Symphony Tacoma Welcomes Interim Executive Director

Kit Evans takes the helm as national search begins for new executive director

Former Hilltop Artists Executive Director Kit Evans begins her tenure as interim executive director of Symphony Tacoma this week. Evans will lead the organization while the board of directors conducts a national search to replace former Executive Director Andy Buelow, who announced his resignation in November.

“I’m thrilled to step into this organization during such an exciting time,” Evans said. “Under Andy Buelow’s leadership for the past 10 years, Symphony Tacoma achieved a remarkable number of milestones. Because of the growth and successes of this past decade, there’s a very strong foundation for the next executive director.”

Evans, who received an MA from Antioch Seattle and her BA from the Evergreen State College, brings over 40 years of experience as an executive director for Hilltop Artists and other organizations, including domestic violence shelters, sexual assault centers, AIDS housing and the arts. While creating organizations, developing programs and advocating, she has also raised over 22 million dollars for programs and facilities. Evans has been active on multiple boards and commissions throughout Tacoma and Pierce County; is a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum; and is a member of Tacoma’s Rotary 8.

Buelow, who left Symphony Tacoma to become the executive director of the West Michigan Symphony in Muskegon, Michigan, led Symphony Tacoma into an era of increased patron loyalty and financial health. Under Buelow’s leadership, Symphony Tacoma hired Music Director Sarah Ioannides, one of the top female conductors in the world (Lebrecht’s Woman Conductors: The Power List). Ioannides recently relocated permanently to Tacoma and signed a contract extension that will see her conducting Symphony Tacoma through the 2023-2024 season.

“We’re extremely well positioned to attract a highly qualified new executive director and have begun a national search,” said Mike De Luca, president of the board of directors. “The process of finding that person will be an opportunity to align everyone around the organization’s mission: Building Community Through Music.”

The board has engaged Arts Consulting Group (ACG), the leading provider of executive search services for the arts and culture industry, to support the search for a new executive director.

Symphony Tacoma Launches Search for New Executive Director

After ten years in Tacoma, Andy Buelow will become new executive director of West Michigan Symphony

After nearly a decade as executive director of Symphony Tacoma, Andy Buelow has announced his resignation, effective December 31. Buelow will become executive director of the West Michigan Symphony in Muskegon, Michigan.

“My wife Beth and I have agonized over this decision,” said Buelow. “We’ve built many close personal and professional relationships here in the Northwest. While my passion for Symphony Tacoma is as strong as ever, my heart-home has been calling to me all the time.”

Buelow came to Tacoma in 2007 from the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. During his tenure, Symphony Tacoma has become recognized for its musical excellence, audience engagement and strategic collaborations. Since Buelow’s arrival the organization has operated debt-free, doubled its Endowment and increased operating reserves.

“We’re extremely grateful for Andy’s dedicated leadership over the last decade,” said Mike De Luca, president of the board of directors. “While we hate to lose Andy, Symphony Tacoma is well-positioned to attract a capable new leader. The process of finding that person will be an opportunity to align everyone around the organization’s mission: Building Community Through Music.”

When Symphony Tacoma’s longtime maestro, Harvey Felder, announced his retirement in 2012, Buelow spearheaded a two-year international search for a successor. The new music director, Sarah Ioannides, has brought a heightened level of artistic vibrancy to Symphony Tacoma with her creative programming and inclusive leadership style.

“Andy is a great partner,” said Ioannides, “and I feel fortunate to have worked with him over the last three years. He has helped set the stage for the next phase of artistic growth and community engagement.”

With Sarah on the podium, the Symphony has expanded its community presence with a lengthened subscription season, a new family series, string orchestra coaching at underserved area high schools, and free community concerts.

“I believe it’s a good time for this transition, both for me and for the Symphony,” said Buelow. “I feel deeply satisfied with what we have accomplished together, especially considering the growth since Sarah’s arrival.”

A search committee will begin a national search for a successor immediately.

