Symphony Tacoma Opens 73rd Season with an Original Production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Saturday, October 19 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor

Tacoma School of the Arts actors: Elizabeth (Libby) Patsiga, Annabelle Daniel and Alexandra Vilenius
Gabriel McPherson, narrator and stage director
Mark Thomason, technical director

Prokofiev: Three Suites from Romeo & Juliet


Tacoma, WA— Symphony Tacoma will open its 2019-2020 season on Saturday, October 19 at the Pantages Theater with an original production of Romeo and Juliet. This dramatic program combines Prokofiev’s heart-wrenching ballet score with excerpts from Shakespeare’s epic love story enacted by students from Tacoma’s School of the Arts (SOTA). The performance also marks the beginning Sarah Ioannides’ sixth season as music director.

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet has long been celebrated as a favorite with audiences as both a ballet score and an orchestral concert piece. Originally the movements in each suite were arranged into well-balanced sequences rather than structured narratively chronological. In this program, Ioannides reordered the suites and selected passages from Shakespeare’s play to tell the story of the famous star-crossed lovers.

SOTA students Libby Patsiga (Romeo), Annabelle Daniel (Juliet) and Alexandra Vilenius (Tybalt) will reprise their roles from SOTA’s 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet. SOTA’s Director of Theatrical Arts Gabriel McPherson will play the role of the narrator as well as serve as the stage director, and Director of Technical Theatre and Design Mark Thomason will technical direct the performance. The combination of the music interspersed with dramatic interludes in essence creates a symphonic poem.

Season ticket packages and single concert tickets ($24 to $83) are available through the Tacoma Arts Live box office by calling 253-591-5894 on online. Romeo and Juliet is sponsored by MultiCare, Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Pacific Northwest Eye Associates, The Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation and Northwest Public Broadcasting.


Annabelle Daniel is a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts. She has acted in many productions in the past at Tacoma Youth Theatre but the role of Juliet in the 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet was her first role at SOTA. Outside of theatre, she participates in Girl Scouts and enjoys playing music.

Alexandra Vilenius is a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts. The role of Tybalt in the 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet was her first role at SOTA. She is excited to continue growing as an actress through the next two years with the SOTA theatre program.

Elizabeth (Libby) Patsiga is a junior at Tacoma School of the Arts. The role of Romeo in the 2018 production of Romeo and Juliet was her first of eight roles at SOTA to date.

Gabriel McPherson is the Director of Theatrical Arts at SOTA. For the past twelve seasons, he has also served as Master Teaching Artist, Resident Director, and Resident Composer for the educational programs of Tacoma Arts Live. Gabriel and his writing partner and brother, Luke McPherson, have written four musicals for young audiences and are currently working on a musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men for the Cunningham Commission, scheduled to premiere at Chicago Playworks in 2021. Gabriel has a BFA in acting from the Theater School at DePaul University in Chicago, IL with a minor in music composition. In his prior life, Gabe toured with the first national tour and Broadway productions of Mamma Mia! for over two years. He is also a founding member of Seattle-based rock band Doxology.

Mark Thomason is Director of Technical Theatre and Design at SOTA and occasionally an adjunct professor at UP. Having worked professionally in the theatre industry for twenty years as a stagehand, lighting designer, technical director and production manager, he spends most of his time outside of teaching as a freelance lighting designer throughout the region or managing a film production studio for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. He has produced all the SOTA theatre shows for the last several years.

Symphony Tacoma Voices Auditions Set for Sept. 16

Symphony Tacoma Voices is holding auditions for its 2019-2020 season. Auditions will be scheduled between 5 and 9 pm on September 16 at First United Methodist Church, 621 Tacoma Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98402. Come prepared a simple song to sing (an aria, a folksong, patriotic song, or hymn). You will sing your selection and then vocalize and work a little with Geoffrey Boers. ALL ARE WELCOME!

To schedule an audition, complete the Chorus Interview Form 2019 and send it to Lydia at

Learn more about Symphony Tacoma Voices >>

Symphony Tacoma Announces 2019-2020 Season Presented by MultiCare

Symphony Tacoma’s 73rd season will present eight dynamic programs—six classics and two holiday concerts—that span 300 years of captivating classical music. Featuring major works by Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin, the season will also be punctuated by three prominent works by Beethoven in recognition of his 250th birthday.

