News: Sarasota Orchestra December Programs Inspire Joy and Discovery for the Holiday Season

News: Sarasota Orchestra December Programs Inspire Joy and Discovery for the Holiday Season

News: Sarasota Orchestra December Programs Inspire Joy and Discovery for the Holiday Season

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

Sarasota Orchestra brings joy to the season with favorites including its popular holiday-themed Great Escapes program. Lina González-Granados and Sarah Ioannides, already acclaimed conductors nationally and internationally, make their debuts on the Masterworks and Discoveries series, respectively, presenting inspired programs that include works by musical influencers and young composers alike.

Oxford-trained conductor Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma, leads a program devoted to musical influencers-and those whom they inspired. Berlioz and Schumann both greatly admired the music of innovative 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc, who battled sexism in music-and won. Liszt got the idea for Christus, an oratorio about the life of Christ, from Handel’s Messiah. In his exuberant Symphony in C Major, Bizet not only emulates, but directly quotes, his teacher Gounod.

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.

Female conductors, composers are still rarities in classical music. How can that change?

Female conductors, composers are still rarities in classical music. How can that change?

Female conductors, composers are still rarities in classical music. How can that change?

Sarah Ioannides at Dallas Symphony Woman Symposium

In the U.S., the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Nathalie Stutzmann is the only female music director at a major orchestra. Both the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras have never been led by female music directors, though the DSO has hired several female assistant conductors over the past few decades, and appointed Gemma New as principal guest conductor in 2018. The FWSO has also brought in more female guest conductors in recent seasons. Classical music groups across the country have also been programming more female composers, but they are still underrepresented.

The DSO’s fourth annual Women in Classical Music Symposium will address the lingering gender gaps — and speak to the challenges facing women moving toward leadership roles in classical music. From Nov. 6-9, the symposium will include panels and workshops to help attendees navigate barriers in the field. Around 300 people are expected to attend the event, including students from South Dallas, SMU and Plano ISD who have been invited to participate in some of the panels.

Participants can attend networking events and discussions on topics like the challenges of balancing work and personal life and the experiences of Black women in U.S. orchestras. The symposium will also feature a documentary viewing and discussion about Zohra, Afghanistan’s all-women orchestra that was evacuated from the country when the Taliban retook control.

A Nov. 8 symposium panel called “The Burden of Breaking Through: Power Structures and Paths to Progress” will be moderated by Elizabeth Myong, a reporter and producer for Arts Access — a new partnership between The Dallas Morning News and KERA. Vocalist Katherine Goforth, conductor Sarah Ioannides and DSO composer-in-residence Angélica Negrón will discuss how they’ve overcome barriers in classical music and the way biases and power dynamics contribute to the challenges they face.

Concert Preview: Grammy Award-winning Cellist Zuill Bailey Joins Symphony Tacoma for Caught in Love on November 19

Concert Preview: Grammy Award-winning Cellist Zuill Bailey Joins Symphony Tacoma for Caught in Love on November 19

Concert Preview: Grammy Award-winning Cellist Zuill Bailey Joins Symphony Tacoma for Caught in Love on November 19

Zuill Bailey
Symphony Tacoma welcomes internationally-renowned cellist Zuill Bailey to the Pantages stage for its November performance, Caught in Love. Comprising works characterized by their profound intensity, the concert will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm.

Widely considered one of the premier cellists today, Bailey performs on the “rosette” 1693 Gofriller cello, formerly owned by Mischa Schneider of the Budapest String Quartet. His rare combination of celebrated artistry, technical wizardry and engaging personality has secured his place as one of the most sought-after and active cellists today.

Bailey will perform Dvořák’s powerful Cello Concerto, sometimes called the “king of cello concertos.” One of the most musically demanding of all cello concerti, it is admired for the richness of its orchestral music as well as the lyrical writing for the solo cello. The soulful second movement reflects Dvořák’s mourning of the death of (and his unrequited love for) Josefina, his former piano pupil and his wife’s sister. Dvořák offers a final farewell to Josefina in the coda, which he described as “a gradual diminuendo, like a breath.”

Contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, poetry and social consciousness. In Caught by the Wind, she evokes images of movement. She describes the piece as being “about cycles—whether bicycles, life cycles, or wind cycles—it spins, journeys and winds, gets caught and ultimately comes to its end.”

Preceding the concert will be The Inside Scoop, a conversation moderated by PLU Professor Dr. Gregory Youtz with Bailey and Music Director Sarah Ioannides. All ticket holders are invited to participate in this event beginning at 6 pm in the concert hall.

News: Walk For Reconciliation Builds New ‘Tacoma Method’

News: Walk For Reconciliation Builds New ‘Tacoma Method’

News: Walk For Reconciliation Builds New ‘Tacoma Method’

Sarah Ioannides | Symphony Tacoma Music Director | Female Conductor and Composer
Sunny skies and a spirit of true togetherness greeted people of all ages, cultures and colors on Saturday morning, Oct. 29, for the much-anticipated Walk for Reconciliation Against Racism. A certain air of goodwill filled Tollefson Plaza as friends and strangers alike greeted and smiled at each other knowing why they were there and what it meant to foster healing in this era of heightened political division and racial tension.

The event was primarily a day of remembrance for the 137th anniversary of when every Chinese resident was forcibly expelled from Tacoma on Nov. 3, 1885. The particularly inhumane and violent way that city leaders at the time pushed Chinese men, women, children and elders out of town came to be known as “The Tacoma Method” and it was applied to other Chinese communities from Seattle to Olympia and down the west coast. The walk was also a day to reclaim that chilling term and build a new meaning based on peace, unity, inclusion, and respect.

Later in the program, winners of the walk’s high school essay contest were brought to the stage to read their essays and receive awards. Then Symphony Tacoma Conductor Sarah Ioannides, librettist Zhang Er, and Pacific Lutheran University composer and music instructor Greg Youtz, who also serves on the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation board, talked about a new opera that Youtz and Er have written entitled “The Tacoma Method.” In her research, Er came across Mr. Lum May’s written court affidavit on what happened on that Nov. 3 of 137 years ago,making this opera based on the true story.

Concert Review: Symphony Tacoma Comes Up Roses

Concert Review: Symphony Tacoma Comes Up Roses

Concert Review: Symphony Tacoma Comes Up Roses

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

Rosemary Ponnekanti for South Sound Magazine

With Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, the orchestra came into its own. Seldom heard, this piece is just one example of some thoughtful and creative programming by Ioannides during the coming season, which also includes works by Black and female composers, a couple premieres, and a tango-inspired finale.

On Saturday night, the orchestra gave us a taste of what that creativity could sound like. From the dark shadows and fierce percussion of the first movement’s strident march, through the eerie haunted-ballroom waltz of a second movement complete with slithery clarinets and dancing strings, to the skittering 6/8 of a finale full of chattering xylophone and strident brass, this was a bouquet of roses in purple and black.

While each section had some shining moments — luscious saxophone, lilting bassoon, dark clouds of cello and bass — the best part was the rubati in the waltz. Following Ioannides’ masterful architecture and intense coaxing, every musician played the expressive hesitations as as a single mind, like a ballroom of perfectly whirling spirits.

It was a true musical bouquet, received so enthusiastically that even the Pantages’ rumored ghost seemed to put in an appearance, flickering the balcony lights appreciatively when the music reached its spookiest passages.

News: Sarasota Orchestra December Programs Inspire Joy and Discovery for the Holiday Season

‘Rachmaninoff and Roses’ Opens Symphony Tacoma’s 2022-2023 Season

‘Rachmaninoff and Roses’ Opens Symphony Tacoma’s 2022-2023 Season

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

Symphony Tacoma will kick off its 2022-2023 season with a program of works that share a theme of ‘lush romance’. The concert will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

Opening the concert is Rose Absolute, a contemporary piece by Japanese composer Karen Tanaka. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians calls Tanaka’s music “delicate and emotive, beautifully crafted, showing a refined ear for both detail and large organic shapes…” Her love of nature and concern for the environment has influenced many of her works.