Symphony Tacoma Announces 2018-2019 Season

Tacoma, WA—From timeless masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Berlioz and Beethoven, to innovative works by contemporary composers, Symphony Tacoma presents a rich program line-up for its 2018-2019 season. The season includes eight concerts that run from October to May.

For the first time, the Symphony offers six classics concerts, complemented by annual holiday favorites, Sounds of the Season and Handel’s Messiah. Maestra Sarah Ioannides has carefully curated each concert to balance treasured masterpieces alongside contemporary works that are unconventional in both instrumentation and repertoire. “My planning process is a bit like a Rubik’s Cube,” says Ioannides. “I keep working the program until it feels right artistically and musically. It’s hard to put a label on that, but I’m looking for a certain kind of energy and inspiration.”

The 2018-2019 concert series highlights innovation with works by six living composers and three by women. Prominent guest artists from around the world—masters of instruments ranging from violin and piano to saxophone and tabla—will join the Symphony Tacoma orchestra on stage in the newly-renovated Pantages Theater for all but Barber & Tchaikovsky and Messiah.

Season tickets for multiple concerts are on sale through the Broadway Center for Performing Arts box office. Subscribers can choose from packages that include four to eight concerts at up to 25% off single ticket prices. Beginning August 20, tickets to individual concerts are also available for purchase. Prices range from $24 to $85. To subscribe, call 253-591-5894 or visit

2018 – 2019 CONCERTS:

Barber & Tchaikovsky
Saturday, October 20 | 7:30 pm
Rialto Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
Jennifer Frautschi, violin

Stephanie Berg: Ravish and Mayhem
Barber: Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5

Timeless classics by Barber and Tchaikovsky are paired with a new voice in the compositional world. Stephanie Berg’s Ravish and Mayhem is sizzling and fresh, “a little exotic with a lot of pizzazz.” Grammy-nominated violinist Jennifer Frautschi lends her mastery of Barber’s Violin Concerto’s lyrical passages with her 1722 Stradivarius violin. Tchaikovsky’s epic Symphony No. 5 concludes Symphony Tacoma’s season opener.

Symphonie Fantastique
Saturday, November 17 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
Henry Kramer, piano

Chabrier: España
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2
Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

Symphony Tacoma’s exciting and varied premiere in the refurbished and acoustically-enhanced Pantages Theater. Chabrier’s España captures the composer’s reflections of a visit to Spain. Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 features rising-star pianist Henry Kramer whose playing has been described as “precise as a faceted diamond.” Rounding out the program is Berlioz’s dramatic Symphonie Fantastique which tells the story of the artist’s self-destructive passion for a beautiful woman.

Sounds of the Season
Sunday, December 2 | 2:30 pm
Pantages Theater

Geoffrey Boers, Conductor
Marlette Buchanan, soprano
Tacoma Symphony Voices and Tacoma Youth Chorus

Symphony Tacoma’s annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family. The program features Gospel and spiritual favorites, featuring local soprano Marlette Buchanan. Selections include classics from cherished Christmas television programs and movies, moving choral masterpieces, and the ever-popular carol sing-along.

Handel’s Messiah
Friday, December 14 | 7:30 pm
St. Charles Borromeo

Sarah Ioannides, 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.

Beyond the Silk Road
Saturday, February 23 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
Sandeep Das, tabla

Daniel Ott: Fire-Mountain (reprise)
Wijeratne: Tabla Concerto
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade

An homage to native traditions. A reprise of Fire-Mountain, originally commissioned and performed by Symphony Tacoma in 2017, paints a musical portrait of Mount Rainier’s melting glaciers by Puyallup native Daniel Ott. Grammy-winning tabla virtuoso Sandeep Das will perform Wijeratne’s Tabla Concerto, which he calls “the best Western classical piece written for my instrument.” Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade tells the captivating story of Arabian Nights through beautiful orchestration and thematic elements.

Rainier Sunrise
Saturday, March 23 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
Svend Rønning, violin & Thane Lewis, viola

Karel Butz: Rainier Sunrise
Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola

These elegant and melodic works are usually attributed to chamber music. Rainier Sunrise by Seattle native Karel Butz “captures the peaceful emotions associated with the grandeur and beauty of Mount Rainier’s Sunrise Trail.” Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite was originally written as a ballet reconstructed from Baroque compositions by Giambattista Pergolesi. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll was a birthday gift to his wife and dedicated to their newborn son. One of the most celebrated duets ever written, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola will feature Symphony Tacoma’s Concertmaster Svend Rønning and Principal Violist Thane Lewis.

