Here are snapshots of the finalists seeking to become the new artistic director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra:
• Sarah Ioannides, 41, who will audition this week.
One of only a few accomplished female conductors, the Australian-born Brit was educated at Oxford University, the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School of Music.
She has an impressive résumé, including work with mentor Paarvo Jarvi; big orchestras, including Cincinnati; smaller ones, such as El Paso; and her current directorship at Spartanburg, S.C. She also has worked in opera, with youth symphonies and premiering new compositions.
“She’s just an extremely classy, elegant presence on the podium who gets an effect out of the orchestra with a minimal amount of physical gesturing,” said Tacoma Symphony Orchestra’s executive director, Andy Buelow. He said Ioannides reminds him of TSO’s current artistic director, Harvey Felder.
• Paul Haas, 42, who will audition May 4.
The New Yorker has a reputation for unusual but successful ideas for presenting classical music, from multimedia to unconventional venues, mostly because of his touring group Sympho.
He has directed the New York Youth Symphony, winning awards for educational programming. Haas also is a composer, and currently is music director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.
“He’s got some wild ideas,” said Tacoma composer Greg Youtz, a member of the art director search committee. “I’m really excited about him. He’s young, energetic.”
And he’s possibly interested in moving his family here to get away from New York’s congestion and high cost of living, Youtz said.
• Kevin Rhodes, 41, who will audition Oct. 26.
As music director for the Springfield (Mass.) Symphony, he’s been acclaimed for “sure-footed, elegant and exciting performances” by the Springfield Union-Times. He also is music director of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan and Boston’s Pro Arte chamber orchestra, as well as a regular guest conductor in the opera houses of Milan, Vienna and Paris.
A phenomenal concert pianist in his own right, according to Youtz, Rhodes brings an older, European sensibility to his work.
• Scott Speck, 51, who will audition Nov. 17.
He is music director with the Joffrey Ballet and West Michigan and Mobile, Ala., symphonies. He also is the co-author of “Classical Music for Dummies” and two others in the series.
His impressive list of collaborations and appearances in Europe and America include working with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Midori and Evelyn Glennnie.
Said Youtz: He “knows how to talk to ordinary folks.”