For her first season with the Tacoma Symphony, brand-new musical director Sarah Ioannides is making a splash. The orchestra’s 2014/15 season, announced yesterday, opens with a literal bang thanks to international percussion superstar Evelyn Glennie playing a world-premiere concerto by Australian composer Sean O’Boyle, and continues with soloists like Israeli cellist Amit Peled, Olympia prodigy pianist Charlie Albright, violinist Vadim Gluzman and an Irish pops concert featuring a tap dancer and piper with soprano Kaitlyn Lusk.
Ioannides first met Glennie years ago in France, and when she began discussions about working with her the conductor sent her a sample concerto by O’Boyle, whose music she had discovered recently.
“Like me, Ms. Glennie found his music most compelling and asked if he would be interested to write a concerto for her,” said Ioannides via email. “I of course, contacted Sean right away...and the concerto is being written (right now).”
The Tacoma Symphony will get to premiere the piece. O’Boyle, a jazz clarinetist and conductor, is seeing great success as a composer as well.
Says Ioannides: “He is a great talent, has a huge output …and a burning creative spark.”
For the most part, though, Ioannides – who assumes her position this summer when 20-year director Harvey Felder steps down – offers reassuringly Romantic standards to the symphony’s subscriber base. Works like Brahms’ Symphony no. 2, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1, Dvòrak’s Symphony no. 8 and popular pieces by Debussy, Ravel, Resphigi and Beethoven fill most of the repertoire. Just a few surprises, such as a multimedia component to Holst’s “The Planets” and “Euterpe” by early American composer George Chadwick, as well as the opening Glennie concert, give a glimpse into what Ioannides might be bringing to the orchestra in future.
Ioannides is also taking over conducting the orchestra and chorus’ annual performance of “The Messiah” from chorus director Geoffrey Boers. Boers will still direct the chorus-only concert in spring, as well as "Sounds of the Season."
For more information, including tickets, call 253-272-7264, tacomasymphony.org.