An international search spanning two years and encompassing more than 100 prospects has reached a conclusion with the appointment of Sarah Ioannides as the next music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times described her as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority,” and her dynamic presence has won praise from audiences and critics internationally, with engagements spanning five continents.
TSO President Dick Ammerman said in a press release that Ioannides’ “spectacular debut” with the orchestra last February made a deep and lasting impression on the board, orchestra and patrons. “We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership that will take the TSO to new heights of artistic vibrancy and community engagement.”
Ioannides was equally effusive about her new appointment. “The Tacoma Symphony Orchestra found a way into my heart in February 2013. The experience we had making music together was very special that week. Not only did I find great chemistry with the musicians, but also felt at one with the audience that evening, and with the entire community during my weeklong visit.” She says she is excited to anticipate her future in Tacoma. “May we be part of the wave that brings music to more and more people’s hearts from all walks of life, and sustain the gifts of music through engaging live performances over the next decade.”
Ioannides says that her love for music started when she was a toddler. Her mother had to encourage her to go outside and play, as she was often glued to her gramophone listening to her favorite pieces.
One of her missions, she says, is to spark that joy and appreciation with other children. Along with her duties as conductor, she will be working to “invigorate the connection” between schoolchildren and the symphony. “The key is to find what sparks the kids’ interest,” she explained. “It’s about using music to bring out what already exists inside and help them to make a connection between their feelings and music.” We want to “convince them of why it makes a difference” to know and live through music, says Ioannides.
Ioannides’ initial contract with Tacoma Symphony Orchestra spans a full five seasons, beginning July 1, 2014. She is already at work with TSO officials in planning her inaugural season, which is slated to open on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014.