Concert Review: Inviting Us Together with Arx Duo and Symphony Tacoma, from Bartok to Beethoven to DiBerardino

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

What makes a thing a whole, a unity? Thoughts of how parts separate and come together, how contrasts remain connected by their differences and enable us to return to the familiar, were prominent during Saturday evening’s concert (Saturday, Apr 22, 2023) at the Pantages Theater, titled Dancing Mallets & Pulsing Percussion. Symphony Tacoma, led by conductor Sarah Ioannides, gave a driving and joyful performance of works old and new, including the world premiere of Nick DiBerardino’s Double Percussion Concerto for which they were joined by the night’s featured soloists, Garrett Arney and Mari Yoshinaga of Arx Duo.

As though in answer to an unspoken question, the full weight of the orchestra opened from an explosive point, joined by Garrett Arney and Mari Yoshinaga on a pair of marimbas. Immediately the parts diverged, as contrasting rhythms and themes scattered across the hall. …In a conversation the day before, arx duo discussed the Double Percussion Concerto, “When someone sees a concerto for percussion, they expect to hear something loud, with virtuosic and exposed percussion parts, but [the Double Percussion Concerto] is actually very delicate, detailed, and in harmony with the ensemble . . . It’s not just a cool percussion piece, it’s a cool piece with a feature of percussion.” The audience on Saturday night responded with an immediate and enthusiastic reaction, as one concert-goer exclaimed afterwards, “It blew my mind!”

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