Jens Lindemann, Stephanie Porter to take the Stage for Symphony Sweethearts

Tacoma, Wash.  – Celebrated trumpeter Jens Lindemann—a longtime member of the famed Canadian Brass— will be the featured soloist at Symphony Tacoma’s Symphony Sweethearts concert, taking place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at Tacoma’s Pantages Theater. Conducted by Sarah Ioannides, the performance will include favorites like “Themes from 007,” “My Funny Valentine,” “St. Louis Blues,” “You Made Me Love You,” “Stardust,” “Over the Rainbow,” a medley of Duke Ellington tunes and many others. Lindemann and Ioannides will be joined by Seattle jazz vocalist Stephanie Porter and the Pacific Lutheran University Jazz Ensemble, directed by David Deacon-Joyner.  The concert is sponsored by KeyBank, Marine Floats and Pacific Lutheran University.

Lindemann’s diverse career has seen him perform for audiences ranging from the New York Philharmonic, the London Symphony and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall to the NHL Stanley Cup and Queen Elizabeth. Winner of many of the most prestigious trumpet competitions in the world, Lindemann also serves on the faculty of UCLA.  He is a founding member of All Star Brass, with whom he has released four CDs.

Known for her ability to interpret and bring powerful emotional nuance to a wide range of songs from repertoires including jazz, pop and R&B, KPLU reporters describe Porter as “a favorite not only among jazz listeners, but among jazz artists as well.” The artist is beloved in the Northwest, where she regularly performs for sold out crowds at venues including the Triple Door.

Tickets, starting at $19, are available online or by calling 253-591-5894.

Mini Maestros Series Continues Fifth Season With Jungle Jams

Tacoma, Wash.  – The fifth annual Mini Maestros series for children ages 2-8 and their families continues with a mesmerizing performance titled Jungle Jams.  The program, featuring the Symphony Tacoma Brass Quintet, is hosted by the University of Puget Sound and held at Schneebeck Hall on Sunday, Mar. 19 at 2:30 p.m.

Families are invited to attend dressed in safari gear to get into the spirit of the performance as the brass quintet ushers children on an imaginary visit to the deep, dark jungle. Children will learn how the instruments can sound like animals, and about high and low sounds—the bigger the instrument, the lower the sound. Attendees will enjoy familiar kid-friendly tunes like Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, Mancini’s Pink Panther, and Hakuna Matata from Disney’s Lion King, and parents will watch their little explorers participate in singing, dancing and a march around the globe as they follow host Shay Ryan of Kiddos and Kin up onto the stage to witness the magic up close.

Jungle Jams will be followed by two additional performances: Wacky, Wild World of Percussion on April 30, and Peter and the Wolf on May 21. All take place at 2:30 p.m. on those dates at Schneebeck Hall. A musical instrument “petting zoo” will be held one hour before each concert, with the exception of Peter and the Wolf, allowing children the opportunity to touch and try out instruments.

Ted Brown Music is the series sponsor of Mini Maestros, which is also supported by the Bamford Foundation. Tickets are $7 for children and $10 for adults, plus box office fees. Click here to purchase tickets.

Mountain and Sea: Tacoma Arts Organizations Unite For Climate Awareness

Tacoma, Wash. — Symphony Tacoma, the Museum of Glass and Hilltop Artists are collaborating with Mount Rainier National Park in a multi-event project culminating with the Symphony’s 2016-2017 Season Finale in May. In commemoration of the Centennial of the National Parks System, the multi-layered project will engage area residents in music and glass art and raise awareness of the plight of Mount Rainier’s glaciers, which are melting at an alarming rate.

The first event takes place Thursday, March 16 from 5-8 pm at the Museum of Glass, in conjunction with the museum’s free Third Thursdays.  The Hilltop Artist Association’s team of student artists will collaborate with Symphony Tacoma musicians to engage the public in an experiential relationship with the artistic process, utilizing ice and molten glass. The musicians will perform both composed and improvised music, giving to and receiving from the glass-blowers inspiration as they create performance art interpreting the Mountain and Sea concept and highlighting the contrast between fire and ice.  The event is supported in part by a grant from The Russell Family Foundation.

