Concert Wrap-Up: Symphony Tacoma’s “Transformation”

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


On Saturday, March 16th, Symphony Tacoma filled the Pantages Theater stage for Transformation, their fourth classic concert of the season. As the pre-concert announcements concluded, Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides delivered a surprising twist. She announced that she would not be conducting the first piece of the evening, Elfrida Andrée’s Intermezzo. Instead, she handed over the podium to her conducting assistant, Dr. Jonathan Spatola-Knoll, sparking a wave of anticipation and intrigue among the audience.

Dr. Spatola-Knoll is an award-winning conductor, musicologist, champion for unheard voices, and North America’s foremost expert on Andrée. The world premiere of his edition of her Intermezzo on March 16th was a testament to his unique expertise. Under his graceful guidance, the orchestra showcased their light touch and skill by performing this lovely, romantic piece, likely previously unknown to them and or the audience, until it was programmed this season.

Following the well-deserved applause for Dr. Spatola-Knoll and the Symphony Tacoma musicians, Sarah returned to the stage, accompanied by Brazilian pianist Ronaldo Rolim. From the first touch of the keys, Rolim’s virtuosic prowess and power were palpable. The orchestra and Rolim weaved through Liszt’s famous Piano Concerto No. 2; their energy unwavering despite the heart-racing workout it must have been.
The lights dimmed, Sarah raised her baton, and those four famous notes rang out across the concert hall, crisp and clean as the spring sunshine Tacoma was honored with earlier that evening. Everyone was transformed and transfixed throughout the four movements of Beethoven’s masterpiece Symphony No. 5.
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