Maestro Sarah Ioannides to conduct her “Grand Finale”

SPARTANBURG, SC— On Saturday, April 29 at 7:00pm, Sarah Ioannides will return to the stage for her final performance with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO). The concert will be held in Twichell Auditorium at Converse College. Doors open at 6:00pm, and the pre-concert chat, “Classical Conversations” hosted by Dr. Chris Vaneman, will be held from 6:15-6:45pm in the auditorium. Tickets start at $25 each and can be purchased by telephone — (864) 596-9724 — or in person at Twichell’s box office. Tickets are also available online at

In August of 2015, Maestro Ioannides announced that she would be stepping down from the podium, ending her 12 year tenure with the SPO in the spring of 2017. “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 twelve 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.”

For her Grand Finale with this symphony, Ioannides will offer a special program that brings her time with the orchestra full circle. The orchestra will perform Debussy’s Nocturnes: Sirènes with the Converse Chorale, the ensemble that was featured on her debut concert as Music Director of the SPO. The evening will culminate in the performance of the spectacular “Organ” Symphony by Saint-Saëns featuring Brennan Szafron – the very first piece that Ioannides ever conducted here in Spartanburg. The program will also include Bizet’s famous Carmen Suite no. 1 followed by Fauré’s Fantaisie for Flute and Orchestra which will feature SPO’s principal flute, Rhea Jacobus.

“I will particularly miss seeing Sarah’s wonderful capacity to forge a sensitive, unified musical poem out of what starts out as individual viewpoints,” says Jacobus. “This is a phenomenal ability, and one that I have repeatedly watched with fascination and enjoyment during our rehearsals throughout the years.”

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 Pepe Romero, Evelyn Glennie, Vadim Gluzman, and Dario Marianelli. 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.

The orchestra will celebrate their time with Sarah Ioannides at their “Maestro, Mozart, and Motorcycles” fundraising gala on Monday, April 24, 2017 at the Spartanburg Marriott. The event will include a silent auction and feature a raffle for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. All proceeds will go to support the SPO’s education and

outreach programs that are offered throughout Spartanburg county for free. Tickets for the gala as well as the raffle are available online or through the SPO administrative offices.

A search for Ioannides’s replacement continues next season as three candidates will each take a turn at the podium, auditioning for the position of Music Director. All three audition concerts will take place at Twichell Auditorium as a part of the regular SPO season. Audience members will have an opportunity to meet the candidates after each show and will be encouraged to provide feedback about their musical experiences. The Search Committee will announce the new Music Director in early 2018, and he will take to the podium for the 70th Anniversary of the SPO in the fall of that year.