Symphony Tacoma 75th Anniversary Season Finale Features Array of Stunning Classical Works

Symphony Tacoma 75th Anniversary Season Finale Features Array of Stunning Classical Works

Symphony Tacoma 75th Anniversary Season Finale Features Array of Stunning Classical Works

This concert showcases a delightful array of contrasting styles: from the “rhapsodic dance” and integration of African music into the classical tradition of The Bamboula, to the romanticism of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 and the breathtaking complexity of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Natasha Paremski.

The concert will open with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s The Bamboula, a “rhapsodic dance for orchestra.” The son of a Creole man from Sierra Leone and a white English woman, Coleridge-Taylor explored his own Creole and African heritage and endeavored to create a romantic Nationalism rooted in Black music. 

(…) Guest soloist Natasha Paremski will join the orchestra to perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. No stranger to the Rachmaninoff repertoire, Paremski’s prowess was described by the Chicago Tribune as “by turns pensive and tempestuous, warmly songful and brazenly fast.” With her consistently striking and dynamic performances, Paremski wins over audiences with her musical sensibility and flawless technique.

Review: A Prayer on the Mountaintop

Review: A Prayer on the Mountaintop

A Prayer on the Mountaintop

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

Symphony Tacoma’s “Classics V” on April 30 rings with profound meditation, declamation and joy.

(…) But it was in the quiet stillness, the “mountaintop” from the final speech of Dr. Martin Luther King which inspired Danielpour’s composition, that McGill truly shone. With unbelievable breath and tone control, he climbed ever-longer phrases to a sublime pianissimo pinnacle, expressing both ultimate, transformative peace and the deep suffering that had led to it.

Where does an orchestra go after the mountaintop? Down to the river, of course – in this case, the Rhine. On paper, Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, the “Rhenish”, wouldn’t seem to be a likely piece to follow a passionate expression of the Civil Rights Movement. But in musical reality, it was perfect.

(…) The orchestra swept through the flowing waves of this river-inspired symphony. Fruity bass chords, light-hearted violins and a horn section clearly relishing every majestic note of their many solos – all shaped into meaningful structure and build under the baton of Sarah Ioannides. Like the sun after a storm, or the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth, it drew together the narratives of sorrow, stress and separation, reminding us all of what it is to be human together in the beauty of the world.

Newsletter: Eight World Premieres and Spring Performances in Abundance

Newsletter: Eight World Premieres and Spring Performances in Abundance

Newsletter: Eight World Premieres and Spring Performances in Abundance

Last month, Sarah Ioannides conducted seven exciting premieres…(more to come!)…

Two very special programs with Symphony Tacoma featuring guest artists, violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Pallavi Mahidhara concluded the Composer-In-Residence program with David Serkin Ludwig; the world premiere of an oratorio with an important and timely message on nature conservation called “The Bleeding Pines” written for Symphony Tacoma and Tacoma Voices, and the Violin Concerto he created for his wife Bella Hristova.

Following this, Sarah led Curtis Symphony Orchestra for performances and recordings of six talented Curtis composers including Nathan Bales, Elise Arancio, Maya Miro Johnson, Alistair Coleman, Adrian Wong, and Leigha Amick.

Bleeding Pines and a Nature-Filled Fantasia

Bleeding Pines and a Nature-Filled Fantasia

Bleeding Pines and a Nature-Filled Fantasia

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

Symphony Tacoma’s Classics IV concert at the Pantages Theater Saturday night, was about nature: its shining beauty, and how we have the power to destroy it or save it. And the message’s composers, not coincidentally, were both called Ludwig.

The night began with Pallavi Mahidhara sailing her way through Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4 like a stately galleon over a calm ocean. (…) Helming the orchestra, Sarah Ioannides, also known for superb control, echoed Mahidhara’s tone in each interjection.

World-premiered at this concert, “The Bleeding Pines” is a 10-minute story about what happens when humans nearly destroy a forest, and the power of one person to save it. It’s based on a poem by North Carolina poet Ray Owen, who tells how 90 million acres of an ancient longleaf pine forest was hacked and cut for sap to make turpentine, dwindling to just 3,000 acres before being saved in the early 1900s by conservationist Helen Boyd Dull. Symphony Tacoma Voices called out the forest’s story with passion, confidence and clarity. “The Bleeding Pines” is altogether a powerful, painterly piece, starkly conveying both the destruction and the hope of salvation that humans hold over nature, and themselves.

A final encore – Mahidhara accompanying Symphony Tacoma Voices in the sonorous harmonies of the Ukrainian national anthem, with everyone standing in honor – seemed to confirm that hope against the precariousness of our current world.

Symphony Tacoma to Receive Catalyst Fund Incubator Grant

Symphony Tacoma to Receive Catalyst Fund Incubator Grant

Symphony Tacoma One of 20 U.S. Orchestras to Receive Catalyst Fund Incubator Grant to Accelerate Organizational Inclusivity

Grantmaking program reimagines orchestras as laboratories for the field, developing strategies and utilizing a peer-focused curriculum to help drive field-wide change 

Symphony Tacoma is excited to announce we are the recipient of a $75,000 grant from The League of American Orchestras to help create a more equitable organizational culture through collaborative, peer-driven learning opportunities. Given to just twenty orchestras nationwide, the three-year grants are made possible by a $2.1 million leadership grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

The Catalyst Fund Incubator drives change by incorporating models from high-tech incubators, such as creating strong peer communities for brainstorming and strategizing and developing new ideas through mentorships. An important element of the program focuses on building capacity to attract new resources—including funding and partnerships—for the orchestras’ equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work.

Symphony Tacoma with Works by Beethoven and a World Premiere by David Ludwig

Symphony Tacoma with Works by Beethoven and a World Premiere by David Ludwig

Symphony Tacoma’s Classics IV Concert Celebrates Piano and Chorus with Works by Beethoven and a World Premiere by David Ludwig

Symphony Tacoma’s March performance presents works that celebrate piano and chorus by composers David Ludwig and Ludwig van Beethoven. Pianist Pallavi Mahidhara and Symphony Tacoma Voices will join the orchestra for the performance on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater.

Leading off the program is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. Hailed as “the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever,” this piece is noted for its unprecedented construct of opening with solo piano, played by Beethoven himself at its premiere. Mahidhara will bring this laudable work to life, now considered a staple of piano concerto literature.

Symphony Tacoma is honored to present the world premiere of The Bleeding Pines by David Ludwig, Symphony Tacoma’s first Composer in Residence from 2019 to 2021. Drawing on themes from “Choral Fantasy,” the work features Symphony Tacoma Voices and is based on a play by poet Ray Owen. The poem tells the story of North Carolina’s endangered Round Top Long Leaf Pine forest and one woman’s efforts to save that ancient tract of land from oblivion.