Concert Review: Reconciliation 140 Years in the Making

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

Rosemary Ponnekanti for South Sound Magazine

Saturday night Symphony Tacoma continued their 76th season with their third Classics concert, Reconciliation, and premiered a suite of music from Tacoma Method, a new opera from local composer Gregory Youtz and Chinese poet and librettist Zhang Er.

Symphony Tacoma executed Youtz’s new score beautifully. Tacoma Method’s instrumentation blended the sounds of Eurocentric and Chinese instruments, expressing musically the mix of Tacoma’s cultures. The Symphony Tacoma Voices also put up an outstanding performance of this new work, no doubt in thanks to Dr. Geoffrey Boers’ hard work in preparation and rehearsal. However, the true star of the evening was Hai-Ting Chinn. A commanding stage presence, her powerful conveyance of emotion forced those in attendance to feel the plight of the displaced Chinese before they were loaded on train cars at gunpoint and railroaded away from their home forever, in what would become known as the Tacoma Method.

Once we returned from intermission, we were treated to one of the greats of the Romantic era. Ever a stalwart champion of modern music (such as Tacoma Method), Maestra Sarah Ioannides once again demonstrated her mastery of the classics with her world-class showing of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony. Ioannides deftly led the orchestra as the melody of the first movement interweaved though strings, woodwinds, and horns, building to one of the great climaxes of the nineteenth century. The entire symphony was a brilliant lecture on ensemble playing, and the orchestra was a pleasure to listen to the whole evening.

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