Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Portraits”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Portraits”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Portraits”

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer

Symphony Tacoma’s final concert of the season “Portraits,” was a delightful and enriching experience. Under the adept direction of Music Director Sarah Ioannides, the evening showcased classical masterpieces, each performed with a nuanced touch that highlighted the distinct character and emotion of the works.

Just as the audience was settling into the gorgeous theater, it was time to open the evening with Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade in A minor. The musicians of Symphony Tacoma brought out the lush harmonies and sweeping melodies with precision and heartfelt expression, drawing the audience into the evocative soundscape crafted by Coleridge-Taylor. Next on the program was Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, featuring the virtuoso Kristin Lee. Her technical prowess and deep musicality brought Brahms’ intricate passages and soaring themes to life. The audience was left in awe, responding with a standing ovation that echoed the admiration felt throughout the theater.

After intermission, the evening concluded with  Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a piece renowned for its emotional depth and intricate orchestration. Ioannides gave an in-depth explanation of Elgar’s poignant piece before leading the orchestra through each variation with keen insight, drawing out each section’s unique character and mood. The famous Nimrod variation was particularly moving, performed with a tenderness that filled the hall with a profound sense of reflection and serenity. The performance was a fitting end to the concert and season, leaving the audience with a lingering sense of wonder and appreciation for the evening’s musical journey.

As we have come to expect, Sarah and the musicians of Symphony Tacoma closed a phenomenal season with a masterfully curated performance. It was an evening that celebrated the power of music to paint vivid portraits of the human experience.

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Dreams & Dances”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Dreams & Dances”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Dreams & Dances” 

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer

On April 20th, the Pantages Theater was transformed into a vibrant hub of music and surprises for Symphony Tacoma’s Dreams & Dances. The evening kicked off with a burst of color and passion as flamenco dancers welcomed the audience; their graceful movements and the sounds of Spain set the stage for the night. This was just the beginning of a series of unique experiences that made the event truly special.

New York Philharmonic horn player Leelanee Sterrett stepped into the spotlight and closed the first half of the evening with a spellbinding performance of Strauss’s incomparable Horn Concerto No. 1. Sterrett expertly demonstrated the horn’s capabilities, effortlessly navigating through challenging passages. Her deft performance on one of the most difficult instruments in the orchestral family was truly inspiring. Based on the crowd’s enthusiastic response, they agreed.

After a short intermission, Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides welcomed us back to the concert and introduced local composer Gina Gillie. The following performance was the world premiere of Gillie’s piece Reverie. Originally commissioned by a professional horn player needing to rehab an injury, Gillie explained the inspiration for this intense piece was the ethereal realm of dreams and imagination. Sterrett once again joined the orchestra to bring this captivating piece to life, and she did just that! Hearing such a beautiful piece composed by a local musician was an honor.

The energy was palpable, and Sarah put the audience exactly where she wanted us as she moved into Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2.Could Sarah have programmed anything more perfectly to close this rhythmic evening? No! Márquez’s spirited piece perfectly summed up the night and left many of us bobbing our heads and tapping our toes in the hall. Spirits ran high as we all streamed to the lobby and into the beautiful spring night. This was another outstanding success for our Symphony Tacoma and Sarah Ioannides!

Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Portraits”

Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Portraits”

Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Portraits”

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer

Join Symphony Tacoma on Saturday, May 11 (7:30pm) for their season finale, Portraits, and experience why they have a reputation as one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier orchestras. Audiences who have attended any part of Symphony Tacoma’s 2023/24 season can tell you about the musical jewel in the heart of the Pantages Theater. Over the last 10 years, under Music Director Sarah Ioannides’ baton, the orchestra has grown musically and artistically, reaching new heights of excellence. With each performance, Symphony Tacoma continues to inspire, educate, and uplift the Tacoma community.

Opening this season finale is Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade in A Minor (1898), a captivating piece hailed for its rich melodies and profound emotional depth, showcasing the composer’s exceptional talent and enduring legacy. As the resonant notes of Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade fade into the concert hall, the stage is set for another timeless masterpiece, Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major. Its intricate interplay between soloist and orchestra continues to inspire musicians and stir the hearts of listeners worldwide. Closing not only the evening but also Symphony Tacoma’s 2023/24 Classic Concert Series is the timeless beauty of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a cornerstone of the orchestral repertoire.