“I selected Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” (February), The Creatures of Prometheus (March), and “Choral Fantasy” (March) because these works collectively demonstrate the breadth of talent that is Beethoven,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “I think our audience will really enjoy the diversity of the pieces.”

Works by contemporary composers—including one world premiere and two U.S. premieres—will complement the classics to amplify the theme of each concert. “We programmed this season to be an exciting representation of today’s classical music genre,” says Ioannides. “There is so much new and diverse material to draw from—compositions by women, works accompanied by multimedia and works that feature artists who play non-traditional orchestral instruments. We have incorporated a touch of each of these into our season.”

Guest artists who are masters of instruments ranging from violin and piano to electric guitar will join the orchestra throughout the season, from the Tacoma Youth Chorus and Tacoma School of the Arts, to masters with world-renowned acclaim.

Also this season, Symphony Tacoma welcomes David Serkin Ludwig  as the inaugural artist in the new Composer in Residence program. The grandson of pianist Rudolf Serkin and nephew of pianist Peter Serkin, Ludwig serves as chair of the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music. He is a recipient of the prestigious Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Fellowship in the Arts and was named as one of the “Top 100 Composers Under Forty” in 2012.

Ludwig will bring three pieces to the season, including Bleeding Pines, a new work commissioned for Symphony Tacoma, which will debut in March. Ludwig’s wife Bella Hristova will perform his Violin Concerto in April, and Fanfare for Sam, a work dedicated to composer Samuel Barber, will open the November concert. “We are excited to introduce our Composer in Residence program this year with David as the inaugural artist,” says Ioannides. “Sometimes when you hear just one piece of music you don’t get a full picture of the composer. David is an incredible talent and I really believe in him as a composer.”

Season tickets are on sale through the Tacoma Arts Live Box Office. Packages range from four to eight concerts at up to 25% off single ticket prices. Single concert tickets will go on sale on August 1. Prices range from $24 to $85. To subscribe, call 253-591-5894 or visit

The 2019-2020 season is generously sponsored by MultiCare.

 2019 – 2020 CONCERTS:

Saturday, October 19 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Tacoma School of the Arts, actors

Prokofiev: Suites from Romeo & Juliet

This original production synthesizes Prokofiev’s heart-wrenching ballet score with the most epic love story of all time. Actors from Tacoma’s School of the Arts will enact excerpts from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet throughout this dramatic performance.


Saturday, November 23 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
George Li, piano

David Ludwig: Fanfare for Sam
Brahms: Symphony No. 3
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3

Praised by the Washington Post for combining “staggering technical prowess, a sense of command and depth of expression,” pianist George Li will take on one of the most technically-challenging piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. The program begins with Fanfare for Sam, a tribute to composer Samuel Barber written by Composer in Residence David Ludwig, and Brahms’ poetic Symphony No. 3. Maestra Sarah Ioannides first collaborated with Li on stage with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra when he was just 12 years old.


Sunday, December 8 | 2:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Tacoma Youth Chorus (Judith Herrington, director)

Symphony Tacoma’s annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family. This year’s program features choral masterpieces and festive arrangements that evoke feelings of holiday celebrations at home, whatever your tradition may be.


Friday, December 20 | 7:30 pm
St. Charles Borromeo Church
Geoffrey Boers, conductor
Symphony Tacoma Voices

Perhaps the world’s most well-known and beloved choral work, George Frederick Handel’s Messiah has transcended its time and place to become a “work of the people” shared by audiences and musicians around the world. This holiday classic oratorio is performed by the talented orchestra and vocalists of Symphony Tacoma Voices.


Saturday, February 22 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Michael Nicolella, electric guitar

Delius: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
U.S. PREMIERE Simon Petersson: Spheres
U.S. PREMIERE Yaron Gottfried: Electric Guitar Concerto (with multimedia)
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 “Eroica”

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring is a delightful expression of the beauty of nature. Maestra Sarah Ioannides conducted Simon Petersson’s Spheres in Sweden in 2018 and is excited to bring it to Tacoma. Seattle native Michael Nicolella will perform Israeli composer Yaron Gottfried’s Electric Guitar Concerto, a beautiful classical piece featuring a non-traditional orchestral instrument. The heroic Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works and is widely considered an important landmark in the transition between the Classical period and the Romantic era.


