For Sarah Ioannides, music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic in South Carolina and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra in Washington, practical considerations come first. “I am a busy person. I am a mother of three children, and I have two orchestras. I have limited time to shop, to decide what to wear, to get my clothes pressed, picked up from venue to venue.
Ioannides also says she enjoys when the musicians change up their attire. “I like it when the orchestra has a sense of style as well. A few times I have experimented with the orchestra’s clothing, and it really seemed to change the atmosphere in the audience.
It’s an interesting topic. First of all, you’ve got an orchestra dressed in essentially late-18th- or early-19th-century costume. On the other hand, that’s a male costume: tailcoats. It’s not a woman’s costume, and you have a lot of women in orchestras. So that opens up a multitude of possibilities.”