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Ioannides to Depart at End of 2016-2017 Season

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Ioannides has announced that she will conclude her tenure with the SPO at the end of the 2016-2017 season. At the time she passes the baton to her successor, Ms. Ioannides will have been at the helm of the SPO for twelve seasons.

"Spartanburg is, and always will be, an important and very special part of my life – not only for me but for my family as well. The last ten years have been musically inspiring. I am so very proud of the orchestra and everything we have accomplished," Ioannides said. "I firmly believe the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra will continue to be successful, long into the future, standing strong as one of the premier musical establishments."

Ioannides has led the orchestra through a period of significant artistic growth and increased community engagement. During her time with the orchestra, she has brought diverse, exciting, and innovative programs to Spartanburg, collaborating with world-renowned composers and guest artists like Evelyn Glennie, Vadim Gluzman, Dario Marianelli, and George Li.

The SPO has reached national acclaim under her baton and solidified its place among the most vibrant performing ensembles in the country. Passionate about education, Ioannides and the SPO began a partnership with Carnegie Hall in 2012, each year performing the “Link Up” program for thousands of Spartanburg elementary school students. And in 2014, the orchestra was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for its educational outreach.

It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Sarah for the past year,” said SPO Executive Director Kathryn Boucher. “She is a remarkable artist who brings unmatched passion and generosity to her work. Though I will truly miss our partnership, I know I can look forward to celebrating her future accomplishments.”

Spartanburg has been very fortunate to have a young rising star like Sarah at the artistic helm of the SPO since the 2005-2006 Season. In partnership with Orchestra musicians, she has raised the artistic level and reputation of the SPO both locally and nationally,” said Music Foundation of Spartanburg Board President Ray Dunleavy.

In 2014, Ioannides was appointed Music Director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, and this Fall she will be making her debuts with the Tonkunstler Orchestra in Vienna, National Symphony of Dominican Republic, and the prestigious Yale Philharmonia.

SPO principal flute and Orchestra Committee chair, Rhea Jacobus said, “I will particularly miss seeing Sarah’s wonderful capacity to forge a sensitive, unified musical poem out of what starts out as individual viewpoints… this is a phenomenal ability, and one that I have repeatedly watched with fascination and enjoyment during our rehearsals throughout the years.”

A search for Ms. Ioannides’s successor has begun immediately with the formation of a search committee consisting of community leaders and orchestra musicians.


Described by the New York Times as a conductor with “unquestionable strength and authority,” Sarah Ioannides╩╝ dynamic presence on the podium has won praise from audiences and critics alike for bringing fresh ideas, original programs and exciting performances to orchestras across the globe. Immediately recognized by the orchestra and audience as a ‘conductor with magic,’ she took up the position of Music Director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra in July 2014.

Sarah Ioannides’ conducting engagements span five continents with recent appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. She has also guest conducted the Orchestra Nationale de Lyon, Flemish Radio Orchestra, Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, Västerås Sinfonietta and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. A passionate director of vocal & choral music she has conducted and recorded with the RIAS Kammerchor, SWR Vokalensemble, and Bachakademie, Stuttgart. Her recording with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Lara St. John was reviewed by Gramophone music magazine as “directed with panache by Sarah Ioannides”, which features the Suite from the Red Violin by John Corigliano and two world premiers.

Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005, Ioannides’ successful tenure is characterized by cultivating traditions and establishing effective community relationships through creative programming. “The orchestra and its Music Director, Sarah Ioannides, offered compelling proof of the value and importance of an orchestra.”  (Spartanburg Herald Journal). She also served as Music Director with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra between 2005-2011 where she was highly recognized by her innovative programs, multimedia creations, and developing a younger audience: once again, Ioannides was dazzling as she led the orchestra in an exhilarating performance [El Paso Times].

Sarah Ioannides has appeared in special engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New World Symphony and the London Symphony Orchestra. Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2002-2004, she also served as the Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, and was the first woman appointed to the conducting staff of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Ioannides collaborated regularly with composer/conductor Tan Dun, serving as Assistant Conductor & Production Coordinator. As such, she conducted the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Flemish Radio Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Oregon Bach Festival. She has directed and commissioned films for live orchestral multimedia performances including new films for Holst’s The Planets, and Steve Reich’s The Desert Music.  She has served on numerous advisory boards and as a competition adjudicator, and has most recently served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts.

Dedicated to supporting living composers, Ioannides has conducted dozens of premiers including works by John Corigliano, Dario Marianelli, Tan Dun, Kenneth Fuchs, Luis Tinoco and Jennifer Higdon. As a conductor of opera, Ioannides led the European premiere of Stephen Paulus’ The 

Woodlanders, garnering acclaim from the Times, The GuardianThe Independent and The Telegraph in the UK. Opera-Opera depicted Ioannides lyrical conducting technique as one “with the most persuasive of gentle textures, she coaxed from the performers an extraordinary array of sounds. She was grace personified.” 

Born in Australia, Ioannides grew up in the UK performing as a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. She received Masters degrees from both Oxford University, as an instrumental scholar, and the Juilliard School of Music, where she was Assistant Conductor to Otto-Werner Mueller. A recipient of numerous prizes and awards, she came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholar to attend the Curtis Institute of Music, following studies in conducting at the Guildhall School of Music.

In 2009 Ioannides was named in the Los Angeles Times as one of six female conductors breaking the glass podium.  Noted in the New York Times as part of “a new wave of female conductors in their late 20’s through early 40’s,” Sarah Ioannides is a prize-winner of the Leeds Conducting Competition and was also awarded the JoAnn Falletta award for the most promising female conductor.

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Chapman Cultural Center
200 E. St.John St., Spartanburg, SC 29306
Tickets: 864-542-2787