Published on February 28th, 2024

FOR RELEASE ON: February 28, 2024                                                           
Contact: Jennifer Cargile, (253) 272-7264



Symphony Tacoma Announces Contract Extension

of Music Director Sarah Ioannides


Tacoma, WA – February 28, 2024 – Symphony Tacoma announces the extension of Music Director Sarah Ioannides’ contract through the 2028-2029 Season. Described by The New York Times as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority,” and a “dynamo of a music director,” by the The New Tribune, Sarah began her tenure with Symphony Tacoma in 2014 after a two-year international search. In the last ten seasons, her inclusive leadership style and progressive artistic vision have brought the orchestra a new level.


“Sarah is leading Symphony Tacoma toward a reimagined vision, with creative programming and dynamic musical performances that reflect the community we serve,” said Symphony Tacoma Board President Rick Meeder. “She continues to stretch our orchestra – and our audience – with works by less-known and living composers, along with fresh takes on more familiar symphonic music. We look forward to more musical highlights and memorable moments in the seasons ahead with Sarah on the podium.”


Sarah remarked, “I am excited to lead this fine orchestra through our next phase of development. I’m truly honored by this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing our journey with such an amazing group of musicians, patrons, and supporters.”


Since her arrival, Symphony Tacoma has been the recipient of multiple national awards for artistic excellence and creativity, including the National Endowment for the Arts, League of American Orchestra, Women Philharmonic Advocacy and Heritage League of Pierce County Awards. Under her leadership the orchestra has expanded its core offerings and education programs to include Carnegie Hall’s award-winning Link Up curriculum, and Symphony2U, which bolsters the existing music programs in underserved Tacoma School District schools.


After becoming the first woman to hold a full-time conducting position with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ioannides has gone on to lead orchestras nationally including Buffalo, Hawai’i, Rochester, Louisville, Florida, San Antonio, North Carolina, and the Sarasota Orchestras. Internationally she has been the guest conductor on seven continents, including the Bilbao Symphony, Malmö Symphony, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Tonkünstler-Orchester (Vienna), Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Concertgebeouw Orchestra.


Ioannides is the founding Artistic Director of Cascade Conducting, based in the Pacific Northwest, an annual summer program for conductors and composers which offers scholarships to diverse musicians internationally and is now entering its seventh season. Her passion for education has taken her to youth orchestras worldwide including Simón Bolívar Symphony, Youth Orchestra of Andalucía, and South African National Youth Orchestra, as well as the conservatories of Yale University, Indiana University, and the Curtis Institute of Music.


Ioannides is recognized in the industry for her many community collaborations, creativity, and diverse programming, was a speaker at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s “Women in Classical Music Symposium” and the League of American Orchestras Conference in 2023.


A recipient of numerous conducting prizes and awards, she came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar attending the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School, following receiving a Masters in Music at Oxford University. Serving on numerous advisory boards, as a competition adjudicator, and as a public speaker, she has served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts for the US Government.



Building community through music. Symphony Tacoma is a dynamic professional orchestra composed of local musicians dedicated to making great music accessible to all. Led by Music Director Sarah Ioannides, the orchestra is committed to engaging, educating, and inspiring the community through transformative musical experiences. www.symphonytacoma.org