A heartwarming Sounds of the Season with Tacoma Youth Chorus

TACOMA, WA – The Pantages Theater stage will be brimming with musicians and instruments, including singers from 4th grade through high school, when Symphony Tacoma presents the annual Sounds of the Season program, featuring the Tacoma Youth Chorus. A cherished tradition in Tacoma, the pageant-style concert—conducted by Sarah Ioannides and Judy Herrington—features beloved carols, hymns and songs, including “The Little Drummer Boy,” “My Favorite Things,” “Joy to the World” and “Greensleeves,” among many others.  Held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, the performance is sponsored by Columbia Bank, Aetna, and Stadium Thriftway; The News Tribune is the media sponsor.  For tickets, starting at $19.50, call 800-291-7593 or 253-591-5894, or visit

Joining Ioannides and Herrington will be soprano Leann Conley-Holcom, who directs the TYC Concert Choir and is active internationally as a freelance singer, clinician and guest conductor. She will be featured in the Domine Deus from Vivaldi’s Gloria, the Coventry & Sussex Carol by 17th century priest Luke Wadding, “My Favorite Things,” and more.

The program is studded with other great names and titles in choral and seasonal music: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Dance, Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on “Greensleeves,” Eric Whitacre’s “Glow,” John Rutter’s “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” Prokofiev’s “Troika,” and Leroy Anderson’s “Christmas Festival.” Symphony Tacoma’s frequent collaborator Bo Ayars has created arrangements of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” and Richard Kountz’s “The Sleigh.” Sarah Ioannides has orchestrated Judy Herrington’s composition for women’s choir, “Stars Tonight,” which will receive its premiere during the performance!

“Tacoma Youth Chorus is looking forward to once again sharing our music with Symphony Tacoma and its audience for Sounds of the Season!” Judy Herrington stated.  “Sarah Ioannides is a remarkable conductor, and I know our singers will be inspired by her artistry and technique.  We are excited and honored to share in this collaboration!”

The Tacoma-based choral arts program, now in its 26th season, is a place for kids to be themselves and have fun with music. It includes seven ensembles, from the introductory Music Makers to the advanced Chorale.  Featured in this performance will be the Concert Choir for grades 4-5, the Chamber Choir for grades 6-8, the Women’s Choir for grades 9-12, and the Chorale for grades 9-12.

“Poet of the piano” to make regional debut with Symphony Tacoma

31-year-old pianist Andrew Tyson—called a “poet of the piano” by BBC Radio 3 and a “phenomenal musician” by La Libre—will make his regional debut with Symphony Tacoma in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major.  Conducted by Sarah Ioannides, the concert will also include the Firebird Suite of Igor Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 18 in the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma.  Sponsors include Skelley Piano and Alaska Airlines. For tickets, starting at $19.50, call 800-291-7593 or 253-591-5894, or visit

“Tyson is a real poet of the piano,” wrote BBC Radio 3. “His playing is exquisite, flexible, subtle, colorful, passionate, and daring.”   “A phenomenal musician, a refined artist, an accomplished pianist,” raved La Libre. “Tyson employed his immense skills and his musical genius to serve us an enchanted vision.” As winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2011, Tyson was awarded YCA’s Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize and the John Browning Memorial Prize. In 2013, he was the Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. He is a Laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and won the Eastern Music Festival Competition at the age of 15.

Recent performances include the Chopin Society in Hong Kong; Caramoor, New York; and Piano Aux Jacobins in Toulouse, France.  Later this season he performs in Music at Evergreen; with the Kansas City Symphony; and the Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna.

Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G dates from 1929 when, after having achieved financial security through the success of Bolero, the French composer began a concerto as a showcase for his pianistic abilities. Although he was a gifted virtuoso, the resulting work proved too formidable for his talents. He decided to pass along the premiere to his protégé, Marguerite Long.  Influenced by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the concerto is among a number of compositions during this period, by different composers, reflecting the popularity of American jazz.

Also featured on the program will be Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, the 27-year-old composer’s first major full-length work. Originally scored as a ballet, and based upon a Russian folk tale, the score contains many brilliant effects, including horn and trombone glissandos (sliding between pitches) and the natural-harmonic string glissando near the beginning, which the bass chord touches off like a Catherine-wheel.

Concluding the program will be Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, hailed as one of the most “towering symphonic structures in our whole literature” by music experts. The opening “fate” fanfare, centered around only three notes, reflects the two-note main motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, which it rhythmically recalls.

Single Tickets go on sale for 2017-2018 Concert Season

The first official observance of the highly anticipated Bernstein Centennial in the Pacific Northwest. The West Coast debut of Opus X, the acclaimed crossover quartet that is putting a new spin on music from Handel to Led Zeppelin. The U.S. Premiere of Swedish composer Marie Samuelsson’s 2016 The Eros Effect and Solidarity. The Tacoma solo debuts of pianist Andrew Tyson, cellist Efe Baltacigil, and Met soprano Kelly Cae Hogan. Symphony Tacoma’s 2017-2018 Season—on sale to the general public next Wednesday, August 15—abounds with firsts.

Available only via season ticket purchase since its unveiling last March, the season has generated record response, having already surpassed last year’s total revenue numbers.  Excitement reached a new level in June when the Symphony announced it had extended the contract of Sarah Ioannides, its charismatic new music director, through 2024. Moreover, 2017-2018 marks the final season before the Symphony’s main home venue, the Pantages Theater, closes for a full year for an extensive refit.

“Tacoma’s musical community is still elated by the news of Sarah Ioannides’ extension,” said Executive Director Andy Buelow. “This represents a huge vote of confidence on her part, not only in the Symphony, but in Tacoma’s vibrant future. Since her arrival attendance and audience engagement have grown exponentially, and the Orchestra is playing at a new artistic level.”

“Being here in Tacoma is a complete pleasure,” Ioannides said. “There is a whole community renaissance building around arts and culture—with a compelling, distinct identity. It’s the perfect environment to reinvent the Symphony for a new generation.”

Ioannides’ optimism is borne out in both citywide statistics and the organization’s own numbers. A recent survey by Americans for the Arts showed a combined economic impact of more than $86 million by Tacoma’s arts and cultural organizations. The Symphony’s concert revenue has grown 60% in just five seasons, and both individual giving and corporate support are up 50%.

The News Tribune recently declared Symphony Tacoma “an integral part of our city’s culture and communal spirit.”

The season kicks off Friday, October 20 with a West Side Story-themed Gala at Tacoma Art Museum, including a gourmet dinner, silent and live auction, and live entertainment. The signature event generates vital funding for Symphony Tacoma’s growing youth education program.

The opening concert at the Pantages Theater, just 24 hours later, exclusively features music by Leonard Bernstein, highlighted by his legendary West Side Story.  Two suites from the landmark 1958 musical will be performed, one of which includes treasured tunes like “I Feel Pretty,” “Tonight,” and “The Jet Song.”

Last week, auditions were announced for the seven major vocal roles of the musical. The soloists will provide a sneak preview of the concert during the Friday night Gala, and then take center stage at the Pantages the following evening.  Also in the spotlight will be the acclaimed Symphony Tacoma Voices, directed by Dr. Geoffrey Boers.

The remainder of the concert lineup—from November through May—sports such blockbusters as Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Handel’s Messiah, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 (its first performance by Symphony Tacoma), and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, among others.

The season concludes on May 12 with another Symphony Tacoma first: an evening of works by Richard Wagner, including the Overture to Die Meistersinger, Ride of the Valkyries, and the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, featuring Ms. Hogan.  The music of this greatest of all German Romantics is paired with French composer Francis Poulenc’s 1961 Gloria, called “riotously wild, spiky, and humorous” by The Observer.

For more information, call 800-291-7593 or 253-591-5894.


Download press release – click here.

Symphony Tacoma announces vocal auditions for Bernstein Centennial Concert featuring music from West Side Story

The first official observance of the highly anticipated Bernstein Centennial in the Pacific Northwest will be presented by Symphony Tacoma in its Season Opening Concert, held in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 21.  The full evening of works by Leonard Bernstein will feature music from his legendary West Side Story, including the Symphonic Dances and Suite No. 2—which contains such classic songs as “I Feel Pretty,” “America,” “Tonight,” “The Jet Song,” and more.  The concert will frontline seven vocal soloists and the 70-person Symphony Tacoma Voices, along with the 80-piece Symphony Tacoma under the leadership of Music Director Sarah Ioannides.