Saturday, March 21 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Pallavi Mahidhara, piano
Symphony Tacoma Voices (Geoffrey Boers, director)

Beethoven: Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 “Jupiter”
WORLD PREMIERE David Ludwig: Bleeding Pines
Beethoven: Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra “Choral Fantasy”

Creatures of Prometheus is Beethoven’s only full-length ballet and shows his lighter side. Mozart’s longest and final symphony “Jupiter” was said to be an inspiration to Beethoven with its five simultaneous melodies. Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” is considered a forerunner to his Ninth Symphony and includes piano and vocal solos as well as chorus. Inspired by “Choral Fantasy,” Composer in Residence David Ludwig draws on its themes in his world-premiere composition, Bleeding Pines which provides a commentary on today’s environmental crisis.


Saturday, April 18 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Bella Hristova, violin

Smetana: Vltava “The Moldau”
David Ludwig: Violin Concerto
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 “Titan”

The works that make up this concert share influences from Bohemia. Smetana’s “The Moldau” is one of seven symphonic poems that pay tribute to the famous Eastern European river. David Ludwig wrote his Violin Concerto for his wife, Bulgarian native and violinist Bella Hristov, who is the featured artist. Mahler’s “Titan” integrates Austro-German folk melodies into this epic symphony.


Saturday, May 9 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, conductor
Charlie Albright, piano

Ravel: La Valse
Boulanger: D’un Matin de Printemps
Boulanger: Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra
Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
Gershwin: An American in Paris

On the centennial of the Roaring Twenties, Symphony Tacoma celebrates the French and American musical influences of the decade. Ravel’s La Valse is a tribute to the Viennese waltz. The Boulanger sisters, both talented composers, left us few—yet notable— works. After Lili’s death at an early age, Nadia stopped composing but her influence continued through her teaching of many important composers of the last century. Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris evoke imagery of the jazz, dance and art that define the era. Tacoma favorite Charlie Albright returns for a third performance with Symphony Tacoma.


Additional 2019-2020 performances featuring Symphony Tacoma:

Friday, May 15 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Presented by Tacoma Arts Live
An immersive concert of music from popular video games


Saturday, June 6 | 7:30 pm
University Place Presbyterian Church
Geoffrey Boers, conductor
Symphony Tacoma Voices

REVIEW: Symphony Tacoma Rises to Beethoven’s Sun

By Rosemary Ponnekanti
Posted on South Sound Magazine

Photo by Karjaka Studios

It’s a tall order to write a piece of music to pair with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. But that’s exactly the order Symphony Tacomadirector Sarah Ioannides made of composer Hannah Lash for the season finale last weekend — and Lash filled the request with music both fresh and timeless.

Commissioning new work has become part of the Tacoma orchestra’s identity since Ioannides, a British conductor hailed as one of the best on Lebrecht’s “Women Conductors: The Power List,” took the helm nearly five years ago.

On Saturday night in the Pantages Theater, however, the music was not only new, but quietly turned the historic male composer archetype on its head. Lash isn’t just a woman, she’s also a professional harpist — an instrument traditionally dominated by women, and the polar opposite to Beethoven’s blustery, piano-percussive modality.

Lash also lives in the 21stcentury and is both acutely aware of our very contemporary challenges (an infinity of light-speed information, a post-post-modern worldview) and has the vision to rise above them.

Yet to speak to Beethoven’s mammoth, iconic Ninth is still daunting. All of this, then, was in play when the upper strings began a delicate waterfall of cascading dotted notes in the world premiere opening of Lash’s “In Hopes of Finding the Sun.”

With quiet revolution, Lash took Beethoven’s own dotted-note violin lines and turned them backwards: the original short upbeat, long downbeat was now reversed into something more lacy, legato and endless. Building the texture with marching timpani, ominous brass and diffident woodwinds, Lash plays with a tonality that’s part neo-Romantic English, part early-American dissonance, with a delightfully minor ambiguity that’s perfect for our point in time.

courtesy of Symphony Tacoma

Over all this came the choir: Symphony Tacoma Chorus, sounding occasionally messy and fragile but mostly solid in their post-modern bursts of chordal recitative that prefigured that famous cello/bass and baritone solo in the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth.

The biggest downside was the chorus articulation, too weak to convey Lash’s beautiful poetry. A haiku-like summary of the fire motif in Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”, it describes the ineffable joy of soaring, dancing and being consumed by a burning sun – at once a metaphor of life, death and unity with the universe.

