Concert Review:​ Rhapsody! – Stunning Opening to Symphony Tacoma Season

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


On the evening of October 14, 2023, the Pantages Theater in Tacoma, Washington was the stage for an unforgettable orchestra concert, thanks to Symphony Tacoma and conductor, Sarah Ioannides. “Rhapsody!” was the first concert for Symphony Tacoma’s 2023-24 season, and included Mackenzie Melemed as the piano soloist.  With a variety of music on the program, this concert was an impressive demonstration of the orchestra’s remarkable skill and versatility.

The opening work by Lili Boulanger, D’un Matin du Printemps (Of a Spring Morning), was a colorful and vivid orchestral tone poem…Under Ioannides the orchestra played with precision and grace.

Symphony Tacoma, under the direction of Music Director Sarah Ioannides, also deserves high praise for their role in the Rachmaninoff. The orchestra provided a lush and dynamic backdrop for Melemed’s performance.  The interplay of roles between the orchestra and piano solo were clear and convincing.  Melemed was the focus of attention, and the orchestra never overstepped it’s role.

The concert’s second half was an interesting contrast of waltzes, Ravel’s La Valse, and Strauss; Suite from Der RosenkavalierLa Valse is a unique orchestral work, with a unique emotional impact.  Symphony Tacoma was impressive with their navigating the tricky turns of phrases, and demanding technical playing required in La Valse.  The whirlwind ending was full of crazy energy.  This performance was a wonderful spectacle for Tacoma to enjoy.

….Rosenkavalier was especially breathtaking. The intensity and pacing of this passage highlighted the artistry Symphony Tacoma has developed under Sarah Ioannides leadership.   

It was a big evening, filled with big music. Mackenzie Melemed was wonderful. Sarah Ioannides and Symphony Tacoma played with remarkable skill and versatility. The audience left moved and inspired. It was an exceptional and unforgettable night of music for our community.

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