Symphony Tacoma has announced vocal auditions for the seven roles:  Maria, Anita, Rosalia, Consuela, Tony, Riff and Bernardo.  Applicants are asked to upload a private Youtube video of themselves performing, with piano accompaniment, the songs for their desired vocal part, and to send the private link and a performance resume to Symphony Tacoma at Finalists will participate in a live audition at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 31 at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Studio 3.

“At Symphony Tacoma, we strive to put community first, going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate,” said Music Director Sarah Ioannides.  “This concert represents an opportunity for area singers, from gifted amateurs to seasoned pros, to take the stage with a full symphony orchestra performing some of the most exciting and beautiful American music of all time.”

For more information about applying, please click here.

New Season Announced

Tacoma, Wash.  –  The first official observance of the highly anticipated Bernstein Centennial in the Pacific Northwest.  The first performance of Barry Cooper’s innovative realization of Beethoven’s “10th Symphony” in the South Sound.  The first U.S. performance of Swedish composer Marie Samuelsson’s 2016 The Eros Effect and Solidarity.  The Tacoma solo debuts of pianist Andrew Tyson, Seattle Symphony cellist Efe Baltacigil, Metropolitan Opera soprano Kelly Cae Hogan, and new Principal Trumpet Charles Butler.  Symphony Tacoma’s 2017-2018 Season, announced this week, abounds with firsts.

 “At Symphony Tacoma, we strive to put community first, to welcome our audience in, going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate,” said Music Director Sarah Ioannides.  “Every concert on the 2017-2018 Season was meticulously curated with this vision foremost in mind.”


The season opens with a full evening of music by Leonard Bernstein, featuring his legendary musical West Side Story.  The seven major roles of the musical will be filled by soloists from the community, selected by auditions to be held this spring.  Also heavily in the spotlight during the season opening concert will be the acclaimed Symphony Tacoma Voices, directed by
Dr. Geoffrey Boers.
2017-2018 closes with another Symphony Tacoma first: an evening of works by Richard Wagner, including the Overture to Die Meistersinger, Ride of the Valkyries, and the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, featuring Kelly Cae Hogan.  The music of this greatest of all German Romantics is paired with French composer Francis Poulenc’s 1961 Gloria.
Other major orchestral works to be heard next season include Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 (its first performance by Symphony Tacoma), and Brahms’s Symphony No. 1.


Hailed by BBC Radio 3 as “a poet of the piano,” Andrew Tyson makes his Symphony Tacoma debut on November 18 performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. In summer 2015, he was awarded First Prize at the Géza Anda Competition in Zürich, as well as the Mozart and Audience Prizes. He is a laureate of the Leeds International Piano Competition where he won the new Terence Judd-Hallé Orchestra Prize.
Turkish cellist Efe Baltacıgil, Principal Cello of the Seattle Symphony since 2011, will perform the Elgar Cello Concerto on February 24 and 25.  Baltacigil was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike in February 2005 when he and pianist Emanuel Ax provided an impromptu performance of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No.1 at a Philadelphia Orchestra concert when a winter snowstorm prevented most of the Orchestra from reaching the concert hall. The Philadelphia Inquirercited his “gorgeous sound, strong personality, and expressive depth.”
2016 was a landmark season for Charles Butler, during which he landed dual appointments as Principal Trumpet with Symphony Tacoma and Portland Opera. On March 25, 2018 Butler will make his Tacoma solo debut in Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. The busy former Seattle Symphony member continues to perform with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theater, Bellingham Festival of Music and Issaquah’s Village Theater.
American soprano Kelly Cae Hogan, called “viscerally exciting” and “a revelation” by the Washington Times, will perform as soloist in works by Wagner and Poulenc during the Season Finale on May 12. Hogan recently made her London debut as Brünnhilde for Opera North at the Royal Festival Hall.  Other roles at the Met include Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Janáček’s From the House of the Dead, and Wagner’s Die Walküre.  The Guardian called her “bright and thrilling, incisive and sympathetic-magnificent throughout!”