Saxophone Fusion
Saturday, April 20 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
James Carter, saxophone

Fanny Mendelssohn: Overture in C
Poulenc: Sinfonietta
Roberto Sierra: Caribbean Rhapsody
Milhaud: La Création du Monde (with multimedia)

Diverse cultures and rare influences present a wide representation of our society. Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C was her only-known full orchestral work, written at a time when musical careers were considered inappropriate for women. Poulenc’s satirical Sinfonietta represents works by Les Six, a group of young composers who sought to free French music from foreign domination in post-World War I Europe. Puerto Rico native Roberto Sierra’s Caribbean Rhapsody, written for saxophone virtuoso James Carter, combines classical and Latin jazz influences. Milhaud’s La Création du Monde tells the creation story according to African folk mythology with influences of Harlem Renaissance jazz and a multimedia film with art visuals, from African tribal sculptures to works by Picasso and Gauguin.

Ode to Joy
Saturday, May 11 | 7:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Sarah Ioannides, Conductor
Symphony Tacoma Voices

World Premiere TBD
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 “Choral”

The season grand finale. Beethoven’s remarkable Symphony No. 9 was the longest and most complex symphony of its time and has been referred to as “the symphony to end all symphonies.” It was first composed to include chorus and vocal soloists with the inclusion of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy in the final movement, making it one of the most recognized melodies of all time. This classic favorite will be paired with a new commission by an American female composer.

About Symphony Tacoma:
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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Symphony Tacoma Announces New Executive Director Karina Bharne

TACOMA, WA — Symphony Tacoma is pleased to announce the appointment of Karina Bharne as its new executive director. Bharne replaces Andy Buelow, who left Symphony Tacoma in December after a decade in the role, and Kit Evans who has served as interim executive director since January. Bharne’s tenure will begin in September in time for the Symphony’s season opening concert on October 20.

“We were fortunate to have had an exceptionally strong pool of candidates, and even more fortunate to have been able to engage Karina Bharne to be Symphony Tacoma’s next executive director,” said Mike De Luca, president of the board of directors. “Karina’s strong experience and background, as well as the vibrant, thoughtful and innovative approach she brings to her work, have led to the successes she has had to this point in her career. She is perfectly positioned to lead Symphony Tacoma, in partnership with Maestra Sarah Ioannides, to achieving our aspirational vision of building community through music and becoming indispensable to our community.”

Bharne is experienced in all facets of orchestra administration. In her most recent role, she served as the interim executive director with the San Antonio Symphony where she successfully stabilized operations during a time of significant organizational change. Her roles at San Antonio Symphony also included vice president/general manager and director of orchestra personnel. Prior to San Antonio, Bharne worked as the managing director of operations for the Goh Ballet in Vancouver, BC, and in a variety of roles with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival and School, and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. A trained musician, she earned her BFA in trombone performance and MAM in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University.

“I am honored to join Symphony Tacoma and partner with the musicians, chorus, board and staff to further the organization’s mission,” said Bharne. “I am excited to become more acquainted with the beautiful city of Tacoma and to continue building and strengthening the impact that the organization has on the community through meaningful collaborations, as well as furthering the strong artistic vision created by Maestra Ioannides.”

In her free time, Bharne has been an active volunteer with Spay Neuter Inject Protect San Antonio (SNIPSA), an organization dedicated to helping create a sustainable animal population. She also enjoys running and cooking with her husband, Ilan Morgenstern, who is the bass trombonist for the Vancouver Symphony.

The executive director search process was facilitated by Arts Consulting Group, a national provider of executive search and other services for the arts and culture industry. “ACG congratulates the many stakeholders involved in the search process who will benefit from Karina’s expertise and passion for classical music,” commented Peter Mraz, ACG Associate Vice President.

