Mission: Building Community Through Music
Vision: Innovative. Vibrant. Engaging. Everywhere!
Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition, Symphony Tacoma (formerly Tacoma Symphony Orchestra) has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape for 70 years. In 2014, Symphony Tacoma welcomed new music director Sarah Ioannides, whom the Los Angeles Times called “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.”
Established in 1946 with 30 volunteer musicians from the University of Puget Sound, the organization was professionalized in 1993 under the leadership of Harvey Felder, now conductor laureate. Today’s Symphony Tacoma is a metropolitan professional symphony orchestra with eighty-plus orchestral musicians and a volunteer chorus of 70. Keeping live musical performance alive in the heart of the region, Symphony Tacoma concertizes for an annual audience of nearly 20,000 citizens throughout Pierce County and the Greater Puget Sound area.
Programmatically the Symphony’s core season includes five main-series classical concerts, holiday choral pops and springtime orchestral pops, and annual performances of Handel’s Messiah. These concerts are primarily held at the downtown Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in the historic Pantages and Rialto theaters, where Symphony Tacoma has been one of the primary resident arts organizations for more than 30 years. It also appears frequently with celebrity guest artists—Chris Botti, Jackie Evancho, Wynonna, Kenny Rogers and more—at Tacoma Dome and Washington State Fair.
A growing menu of community engagement activities includes Mini Maestros, an interactive series for children ages 2-8 featuring reduced orchestra and chamber ensembles; and Simply Symphonic, an educational series for fourth and fifth graders with a curriculum partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Link Up program. In addition, Symphony Tacoma’s principal string musicians offer regular coaching for orchestra students in underserved Tacoma high schools, and master classes for the Tacoma Youth Symphony’s senior orchestra.
Deeply committed to its role as one of the hubs of Tacoma’s cultural sector, Symphony Tacoma is dedicated to the belief that the community is made stronger and more vibrant by experiencing great music together.