarahCincinnati Enquirer by Janelle Gelfand

Saxophonist James Carter, music director candidate Sarah Ioannides wow in jazzy program at CCO


…a stunning performance of Francis Poulenc’s rarely heard “Sinfonietta.”


Ioannides stretched boundaries with an extraordinary program that spanned the worlds of classical and jazz.


“Caribbean Rhapsody,” was just one of the highlights of the Chamber Orchestra’s fascinating journey led by Sarah Ioannides.


The highlight of the evening’s first half was Poulenc’s “Sinfonietta.”…Ioannides’ reading of this ravishing gem was fresh and vivid.

It was a wonderful discovery. The conductor made the most of its humorous outbursts and shaped Poulenc’s lovely French melodies beautifully. Best of all, she allowed every orchestral solo to emerge from the texture.

….The orchestra played superbly.

The finale, a stunning dialogue of witty tunes and staccato brass, was given an impressive performance by the orchestra. In an acoustically challenging hall, it was the best-balanced performance of the season.


The concert included….world premiere live performance of “Caribbean Rhapsody” (Carter has recorded it) by Puerto Rico-born composer Roberto Sierra.


As the piece merged into Latin salsa, he picked up his tenor sax for a vibrant, syncopated dialogue with the orchestra. Ioannides was an alert partner, and the orchestra echoed the soloist with split-second precision. Listeners were on their feet.


Darius Milhaud’s “The Creation of the World,”…..the lean orchestration had an arresting timbre, and Ioannides’ leadership was deft and energetic. One could only marvel at its witty syncopations, its wonderful jazz fugue and superb contributions from orchestral soloists.


For a multimedia touch, McCombs, a faculty member at NKU, created an inventive film – fusing his own imagery in the Overture with artworks from Cincinnati Art Museum and even the conductor Ioannides. It was perfectly synched to the music, all the way to “The Kiss.”


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Review: ‘Water Passion’ proves the Tacoma Symphony’s musical chops and vitality

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The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


Tacoma has proven that not only does it have the
chops to do a major contemporary classical
work, it’s got the audience to appreciate it. A
host of forces, from conductor Sarah Ioannides
to the Tacoma Symphony Chorus to soloists,
stage crew and sponsors came together Sunday
afternoon at the Pantages Theater to perform Tan
Dun’s epic “Water Passion.”


Holding all these forces together, along with the
dramatic lighting (red for blood, gold for rebirth)
and amplified sounds was Ioannides, whose
personal connection to Tan Dun made the piece
possible in the first place.


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Review: Tacoma Symphony luxuriates in Rialto sound, romantic program

Muzzolini 10The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


“Debussy, Alvars and Beethoven played with warmth and emotion”


And then came Beethoven’s Symphony no. 6, the “Pastorale”…..From the opening strings to the oboe solo and solid, driving bass in the first movement, through the nostalgic waltz and lyrical cello solo of the second (unusually strong), to the furious storm of the fourth and the triumphant melody of the final movement, the orchestra played well, responding to Ioannides’ attention to dynamic detail. Ioannides combines thoughtful musical logic (the slow-downs before new ideas, the emphasis on passed-on motifs) with passion, encouraging both emotion and courage from her musicians.


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Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra presents exciting concert

Enigmatic Evolution

The Herald Journal by David Barry


“The Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Sarah Ioannides presented a varied, yet well-integrated program on Nov. 14.”



“With careful control of musical dynamics, Ioannides and the orchestra allowed the soloist (violinist Kristin Lee) to shine through.”



“Elgar’s “Enigma Variations, Op. 36” were exciting, delicate, beautiful, subdued or intense as called for in the score. Small individual solo contributions by clarinet, viola and cello added to a polished and passionate performance. The Philharmonic’s trumpets, trombones, and tuba were especially incisive and well balanced while displaying a wide dynamic range.”


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Tacoma Symphony balances inventive, tradition; violinist Caroline Goulding stands out

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The News Tribune by Rosemary Ponnekanti


Inventive met traditional at the Tacoma Symphony concert Sunday in the Pantages Theater, both between pieces and within them. The orchestra bookended the afternoon program with a United States premiere by Portuguese composer Luis Tinoco that scattered musicians throughout the theater and the highly conventional “Reformation” symphony of Mendelssohn, while violin soloist Caroline Goulding injected the 112-year-old Sibelius concerto with imaginative sound.




The awed audience member who uttered a solo “Whoa!” after the baton dropped summed it up for all of us.


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The magic of a violin enwraps the National Theater

Kristin Lee ConcertHoy by Carmen Heredia de Guerrero


The symphonic season 2015 has marked its imprint. It will always be remembered for the fact that for the first time, two of its concerts have been directed by female conductors; Zenaida Romeu, and in this fourth concert by Sarah Ioannides.


The symphonic poem “Finlandia” by Danish composer Jean Sibelius made a splendid opening for this musical night. The spirit of nationalism, a beloved homeland, oppressed so often, is a cause and an inspiration to Sibelius.


With a large orchestral load the patriotic theme develops. The “Andante sostenuto” is a beautiful evocation of the Finnish landscape. Contrasting, the “Allegro moderato” presents the trumpets and horns in a fanfare, followed by a beautiful melody, which becomes a vibrant, patriotic, pride of an entire people anthem, the end is an apotheosis. With this beautiful, lovely and unnerving symphonic poem, conductor Sarah Ioannides presented her credentials to the Dominican public, receiving a satisfying answer from the orchestra.




What else!


Applause for female conductors!!


The audience stands and rewards this special night with prolonged applause and we join them. Again we congratulate the maestro José Antonio Molina, head of the National Symphony, for the opportunity he provides in this season to appraise and enjoy efficient symphony leading women who definitely open up new paths.


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Conductor Sarah Ioannides and violinist Kristin Lee star in successful symphony concert

directoraSarahIoannidesyviolinistaKristinLeeDiario Hispaniola by Arismendi Vasquez


The successful participation of female instrumentalists and conductors in the current symphony season has been a wonderful experience, whose quality was reaffirmed on Wednesday night in the concert conducted impressively by Maestra Sarah Ioannides and in the brilliant performance of the talented violinist Kristin Lee in the Carlos Piantini Hall of the National Theatre Eduardo Brito.




The Symphony No.2 in D Major by Sibelius concluded the evening, an impressive work of four movements, whose orchestral performance director Sarah Ioannides was equal to, demonstrating her “unquestionable strength and authority” and great qualities as a conductor, for which she is recognized as one of the most engaging and respected conductors of her generation, qualities that have led to her recent appointment as music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra.


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