About Symphony Tacoma:
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 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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Metropolitan Opera star joins Symphony Tacoma for Season Finale Wagner & Poulenc

TACOMA, WA – Metropolitan Opera soprano Kelly Cae Hogan joins Symphony Tacoma and Symphony Tacoma Voices for a program of selections by composers Richard Wagner and Francis Poulenc. The concert marks the end of the Symphony’s 2017-18 season and will take place in the Pantages Theater at 7:30 pm on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

The repertoire features masterpieces composed for orchestra and voice. Poulenc’s (1899-1963) exuberant and uplifting Gloria features solos by Hogan along with the Symphony Tacoma Voices chorus led by Dr. Geoffrey Boers. Commissioned in 1959 by the Koussevitsky Foundation of America, the lyrics are taken from a religious service and set to a vibrant musical score.

Contrasting the lightness of Poulenc is a selection of orchestra overtures and favorite moments from Wagner compositions. Wagner (1813-1883) is known for his operas or “music dramas” in which the music itself serves as a dramatic thread led by the orchestra and refined with voices. Die Meistersingers von Nurnberg (The Mastersingers of Nurnberg), Wagner’s only attempt at comedy, is rich in melody and addresses the joyful art of songwriting. Der fliegende Holläder (The Flying Dutchman) features musical mimicry to portray nature, and the tonal harmonies in the love story of Tristan and Isolde convey a strong sense of desire. Hogan’s vibrant soprano will bring life to the character of Isolde.

The concert concludes with the soaring Die Walküre (Ride of the Valkyries), perhaps Wagner’s most well-known work. The dramatic score imparts the story of four Valkyrie sisters performing their noble duty of transporting their fallen heroes to Valhalla.

Tickets for the concert start at $19.50 and are available for purchase at or by calling the Broadway Center box office at 253.591.5894.

Wagner & Poulenc is sponsored by Warfield Creative and Showcase Magazine.


About Kelly Cae Hogan:
American soprano Kelly Cae Hogan has attracted international attention for her dramatic portrayals in Wagner, Strauss, Verdi and Puccini. She sang Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen for Opera North at the Royal Festival Hall in London, as well as on tour in several other UK cities. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she sang in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk as well as Gerhilde in Die Walküre. A native of Iowa, Hogan was a winner of the American Opera Awards and a New York winner of the MacAllister Awards. She and her husband have homes in Manhattan and Lexington, SC.

About Symphony Tacoma Voices:
The 70-member Symphony Tacoma Voices has a long and proud history as part of the Symphony Tacoma organization. The choir consists of professional singers, music educators, as well as amateur singers ages 18 to 86 from across all walks of life in the south Puget Sound region. Under the leadership of Geoffrey Boers, the choir has toured to China, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, and Bosnia.

‘Hip Harpist’ Returns to Tacoma for an Earth Day Concert with Symphony Tacoma

TACOMA, WA–Symphony Tacoma welcomes Grammy-nominated electric harp virtuoso Deborah Henson-Conant back to Tacoma for a special Earth Day performance. Earth Songs from the Harp will take place on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 2:30 pm in Tacoma’s Pantages Theater.

For this concert, Henson-Conant and Maestra Sarah Ioannides are planning a celebration of the joy, passion and humor of living on Planet Earth. Composed by Henson-Conant for electric harp, voice and orchestra, the music is inspired by Jazz, Latin, Blues, Musical Theater and Flamenco. Selections range from Belinda, a tender, melodic tribute to a tree, to Catcher in the Rye, a jungle warrior tribute to J.D. Salinger’s literary masterpiece, and Nightingale, a sweet lullaby.

Henson-Conant’s previous Tacoma performance resulted in a sold-out show in 2011. “I am thrilled to bring Deborah back!” says Ioannides. “She is one of the most unique and exciting artists we have presented, and this concert provides an opportunity for all to be a part of the wonder and diversity she brings.”

Henson-Conant’s voice has been compared to Carly Simon and Joan Baez; her playing to Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix; and her humor to Victor Borge and Eddie Izzard. Her signature instrument, the “DHC Light” electric body harp, was invented by Henson-Conant in collaboration with the French harp-builder CAMAC. “I wanted to take an 80-pound concert harp and shrink it down to an instrument I could strap on my hip and play like an electric guitar,” she says.  It allows her to stride onto stage like a rock star and delight audiences with songs and stories and a performance that is bigger-than-life, inventive and unexpected.

