– New York Times
Sarah Ioannides has gained recognition as one of the most inspiring and creative conductors of her generation. Now in her seventh season as Music Director of Symphony Tacoma, Sarah is active internationally as a guest conductor with many orchestras including the Tonkünstler, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao, Seattle Symphony (Untitled Series), Calgary Philharmonic, Santa Rosa Symphony, the Chamber Orchestras of Philadelphia and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, among others. She has recorded world premieres with the Royal Philharmonic and most recently with the Malmö Symphony and Nordic Chamber Orchestra for a CD of music by Marie Samuelsson released in 2019.
Described by the New York Times as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority” and as a conductor with “magic,” Sarah Ioannides’ dynamic presence on the podium has won praise from audience and critics internationally. Named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium,” Sarah was included as one of the leading female conductors worldwide by Norman Lebrecht’s “Woman Conductors: The Power List.”
Sarah is the founding Artistic Director of Cascade Conducting and Composing, an international masterclass held in partnership with Symphony Tacoma. She is on the conducting faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music’s Young Artists Summer Program. As an arts advocate, Ms. Ioannides is active an adjudicator, panelist, public speaker, and educator and has served both as a delegate at the World Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi and as National Endowment for the Arts Panelist for the U.S. Government.
Sarah is the producer of the Symphony Tacoma’s Encore Series, creating over twenty music videos for digital release, as well as curator of the Interludes Series, a series of chamber music online performances. As host and artistic director for the Saturday Night Casual Conversations, she explores the artistry behind the musical landscape in addition to stimulating conversations with the orchestra’s musicians, soloists, and composers. Each of these programs was designed to reconnect the community through the time of social distancing and have expanded audiences, engaged new collaborative partners, presented new performances and re-lived past performances. All available on Symphony Tacoma’s YouTube Channel.
Previously, Sarah was Music Director of the El Paso Symphony, the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, and Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Under her leadership, both the Symphony Tacoma and the Spartanburg Philharmonic received ArtWork grants from the National Endowment for the Arts to commission, collaborate, and perform new works with innovative presentation strategies and community engagement.
Sarah has directed and commissioned films for live orchestral multimedia performances including new films for Holst’s The Planets and Steve Reich’s The Desert Music. In 2016, she produced a new multimedia art film to accompany Milhaud’s Creation du Monde, directed by Brad McCombs, using artworks selected from the Cincinnati Art Museum, international collections and her own paintings, which was shown in performance at Cincinnati’s Summermusik Festival. In a collaboration with the National Parks Association, Tacoma’s Museum of Glass and Hilltop Artists, project “Fire-Mountain” gave birth to a double premiere under her direction with music by Daniel Ott and film by Derek Klein. Passionate about engaging the community, she received three proclamations for “Sarah Ioannides’ Day” from both the County and the City of Spartanburg and the city of Tacoma for community involvement.
A zealous supporter of new music and multimedia artistic collaborations, Sarah has conducted over fifty premieres. As collaborator and assistant to composer/conductor Tan Dun she conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Flemish Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Oregon Bach Festival. She was the first conductor chosen by him to conduct Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew at the Perth International Arts Festival and the Metamorphosis Festival in Athens in 2016, Sarah has led many operas and conducted at festivals worldwide, including the European premiere of Stephen Paulus’ The Woodlanders in Oxford, British Youth Opera, Curtis Opera Theatre, and Spoleto Festival. Sarah was guest Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs, and Music Director of Oxford University’s Philharmonia and Opera.
Sarah’s musical career began early as a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Great Britain and a horn player in the Surrey County Youth Orchestra. Admitted as an instrumental scholar on violin, Sarah was granted both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University. Furthering her education at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she received her Advanced Certificate in Conducting. As a Fulbright Scholar, Sarah pursued further training with Otto-Werner Mueller at The Curtis Institute of Music earning a Diploma in Conducting and at The Juilliard School with a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting.