Described by The New York Times as a conductor of “unquestionable strength and authority,” Sarah Ioannides has won praise from audience and critics internationally. Now in her fourth Season as Music Director of Symphony Tacoma, Ms. Ioannides has gained recognition as one of the most engaging and respected conductors of her generation. She was Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra from 2005 through 2017 and the El Paso Symphony between 2005 and 2011.
With guest engagements spanning six continents, Sarah Ioannides has appeared internationally with the Tonkünstler Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de Lyon, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Flemish Radio Orchestra, National Symphony of Colombia, Daejeon Philharmonic, Translyvannia Philharmonic Orchestra, Wuttenbergisches Kammerorchester, and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. Ms. Ioannides has also led orchestras extensively in the United States including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra, and the orchestras of Charleston, Hawai’i, New Haven, New West, North Carolina, Toledo and Tulsa. She has also appeared in special engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New World Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Listed in 2016 as one of the top 20 female conductors worldwide by Lebrecht’s “Woman Conductors: The Power List,” Ms. Ioannides was named by the Los Angeles Times as “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.” Noted in The New York Times as part of “a new wave of female conductors in their late 20’s through early 40’s,” she was awarded the JoAnn Falletta award for the most promising female conductor. She has served on numerous advisory boards, as a competition adjudicator, public speaker, educator, and as panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts in the United States. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, she received three proclamations of Sarah Ioannides’ Day from both Spartanburg City and County, as well as the City of Tacoma.
A zealous supporter of living composers, Ms. Ioannides has conducted over 40 World, North American and European premieres. She formerly served as Assistant Conductor & Production Coordinator for composer Tan Dun between 1999 and 2003. As such, she conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Flemish Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Oregon Bach Festival. The first to be selected by Tan Dun to conduct his Water Passion After St. Matthew at the Perth International Arts Festival and the Metamorphosis Festival in Athens in 2016, Ms. Ioannides has led many operas and conducted at festivals worldwide—including the European premiere of Stephen Paulus’ The Woodlanders in Oxford, British Youth Opera, Curtis Opera Theatre, and Spoleto Festival. She remains a regular collaborator with Tan Dun and a champion of his music.
Formerly the Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Sarah Ioannides also held appointments as guest Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs, and Music Director of the Cincinnati Youth Symphony and Oxford University’s Philharmonia and Opera. Under her leadership, both Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma have received ArtWorks grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, awarded for creativity in collaborations, community and commissioning projects. She is now well recognized for her skills as a musical curator and adventurous programming.
Ms. Ioannides has directed and commissioned films for live orchestral multimedia performances including new films for Holst’s The Planets and Steve Reich’s The Desert Music. In 2016 she produced a new multimedia art film to accompany Milhaud’s Creation du Monde, directed by Brad McCombs, using artwork selected from the Cincinnati Art Museum, international collections and Ioannides’ personal paintings. This was shown in performance at Cincinnati’s Summermusik Festival. In collaboration with the National Park Service, Tacoma’s Museum of Glass and Hilltop Artists, a project called Fire-Mountain gave birth to a 2017 double premiere (under her direction) with music by Daniel Ott and film by Derek Klein.
Beginning her performing career at an early age as violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and horn player in the Surrey County Youth Orchestra from the age of 11, she earned master’s degrees from Oxford University and Juilliard School of Music. Following her studies at the Guildhall School of Music, she came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar attending the Curtis Institute of Music—eventually becoming the assistant and protégé of the late Otto-Werner Mueller and also training in St. Petersburg under the Presser Award. Sarah Ioannides is married to trombonist Scott Hartman and is mother to twins, Elsa and Karl (7), and Audrey (9).