An ensemble of local harpists will accompany Henson-Conant on stage for a portion of the concert and harpists will be available with their instruments after the concert for guests to interact with. Tickets start at $19.50 and are available for purchase at or by calling the Broadway Center box office at 253.591.5894.

Earth Songs from the Harp is sponsored by KeyBank Foundation and Marine Floats, with support from the Tacoma Philharmonic Endowment.


About Deborah Henson-Conant:

Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-nominated electric harp virtuoso with a wicked sense of humor, a gutsy set of vocal chords and a theatrical flair. As an instrumentalist, she has brought the harp from the background and put it front and center. As a composer, she’s created concert, symphonic and music-theater works, from serious chamber operas and song cycles, to flamenco-inspired concertos and fantasies. She has released over a dozen albums, composed nearly 50 symphonic works and performed internationally for nearly three decades.


2018 Simply Symphonic culminates with live concerts

Tacoma, Wash. – Students and orchestras will come together world-wide this April in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute “Link Up” program, and Symphony Tacoma joins over 70 other orchestras across the globe as a Link Up partner orchestra through its popular education program, Simply Symphonic.

More than 4,000 4th and 5th grade students have been utilizing the Link Up curriculum since late January in the classroom. These students will all converge on the Pantages Theater for concerts held at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 19. Many will bring violins or recorders, others will sing, engaging actively in music making along with the Symphony. This year, Symphony Tacoma focuses on The Orchestra Moves, the second of Link Up’s three curriculum cycles—centered on all the different ways in which instruments, sound and even the audience “move” with the music.

“The strength of the Link Up program is that students are given the opportunity to be active participants in making music. Few other art forms provide the opportunity to participate collectively, which is a special magic of music,” says Music Director Sarah Ioannides.

Students first learn to sing or play an instrument in their classrooms, depending on the teacher and school capabilities and preferences. Then, they bring these skills to the concert hall, performing with the orchestra from their seats while the music is projected on screens above the stage. Link Up reaches nearly 250,000 students nationwide and is expanding beyond the US, partnering with orchestras in Canada, Spain, and Japan. As part of the partnership, participating schools are given access to downloadable curriculum guides for each teacher (featuring lessons on singing, playing the soprano recorder or violin, reading and notating music, and composing and improvising music) with accompanying audio and visual files for school use, as well as activities for students to try at home.

Simply Symphonic is open to 4th and 5th grade classrooms in the greater Pierce County area with scholarships available for schools with student populations in need. The Symphony commits to providing access to this award-winning program by keeping the participation fee low, at $3 per student. Since these fees cover only 15% of the program costs, the Symphony seeks sponsors to provide additional support. This year’s corporate partners include Aetna, ArtsFund, Callisons, Lexus of Tacoma at Fife, Summit Financial Group, and U.S. Bank. For more information: or 253-272-7264.

Symphony Tacoma showcases trumpet with little-known Beethoven gem

TACOMA, WA – Principal Trumpet Charles Butler makes his solo debut with Symphony Tacoma in the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major. Penned by Franz Joseph Haydn in 1796, this work highlighted what was a “new-fangled” instrument to audiences of yore! Haydn was known for expanding musical forms and inventing new ones—so he jumped at the opportunity to compose for a new form of trumpet that became the forerunner to today’s version.

Music Director Sarah Ioannides could think of no other player more suited to be featured as the trumpet soloist than the Symphony’s new principal trumpet, Charles Butler. This NW living legend has played under the batons of Itzhak Perlman and Zubin Mehta and toured the world as a soloist, from Malaysia to Spain. All this he accomplished while holding major posts with the Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Portland Opera, and others.

Maestra Ioannides knew only very unique repertoire could complement this revolutionary Haydn concerto performed by a new star of the Symphony, so she paired it with Beethoven’s mythic Symphony No. 10, which existed only as fragments until reconstructed in 1988 by Barry Cooper. “The result,” Mr. Cooper wrote in his notes, “is obviously not exactly what Beethoven would have written, and many questions still remain, but the reconstruction does provide at least a rough impression of what he intended.”