The molten glass is a metaphor for the flowing magma within the mountain, and the ice reflects the changes to its exterior. Video footage from the event will be incorporated, together with images of Mount Rainier, for a video art piece to accompany the May 13 world premiere of Puyallup native Daniel Ott’s symphony Fire Mountain. The visual depictions of the molten glass and snow-capped peak, together with the chorus vocals, will poignantly illustrate global warming and the resulting glacial melt.  The intention is to create a powerful piece of video art, developed integrally with the music, rather than a documentary. Thus the end result will be a true gesamtkunstwerk:  a multimedia artistic statement utilizing music, glass and video.

A musical portrait of these natural wonders, Fire Mountain will utilize 155 musicians, including the 85-piece Symphony Tacoma orchestra and 70-piece Symphony Tacoma Voices.  As an area native, Dan Ott brings a personal connection to the subject, which will no doubt infuse the music with a range of emotions about this wounded and vulnerable national treasure.

Also performed during the Pantages Theater concert will be Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and Debussy’s Impressionist masterpiece, La Mer.  The program is characteristic of Music Director Sarah Ioannides’s curatorial approach to programming: gem-setting a new artistic creation with colorful, complementary music from the core repertoire and visual elements. The result is a multi-media experience that is challenging yet accessible to audiences.

“Art responds to life, and by building relationships in the community, art can serve as a catalyst for education, growth and transformation in a region,” stated Sarah Ioannides. “Through working in multiple mediums, this partnership seeks to produce an inspiring experience, leaving participants sobered by the gravity of the ecological situation, but hopeful and empowered to undertake an active role in protecting our region.”

Chris Botti to perform with Symphony Tacoma on March 17

Tacoma, Wash.  – Chris Botti and the Symphony Tacoma will perform together to create an unforgettable night of live music at the Tacoma Dome Theater Stage at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 17. Tickets start at $26 and are available at TacomaDome.org.

The Tacoma Dome Theater Stage transforms the iconic 110,000 square foot dome into an intimate theater setting with seating for 2,000-6,000 guests. This unique layout allows patrons to have an up-close experience with excellent views and acoustics.

A GRAMMY Award winner, Botti is known for his collaboration with artists including Sting, John Mayer, Steven Tyler and Vince Gill. Botti has sold more than three million albums, topped Billboard’s Jazz Album listings four times and has performed at numerous prestigious venues, including the White House.

“The first time I played at the Tacoma Dome was my very first show as part of Paul Simon’s band,” said Botti. “We opened the tour there in 1991 and after 25 years, I’m so very excited to be returning with my own band and Symphony Tacoma in March.”

Tickets ($26.50-$86.50) are on sale now at TacomaDome.org, the Tacoma Dome Box Office, or by phone at 800-745-3000. Discounts available for groups of ten or more by calling 253-573-2350. Tickets may be subject to agency convenience charges.

Avery Fisher award-winning violinist Kristin Lee debuts with Sarah Ioannides and Symphony Tacoma

Korean-American violinist Kristin Lee—cited for her “mastery of tone” by The Strad—will make her debut with Symphony Tacoma, conducted by Sarah Ioannides, in Tchaikovsky’s formidable but beloved Violin Concerto.  The concerts will also feature Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, subtitled “Winter Daydreams.”  Sponsored by MultiCare and Retina Macula Specialists, the performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 25 at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 26 in the Rialto Theater.  Tickets, starting at $19, are available at symphonytacoma.org or by calling 253-591-5894 or 1-800-291-7593.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Kristin Lee’s technique as “flawless,” noting that “she has a sense of melodic shaping that reflects an artistic maturity.”  She and Sarah Ioannides are frequent collaborators; they performed together last October in concerts with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden, and have previously concertized in the Dominican Republic and at Ioannides’s other orchestra, the Spartanburg Philharmonic of South Carolina.  No stranger to the Pacific Northwest, just this season Kristin Lee launched the new Emerald City Music series in Seattle and Olympia with a vision to “freshen the chamber music experience, while still holding true to a high level of artistic excellence.”  Winner of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ms. Lee’s recent engagements include her debut with the Milwaukee Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, recitals in New York’s Merkin Concert Hall and Florida’s Kravis Center, and appearances with the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra of China.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was considered artistically challenging when it was unveiled in 1878, and it is still among the most formidable works in the violin repertoire.  His Symphony No. 1, written 10 years earlier when he was a 28-year-old graduate fresh from the Moscow Conservatory, caused the sensitive young composer great anxiety and struggle.  Despite this, he came to regard the piece with fondness, calling it “a sin of my sweet youth.”  Although the work lacks a defined narrative or “program,” the subtitle “Winter Daydreams” was given by the composer himself, and he further characterized its movements with such titles as “Dreams of a Winter Journey,” “Land of Gloom, Land of Mists,” and “The Garden Blooms”—presumably tracing a journey from winter to spring.