Sarah Ioannides conducted the 2016 world premiere of Samuelsson’s Love Trilogy with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra.  The Eros Effect and Solidarity, the second part of the three-piece work, will open the program on February 24 and 25. “The Eros Effect” is a term coined by sociologist George N. Katsiaficas to describe the human capacity to respond in solidarity during social movements. The work includes a text (to be translated into English for this performance) which the orchestra chants behind the music.  “With Samuelsson’s music you enter a special sound world,” explains Ioannides.  “The Love Trilogy is a moving, spiritual work.”  The program will conclude with music by another Scandinavian, the Second Symphony of Jean Sibelius.


Since Sarah Ioannides’ arrival in 2014, Symphony Tacoma’s approach to orchestral pops has taken a turn toward the contemporary, with acts of artistic substance as well as entertainment value. Opus X, making its regional debut in April 2018, is a group cut from this cloth.  The “Charlie’s Angels of classical music,” this striking quartet consists of four virtuoso women soloists from the four corners of the world: Austrian violinist Lidia Baich, Danish pianist Tanja Zapolski, British clarinetist Lone Madsen, and Japanese-American cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper. From Handel to Led Zeppelin, their concerts bring a touch of glam rock to the classics!


Current season ticket holders are being mailed renewal materials.  New subscription orders are also being accepted; new subscribers will be seated after renewing subscribers and in advance of tickets going on sale to the general public.  Subscription offerings-starting at $111-include the Premier 8 (all concerts), and the Master 6 (all five Classics concerts and Spring Pops).  Subscribers save up to 25%-the equivalent of getting two concerts free.  To subscribe, call 253-272-7264 or email

Announcing Sounds of the Season

DATE:  November 22, 2016
Contact: Andy Buelow,
(253) 272-7264



250 voices join Symphony Tacoma for a star-studded Sounds of the Season

Tacoma Youth Chorus and Symphony Voices perform with full orchestra in annual Holiday-themed concert

TACOMA, WA – More than 300 performers, including the Tacoma Youth Chorus, Symphony Tacoma Voices and the full Symphony Tacoma – will present Sounds of the Season at the spectacularly decorated Pantages Theater.  A beloved annual tradition in Tacoma, the pageant-style concert features stories, carols, hymns and songs-including Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here;” Mannheim Steamroller’s unforgettable arrangement of “Silent Night;” a delightful setting by Fred Waring of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas;” and music by Mozart, Handel, and Vaughan Williams, among others.  Held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 4, the performance is conducted by Dr. Geoffrey Boers and Judith Herrington.  It is sponsored by Columbia Bank, Aetna, and Stadium Thriftway; The News Tribune is the media sponsor.  For tickets, starting at $12 for students and $19 for adults, visit or call 591-5894 or 800-291-7593.  Tickets may be purchased in person at the Broadway Center Box Office, 901 Broadway, Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Both Symphony Tacoma Voices and the Tacoma Youth Chorus have been featured on Sounds of the Season in prior years, but this is the first time in recent memory that both have been on the same program together. The concert will include such highlights as “Gesu Bambino,” the famous 1917 carol by Pietro Yon; the “Wassail Song,” a traditional English carol; Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” as arranged by Mozart; and such favorites as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and more.

“Tacoma Youth Chorus is looking forward to once again sharing our music with the Symphony Tacoma and its audience for the Sounds of the Season!,” Judy Herrington stated.  “Geoffrey Boers is a remarkable conductor, and I know our singers will be inspired by his artistry and technique. We are excited to share in this collaboration!” The choral arts program for boys and girls, kindergarten through high school, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season.

Symphony Tacoma Voices, formerly known as Tacoma Symphony Chorus, features 70 auditioned adult singers from throughout the community who perform as volunteers.  Its ranks include professional singers and gifted amateurs.  The Voices sings in concert frequently as the primary choral forces associated with Symphony Tacoma, and is featured on tour and in solo concerts as well.  On December 15 and 16, the Voices will join the chamber core of Symphony Tacoma for performances of Handel’s Messiah at Chapel Hill Presbyterian in Gig Harbor, and St. Charles Borromeo Church in Tacoma, respectively.


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 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.


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

“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.