The concert concludes with Brahms’ gripping Symphony No. 1, the groundbreaking symphonic work that broke the post-Beethoven’s 9th “writer’s block.” Brahms, who struggled with anxiety, compared himself with his predecessor, stating that “writing a symphony is no laughing matter.” Known for a resemblance to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” this entire March program will have audiences leaving the concert hall in a state of optimism.

Generous sponsors of this concert include: EPIC Law and South Sound Physical & Hand Therapy. Ticket prices start at $19.50 and are available for purchase at or by calling 253.591.5894 or 1.800.291.7593. Tickets will also be sold at the Rialto Box Office.

Symphony Tacoma Voices Celebrates ‘Turning of the Seasons’

TACOMA, WA – Dr. Geoffrey Boers will conduct the talented Symphony Tacoma Voices in Turning of the Seasons, a choral concert that celebrates the transition from the darkness of winter to the warmth of spring. The performance will take place on Friday, March 16 at 7:30 pm at Christ Episcopal Church, 310 N K Street in downtown Tacoma.

The program features two of Maurice Duruflé’s most prominent compositions. The solemnity of winter will be characterized by Requiem, Duruflé’s longest and most substantial work. Amy Boers will accompany the Voices on Christ Episcopal’s Brombaugh organ and images of historic paintings and contemporary news photographs will be projected on the walls of the church to portray themes of the Passion of the Christ story.

Duruflé’s rarely-heard Missa Cum Jubilo will kick off the journey into spring. Works by some beloved contemporary composers—Eric Barnum, Jake Runestad and Kim Arnesén—will celebrate nature and love of springtime.

Tickets are $25 and are available for purchase at or by calling 253.591.5894 or 1.800.291.7593. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

About Symphony Tacoma Voices – The Voices are led by Chorus Director Geoffrey Boers, who is also Director of Choral Activities at the University of Washington in Seattle. The dedicated all-volunteer choir is a blend of gifted amateur and professional singers who meet weekly throughout the season, working hard to achieve a professional-caliber ensemble to prepare for performances with Symphony Tacoma, stand-alone concerts and projects with other musical organizations in the region.

Press Release: Electric Harp phenom steps in to perform on Earth Day

Maestra Sarah Ioannides has created another brilliant musical experience for this Spring! She has turned the initial disappointment that Opus X could not make their scheduled appearance, into excitement and  buzz! Ioannides knew only the most extraordinary, dazzling artist could fill that slot, and she set out to find the perfect fit.

We now are thrilled to announce that on April 22, Symphony Tacoma will be featuring quest artist Deborah Henson-Conant, the internationally renowned, Grammy nominated “Jimi Hendrix of the harp.”

“Virtuoso out-of-the box harpist Deborah Henson-Conant is known as the rockin’ bad girl of the harp world. She took the ancient instrument off its pedestal, cocked it on her hip, and made it play everything from Mexican cantina music to Brubeck to gut-bucket blues and sounds like Van Halen.”  — NPR

Symphony Tacoma is thrilled to reunite with Henson-Conant—composer, performer, singer, author, cartoonist, comedian, electric harpist—who last performed together to a 100% SOLD-OUT house on March 27, 2011.

For this Tacoma engagement taking place on Earth Day, April 22, 2018, Henson-Conant and Ioannides are planning a celebration of our connection with each other and the Earth. Music, song, storytelling, rhythm and non-verbal communication are among the earliest ways that humans begin to learn about these relationships. Deborah Henson-Conant will remind us all that music and performance is far more than mere entertainment; it is a profound reflection of our culture, our values and our identity.

Deborah Henson-Conant, with her signature rockstar leather-and-boots attire, has jammed with the likes of: Steven Tyler, Bobby McFerrin, Rufus Reid, Doc Severinsen and Marvin Hamlisch. The Grammy-nominated artist was on NBC, CBS, CNN, and has starred in two PBS specials.

But this soloist also sings angelically, drawing comparisons to Joan Baez and Carly Simon. As a trained educator who has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is sure to mesmerize and enlighten our community with her vivacious humor, intellect and storytelling abilities!
Sponsored by Marine Floats, with support from the Tacoma Philharmonic Endowment, the upcoming concert will take place Sunday, April 22 at 2:30 p.m. at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma. Tickets start at $19.50. For additional information:

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.