Sarah Ioannides has deliberately chosen to pair Tchaikovsky with Mozart in acknowledgement of the Romantic composer’s deep admiration for his fantastically gifted predecessor.  Tchaikovsky adored Mozart, calling his Don Giovanni “the best opera ever written.”  In a letter to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck, the composer revealed that this work “served as a spur to my musical feeling and opened up before me a whole hitherto unknown horizon of the highest musical beauty.  Mozart captivates me, gives me joy and warmth. The longer I live, the closer I get to know him, the more I love him.”

Pianist David Fung Replaces Kuok-Wai Lio

Award-winning pianist David Fung will replace Kuok-Wai Lio as the guest artist at Symphony Tacoma’s Beethoven and Mozart concert, taking place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25 in the Rialto Theater.  Praised for his “superstar qualities” (Le Libre), Mr. Fung has performed with major orchestras in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia and is described by the New York Times as “stylish and articulate.” Widely recognized for his elegant and poetic approach, Fung has also been called uncommonly expressive and intensely poetic by music reviewers.  He will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, the same piece Mr. Lio was slated to present.

Mr. Lio recently canceled his upcoming U.S. appearances, citing personal reasons, according to his management agency, Opus 3 Artists.

“We’re pleased to welcome David Fung, and we appreciate his stepping in on relatively short notice as our guest artist for this upcoming concert,” says Executive Director Andy Buelow. “We wish Kuok-Wai Lio all the best going forward.”

Gabriel Fauré’s Pavane, op. 50 offers a sweetly haunting exchange between melodic and harmonic themes. Mozart’s Symphony No. 29, written when he was just 18 years of age, is the most popular of the composer’s early symphonies.  Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, considered one of the last great Romantic classical pieces, refreshes with meditative introspection. Finally, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, also written when the composer was 18 years old, strikes up a dramatic contrast between playfulness and moodiness with delicious and thoroughly enjoyable tension.

The program is sponsored by Leavitt Group, with support from the Tacoma Philharmonic Endowment.

Join us for Handel’s Messiah

Symphony Tacoma Music Director Sarah Ioannides conducts this inspired holiday classic at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor on Dec. 15 and again at St. Charles Borromeo in Tacoma on Dec. 16.

Handel wrote Messiah in a stunningly short 24 day period. The piece, which music scholars note describes the relationship between humans and the divine, has become one of the best known musical works in the world and a holiday favorite of generations.

Tickets are $30/general, $48/premium.

For more information and tickets to the Chapel Hill concert, click here.

For more information and tickets to the St. Charles Borromeo concert, click here.

Acclaimed saxophonist Amy Dickson performs Northwest premiere of groundbreaking Philip Glass arrangement

Glass concerto is the centerpiece of a program of American music, the second of Symphony Tacoma’s new season

TACOMA – Grammy-nominated saxophonist Amy Dickson—2016 Young Australian of the Year—will perform the Northwest premiere of her arrangement of Philip Glass’s 1987 Violin Concerto with Symphony Tacoma.  Conducted by Sarah Ioannides, the program will also include Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from On the Town.  The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19 in the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway.  Tickets, starting at $19, are available at symphonytacoma.org or by calling 253-591-5894 or 1-800-291-7593.  The program is sponsored by Churchill Management Group and Pacific Northwest Eye Associates.