After 20 minutes of this ethereal, intriguing emotion, Beethoven’s fierce declamations came as the kind of shock they probably were to his 1824 audience. Yet Lash’s voice enabled us to listen for the lighter, more complex moments in the Beethoven — a woman finding the feminine (and the harpist) in this most masculine of artistic hierarchies: classical music.

Symphony Tacoma, under Ioannides’ assured baton, rose to Beethoven’s sun with energy, passion and a full, rich sound that filled the sold-out theater. In the first movement, firm brass chords resonated against the renovated theater’s new shell, violins crisp and timpani exciting, with Ioannides guiding the music like a ship’s captain over stormy waves.

The Molto vivacewas just that, fast and light, the lacy airiness of the triplets interrupted by stomping timpani like a giant among elves. Legato strings, a precise bassoon and expressive oboe led to an ending with flair.

The third movement is a love song, and Ioannides made it flow rather than funereal with long, arching phrases and the triplet section as intimate as a slow waltz. The 5thhorn solo was particularly poignant, sounding as if played offstage.

And then, of course, the finale that everybody waits for: sonorous cello/bass recitative, thoughtful phrases, wistful violins, triumphant brass. Ioannides wove through the tempo changes with precision and grace, and the orchestra followed flawlessly.

The quartet of soloists made a perfect balance of voices: Baritone Charles Robert Stephens warm and personable, tenor Ross Hauck brilliant, mezzo Melissa Plagemann and soprano Kristin Vogel glittery as sunlight on top.

Symphony Tacoma Chorus filled the hall with a dynamic, strong sound, and as the notes flew to their shining destinations, it was as if every question in Hannah Lash’s piece had been answered.

Racing to the Finish Line!

Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director and Executive Director to Run Tacoma City Marathon

Tacoma, WA— Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director Sarah Ioannides and Executive Director Karina Bharne are lacing up their sneakers to run in the Tacoma City Marathon on Sunday, May 5, 2019. They are participating in the half marathon as part of their personal commitment to a healthy lifestyle as well as promoting the impact of Symphony Tacoma to the South Sound community.

“Running is a key part of my fitness regimen that helps to keep me in shape for the podium and maintain long-term overall strength,” says Ioannides. “Like music, it feeds my soul.”

Bharne similarly runs to refuel. “I run to relieve stress and clear my mind so I can focus on what’s most important in my work and home life. Running energizes me—and I take pride in setting and achieving my personal goals.”

After the two agreed to run the race, they realized what a perfect analogy it is to the work they do with Symphony Tacoma. With a mission of “building community through music,” Symphony Tacoma brings classical music to Tacoma through live performances as well as subsidizing tickets and music lessons for students who would not normally be able to afford them. “We work together every day on and offstage to spread the joy and magic of LIVE music,” says Bharne. “Just as physical activity keeps a body healthy and fit, music enriches a community.”

To engage the South Sound, the two have created a Facebook fundraiser to support Symphony Tacoma. The goal of the campaign is $13,100, a nod to the 13.1 miles they will be running. Every dollar raised will be donated directly to Symphony Tacoma to help keep the organization “financially fit” for the 2019-2020 season. “The funds raised will help us actualize our concerts and expand our education programs in the coming year” says Bharne.

People interested in supporting the runners and Symphony Tacoma can donate through Facebook at or they can donate through the Symphony’s website.

Saxophone Fusion: Multi-instrumentalist James Carter fuses jazz saxophone, classical works

Thank you to KNKX for this preview interview with Saxophone Fusion guest artist James Carter. Join us on April 20 and see James perform live at the Pantages Theater! Buy tickets here >> 

Listen to the interview >>

Multi-instrumentalist James Carter performs with Symphony Tacoma this Saturday evening, April 20, at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma. “Saxophone Fusion” presents compositions derived from diverse cultures that feature the luscious sounds of the saxophone with the rich harmonies of the orchestra.

Carter, known for his skillful approach and surprising musical choices, will perform “Caribbean Rhapsody,” his collaborative work with composer Roberto Sierra, as well as “La Creation Du Monde,” the 1922 composition from Darius Milhaund.