Joining Symphony Tacoma for Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major is celebrated violinist Kristin Lee. Renowned for her virtuosic technique and deeply expressive interpretations, Lee is hailed as one of today’s most dynamic performers. She brings a fresh perspective and unparalleled energy to the stage with a repertoire spanning from classical masterworks to contemporary compositions. Lee’s dedication to musical excellence and her innate ability to connect with audiences make her a standout figure in the classical music world. Whether performing as a soloist with leading orchestras or collaborating with fellow musicians in chamber settings, Kristin Lee consistently delivers performances that leave a lasting impression, solidifying her reputation as a rising star in the classical music scene.

Symphony Tacoma’s Portraits (May 11th, 7:30pm) promises to be an unforgettable evening of musical artistry and expression celebrating the culmination of another remarkable season.

 
Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Dreams and Dances”

Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Dreams and Dances”

Concert Preview: Symphony Tacoma presents “Dreams and Dances”

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer

Symphony Tacoma invites audiences to Dreams and Dances (April 20, 2024), a musical odyssey highlighting an eclectic fusion of classical masterpieces and contemporary gems. This lively evening promises to be an unforgettable journey of symphonic exploration when the brilliant horn virtuoso Leelanee Sterrett takes center stage for Strauss Concerto No. 1 and renowned local mezzo- soprano Dawn Padula delivers a mesmerizing performance in De Falla evocative Suite from El Amor Brujo. Adding to the allure of the evening is the world premiere of local composer, Gina Gillie’s Reverie, a composition brimming with innovation and intrigue. And rounding out the program, promising to ignite the senses and leave hearts racing with excitement are Kodály’s enchanting Dances of Galánta and the infectious rhythms of Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2.

Headlining this exceptional evening is Leelanee Sterrett, one of today’s foremost horn players, who brings a blend of passion, precision, and innovation to the world of classical music. Beyond her exceptional musicianship, Sterrett is well-known for her dedication to education and outreach, inspiring young musicians through masterclasses, workshops, and community engagement initiatives. Sterrett joins Symphony Tacoma for Richard Strauss’s Concerto No. 1 for Horn and Orchestra, a pinnacle of the horn repertoire that beautifully showcases the instrument’s lyrical beauty and technical prowess. From the tender lyricism of the opening movement to the exuberant energy of the finale, Strauss demonstrates his keen understanding of the horn’s capabilities, crafting a work that continues to fascinate audiences and inspire horn players worldwide, remaining a timeless testament to the enduring beauty and versatility of the horn.

Symphony Tacoma is honored to present the world premiere of local composer Gina Gillie’s Reverie, which is sure to emerge as a poignant addition to the contemporary orchestral repertoire. Gillie’s new composition promises to enchant audiences with its evocative melodies and rich harmonies. Drawing inspiration from the ethereal realm of dreams and imagination, Reverie unfolds like a musical tapestry, weaving together moments of tranquility and introspection with bursts of emotional intensity.

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Transformation”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Transformation”

Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Transformation”

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer

 

On Saturday, March 16th, Symphony Tacoma filled the Pantages Theater stage for Transformation, their fourth classic concert of the season. As the pre-concert announcements concluded, Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides delivered a surprising twist. She announced that she would not be conducting the first piece of the evening, Elfrida Andrée’s Intermezzo. Instead, she handed over the podium to her conducting assistant, Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll, sparking a wave of anticipation and intrigue among the audience.

Dr. Spatola-Knoll is an award-winning conductor, musicologist, champion for unheard voices, and North America’s foremost expert on Andrée. The world premiere of his edition of her Intermezzo on March 16th was a testament to his unique expertise. Under his graceful guidance, the orchestra showcased their light touch and skill by performing this lovely, romantic piece, likely previously unknown to them and or the audience, until it was programmed this season.

Following the well-deserved applause for Dr. Spatola-Knoll and the Symphony Tacoma musicians, Sarah returned to the stage, accompanied by Brazilian pianist Ronaldo Rolim. From the first touch of the keys, Rolim’s virtuosic prowess and power were palpable. The orchestra and Rolim weaved through Liszt’s famous Piano Concerto No. 2; their energy unwavering despite the heart-racing workout it must have been.
 
The lights dimmed, Sarah raised her baton, and those four famous notes rang out across the concert hall, crisp and clean as the spring sunshine Tacoma was honored with earlier that evening. Everyone was transformed and transfixed throughout the four movements of Beethoven’s masterpiece Symphony No. 5.