Gramophone has described Amy Dickson as “a player with a difference who has an individual and unusual tone, luscious, silky-smooth, sultry and voluptuous by turns.”  In 2013 she became both the first saxophonist and the first Australian to win a Classic Brit Award, as MasterCard Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Her arrangement of the Philip Glass Violin Concerto was done with the composer’s approval and cooperation.  For its performance, Dickson had to master the formidable technique of circular breathing:  inhaling through the nose while blowing through the lips.  This enables her to maintain the constant, unrelenting melodic line of the piece, written for a non-wind instrument.  The arrangement was premiered in 2008 and released on CD on the RCA Victor label the following year. AllMusic, in reviewing the disc, declared that “Dickson… makes the Glass concerto sound as though it was written for her instrument, rather than the violin.”

Philip Glass eschews the label of “minimalism,” or more properly “minimal music,” even though he is arguably the school’s most famous composer.  The Violin Concerto No. 1, among his most well-known pieces, was his first for full orchestra.   It was, for him, an uncharacteristically personal work, written for his late father Ben, an ardent classical music lover who particularly enjoyed the great repertoire concertos but “had no education in music whatsoever” (as Glass puts it).

Copland’s most beloved work, Appalachian Spring, was premiered in 1944 by the Martha Graham Ballet Company.  The title, famously, was added not by the composer but by Graham herself after the music had been completed.  The work includes a gorgeous setting of the Shaker tune “Simple Gifts.”  Barber’s Adagio for Strings is a moving, powerful piece that was performed at the funerals of both Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, and used to great effect in the movies Platoon and Elephant Man.

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Symphony Tacoma’s 70th Anniversary Season opens with a new brand, a new name

Violinist Vadim Gluzman joins Sarah Ioannides to kick off her third season with Dvořák’s “New World,” Glazunov’s Violin Concerto, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances

The Symphony Tacoma will celebrate its 70th Anniversary Season with a new name, logo and brand.  Symphony officials are mum on the details, saying that they will be unveiled at the “New World Masquerade Gala” on Friday, October 21—but one thing won’t change: the organization’s dedication to inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition.

“Our goal is to welcome people in to join our active, vibrant musical community,” said Executive Director Andy Buelow.  “In this day of MP3s and IPods, we still believe music is best experienced live as a group activity.  We’re keeping musical performance alive in the heart of our region.”

The season opening is a case in point, with the great violinist Vadim Gluzman, whom Strings Magazine described as “fire walking while fiddling,” performing the Glazunov Violin Concerto on the very 1690 Auer Stradivarius on which the piece was premiered in 1905.  Gluzman provided audiences with a sneak peek this week via a “video post card” on the Symphony’s Facebook page.  He will also be performing Arvo Pärt’s haunting, mysterious Fratres (“brothers”), composed in 1977.  The program of many moods and contrasting sounds will open with Borodin’s rousing Polovtsian Dances, featuring the Symphony Tacoma Chorus, and conclude with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World.”

Sponsored by Gordon Thomas Honeywell and the University of Puget Sound, the concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 22 in the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway in downtown Tacoma.  For tickets, call 253-591-5894 or 800-291-7593 or visit www.symphonytacoma.org.

“We strive for programs that delight an ever-expanding audience, and that engage and transform both performers and listeners,” said Music Director Sarah Ioannides, who enters her third season.  “We invite the community to join us as we enter our 70th season.  We believe our community is stronger and more vibrant as we experience great music together.”

Since the advent of Ioannides two seasons ago, the Symphony has embarked on a remarkable transformation.  Attendance has climbed, with many concerts selling out and ticket revenue up nearly 50% over three seasons.  The orchestra’s caliber has soared, as the players stretch to tackle diverse music across the spectrum—from demanding works of the core repertoire to cutting-edge new music.  The presence of Ioannides has generated buzz regionally and nationally, attracting new players from throughout Washington and surrounding states.  This fall, the Symphony will introduce new Principal Cellist Jake Saunders of Boise; Assistant Principal Cellist Karen Schulz-Harmon of Portland; Principal Trumpet Charles Butler of Seattle; and bass trombonist Benn Hansson of Bellevue.

New subscription orders, starting at $76, are still being accepted. Subscribers save up to 25%—the equivalent of getting two concerts free.  Single tickets start at $19.  The Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours before the performance.

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