Join KNKX tonight at 8 p.m. when we lead off Evening Jazz with some recent conversation between Carter and KNKX director of music programming Carol Handley about Carter’s performance with Symphony Tacoma, his beginnings as a saxophonist and some fun history playing in the Northwest.

Legendary Jazz Saxophonist James Carter Joins Symphony Tacoma for Saxophone Fusion

Tacoma, WA— Symphony Tacoma welcomes jazz saxophone virtuoso James Carter to the Pantages Theater on Saturday, April 20 as the guest soloist for Saxophone Fusion. The program presents compositions derived from diverse cultures that feature the luscious sounds of the saxophone with the rich harmonies of the orchestra.

Opening the program is Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C Major (1834). Although she wrote nearly 500 pieces of music, this work is her only-known full orchestral work. The sister of renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny’s ambitions were limited by the societal views of the time that deemed musical careers for women of wealth and status as inappropriate. Instead, she performed her original works to small gatherings in her salon, Sonntagskonzerte, which was well-known and highly-regarded for the originality and quality of the performances. A few of her compositions appeared in Felix’s Op. 8 and Op. 9 collection of songs for voice and piano, but they were listed under his name.

Musicologists are still uncovering and attributing Fanny’s music today. Because minimal effort was invested in preserving or studying her work, little is known about Overture in C Major. Its peaceful opening paves the way for very virtuosic runs in the strings. The piece never becomes brash, and for every majestic, showy passage, there is a light and restrained balance to counter it.

Francis Poulenc’s satirical Sinfonietta (1947) represents works by Les Six, a group of young composers who sought to free French music from foreign domination and called for new music that would be fully French and anti-Romantic in its clarity, accessibility and emotional restraint in post-World War II Europe. Poulenc fulfilled these tenets in his composing, with many of his pieces drawing from Parisian cabarets and revues, making them accessible to the general public.

Poulenc’s music is unique in that it often includes satirical mimicry and fluent melody. His Sinfonietta is no exception. Its first movement opens with a gruff musical idea that is not necessarily symphonic in construction but begins a succession of lyrical themes. The second movement, a scherzo, is the most light-hearted, echoing a style and mood reminiscent of Tchaikovsky and Mozart, whose happy music is a staple of classical literature. The final movement takes a turn, beginning with the gruff tone that Poulenc adopts when appropriating neoclassicism, but soon turns to light again in the true style of Poulenc.

The remainder of the program features James Carter on saxophone accompanying the orchestra on classical works with jazz influences. Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde (1922-23) was inspired by authentic jazz he heard on the streets of Harlem during a concert tour in the early 1920s. The piece was originally written for a ballet that portrayed the creation of the world based on African folk mythology. It uses saxophone to replace violas, and the soloistic treatment of the instruments evokes the sound of jazz bands. The incorporation of blues notes and melodies, syncopations, riffs and ensemble textures are stylized with neoclassical and other modernist traits. Milhaud’s openness to foreign influences truly speaks to his unique style of composing. A multimedia film with art visuals—from African tribal sculptures to works by Picasso and Gauguin—accompany the piece.

Closing the concert is Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody (2010). The result of a decade-long collaboration between Carter and Sierra, Caribbean Rhapsody marries classical and Latin jazz influences and showcases Carter’s virtuosity. It draws on Sierra’s memories of growing up in Puerto Rico and the music he heard on jukeboxes—from the sensuous opening boléro, to the Latin riffs reminiscent of son montuno with alternating reflective and spirited music. Sierra wrote the piece as a musical reunion for Carter and his cousin, violinist Regina Carter. Sierra was “curious to see the combination of James and Regina improvising together and also on two different instruments—the sax, basically from the jazz tradition, and the violin, the quintessential orchestral instrument.” The resulting juxtaposition of saxophone and violin, viola, cello and bass is a refreshingly new hybrid of musical elements.

“When I first heard James Carter perform, a whole new set of possibilities opened up in my creative mind,” says Sierra. “I realized that his extraordinary gifts as musician and improviser would be fertile ground for the collaboration that culminated in the writing of Caribbean Rhapsody. I think that what I write is expression that comes from my soul, and a reflection of my own life experiences…This rhapsody not only recalls memories of tropical colors and sounds, but also exposes the pulse of life—the life that I knew growing up in Puerto Rico.”

