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.