Tickets range from $24 to $85 and are on sale through the Tacoma Arts Live box office. To order tickets, call 253-591-5894 or visit Saxophone Fusion is sponsored by KeyBank, Marine Floats, South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy, Kareem Kandi World Orchestra, Northwest Public Broadcasting and KNKX.


After Wynton Marsalis, no one caused more of an uproar than James Carter did when he appeared on the New York jazz scene from his native Detroit. Carter’s debut recording, JC on the Set, issued in Japan when he was only 23 and in the States a year later in 1993, was universally acclaimed as the finest debut by a saxophonist in decades. Carter plays both tenor and soprano sax in this four-movement work.

An artist long intrigued by contrasts and hybrids, James Carter resists comfortable categorization. “You have to be totally comfortable wherever,” he says. “I feel that music equals life; that’s the way my teacher always taught me. You just can’t go through life and experience it fully with a set of blinders on. I think there’s tremendous beauty in cross-pollinations of music and influences.”

In many ways, weaving together divergent impulses is at the heart of Carter’s music. Like the late tenor sax titan Ben Webster, he’s given to furious, high-velocity solos, but is just as likely to wax sentimental, using his big, bruising tone to tenderly caress a comely melody.

Born in Detroit, Carter learned to play saxophone at age 11 and was considered a prodigy. In 1986 at the age of 17, he began touring with Wynton Marsalias. He has been prominent as a performer and recording artist on the jazz scene since the late 1980s, playing saxophones, flute, and clarinets.

Mission: Commission

Smaller-budget orchestras are taking a chance on contemporary composers, involving their communities and appealing to the next generation of music lovers.

Learn more in this article from the Winter 2019 edition of League of American Orchestra’s Symphony magazine–featuring our own maestra, Sarah Ioannides. Click to read the article now!

Symphony Tacoma Returns to Newly-Remodeled Pantages Theater with Symphonie Fantastique

Tacoma, WA—The much-anticipated reopening of the newly-renovated and acoustically-enhanced Pantages Theater is set for the weekend of November 16, and Symphony Tacoma is honored to be part of it. On Saturday, November 17 Maestra Sarah Ioannides and the Symphony Tacoma orchestra will present Symphonie Fantastique, the second performance of the eight-concert season. The concert will begin at 7:30 pm.

Featuring an exciting and eclectic repertoire, the program has the makings for an exhilarating evening. Emmanuel Chabrier’s España portrays the composer’s impressions of a memorable visit to Spain, capturing in music the vibrant flavors and culture he experienced. Sergei Prokofiev’s “futuristic” Piano Concerto No. 2—originally composed in 1913 and reconstructed in 1923—features rising-star pianist Henry Kramer whose playing has been described as “precise as a faceted diamond.” Rounding out the program is Symphonie Fantastique which tells the heartbreaking and loosely-autobiographical story of Hector Berlioz’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman.

Tickets range from $24 to $85 and are on sale through the Broadway Center for Performing Arts box office. To order tickets, call 253-591-5894 or visit

Symphonie Fantastique is sponsored by University of Puget Sound, Gordon Thomas Honeywell, Churchill Management Group, and Life Center.
NEW THIS SEASON: To provide a safe and comfortable experience, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts has instituted a new bag policy for all theater patrons. All bags are subject to search. Along with the required bag search, patrons may be requested to open their jackets or be checked with a metal detector prior to entering the venue. Broadway Center will not be held responsible for any prohibited items.


An evening of fabulous music, cuisine and philanthropy supporting Symphony Tacoma

Friday, November 16, 2018 | 6 pm
Museum of Glass
Experience an evening of passion and drama inspired by Symphonie Fantastique, Hector Berlioz’s vivid tale of unrequited love pushed to dangerous obsession.
Tickets: $200. Call 253-591-5894.
More information:

A joint piano and/or chamber music master class with University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University and Tacoma Youth Symphony

Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 7 – 9 pm
University of Puget Sound, Kilworth Memorial Chapel
Free and open to the public
More information:

Program notes are available in the season playbill.

Building community through music. Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition, Symphony Tacoma has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape for more than 70 years. In 2014, Symphony Tacoma welcomed music director Sarah Ioannides, whom the Los Angeles Times called “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.” Today’s Symphony Tacoma is a metropolitan professional symphony orchestra with more than 80 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.

Symphony Tacoma Season Opener Pairs Classical Favorites with ‘Ravish and Mayhem’

Tacoma, WA—Symphony Tacoma’s 2018-2019 season presents timeless masterpieces by classical artists complemented with innovative works by six living composers, including two women. The season opener, Barber and Tchaikovsky, features favorites by Samuel Barber and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky along with a 2012 composition by Stephanie Berg. The concert will be held in Tacoma’s Rialto Theater on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert also marks the beginning of Music Director Sarah Ioannides’ fifth season at the Symphony Tacoma podium. Two-time Grammy-nominated violinist Jennifer Frautschi will lend her mastery of Barber’s Violin Concerto with her 1722 Stradivarius violin. Frautschi, who began playing the violin at age 3, has garnered worldwide acclaim as an adventurous musician with a remarkably wide-ranging repertoire.

Season ticket packages and single concert tickets ($24 to $85) are on sale through the Broadway Center for Performing Arts box office. To subscribe, call 253-591-5894 or visit

Barber and Tchaikovsky is sponsored by Pacific Northwest Eye Associates, Tacoma Philharmonic Endowment and Tacoma Arts Month.
NEW THIS SEASON: To provide a safe and comfortable experience, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts has instituted a new bag policy for all theater patrons. All bags are subject to search. Along with the required bag search, patrons may be requested to open their jackets or be checked with a metal detector prior to entering the venue. Broadway Center will not be held responsible for any prohibited items.


Stephanie Berg
Ravish and Mayhem (2012)
Heralded as a “promising new compositional voice” (St. Louis Post Dispatch), Kansas City native Stephanie Berg has had her music met with “enthusiastic ovations,” and has been described as “fun, creative” (St. Louis Post Dispatch) and possessing “a tremendous energy” (conductor David Robertson). Winner of the Missouri Composers Orchestra Project and the prestigious Sinquefield Composition Prize, Berg enjoys a rich performance career as a clarinet and saxophone player. She is a regular member of the Mizzou New Music Ensemble and has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Philharmonic and the Missouri Symphony, to name a few.

Ravish and Mayhem was inspired by the vivacity and virtuosity of a Arabian street festival. Berg says, “I sought to encapsulate that energy into the piece through the triumphant fanfares and lively folk-style melodies that are presented throughout. I imagine a person traveling from scene to scene, witnessing wild dancers, street performers, and amorous couples until the elephants arrive to announce the grand finale.”

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Violin Concerto (1939)
Known for his expressiveness and tonal romanticism, American composer Samuel Barber is one of the most celebrated composers in the 20th century. Music critic Donal Henahan once stated that “probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent, and such long-lasting acclaim.” Barber’s beautiful Violin Concerto was commissioned in 1939 and premiered at the Academy of Music in February, 1941.

Barber wrote his own program notes for the premiere of the piece: “The first movement—allegro molto moderato—begins with a lyrical first subject announced at once by the solo violin, without any orchestral introduction. This movement as a whole has perhaps more the character of a sonata than concerto form. The second movement—andante sostenuto—is introduced by an extended oboe solo. The violin enters with a contrasting and rhapsodic theme, after which it repeats the oboe melody of the beginning. The last movement, a perpetuum mobile, exploits the more brilliant and virtuosic character of the violin.”

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Symphony No. 5 (1888)
Following his passion for music, Russian-born Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1865. The western-oriented education he received set him apart from composers of the nationalist movement that was sweeping Russian music at the time, defining his very personal style that reconciled his education with Russian musical traditions.

The Symphony No. 5 was composed in 1888 and was first performed with Tchaikovsky himself at the conductor’s podium in St. Petersburg. It is a cyclical symphony, with a recurring main theme that is persistently heard in all four movements. Although there is no clear programmatic content, Tchaikovsky did sketch a scenario for its first movement in his notebook, containing “…a complete resignation before fate, which is the same as the inscrutable predestination of fate.” It has since been dubbed the “fate theme,” as it has a funereal character in the first movement and gradually transforms into a triumphant march. This trajectory is especially evident even in its tonal composition, as it begins in E-minor and transcends into E-major by the last movement.

Building community through music. Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition, Symphony Tacoma has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape for more than 70 years. In 2014, Symphony Tacoma welcomed music director Sarah Ioannides, whom the Los Angeles Times called “one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.” Today’s Symphony Tacoma is a metropolitan professional symphony orchestra with more than 80 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.

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