Symphony Tacoma Celebrates Classical Influences from Bohemia in Classics III



Saturday, February 26, 2022

7:30 pm

Pantages Theater

Sarah Ioannides, conductor

Bella Hristova, violin

Smetana: Vltava “The Moldau”

David Ludwig: Violin Concerto

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 “Titan”

Tacoma, WA—Symphony Tacoma looks to Eastern Europe and expressions of love for its third of six classics concerts in its 75th Anniversary Season. Classics III will take place Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pantages Theater. This concert was originally scheduled for the 2020-21 season but was rescheduled when live performances were canceled due to the pandemic.

“I am so happy to finally bring back this concert!” Music Director Sarah Ioannides. “I hope its messages of love and revelation will be more touching and poignant than ever—since we have been apart, the striking beauty of live music is felt more richly than ever before.”

The concert begins with Bedřich Smetana’s Vlata, a love letter to his homeland. Considered the father of Czech music, Smetana captured his country’s musical style in Vlast, a set of six symphonic poems that portray the history, legends, landscapes and folklore of Bohemia. The most famous of this set, The Moldau, is a tone poem based on the Vlata River (its Czech name). The work depicts the flow of the river from the mountains, through the Czech countryside to the city of Prague, and ultimately to its merge with the Elbe as it flows out to sea.

David Ludwig, the recently-appointed Dean and Director of Music at The Juilliard School, wrote his violin concerto for violinist Bella Hristova, his wife, at the time of their marriage. Ludwig comments, “I only know of a few concertos written by composers for first performances by their spouses, and I don’t know of any that are motivated by the idea of marriage itself, as this one is. My concerto comes with musical references to partnership, empathy and communion, as it imagines the before, during and after a traditional wedding ceremony.

“Both of our backgrounds are Eastern European,” continues Ludwig. “The piece is full of dance music from that part of the world, including several dances native to Bella’s native Bulgaria.” To further personalize the work, Ludwig also drew influence from Bella’s father, composer Yuri Chichkov who passed away when she was a young child. “Chichkov was a wonderful and well-known Russian composer, who himself wrote a violin concerto. After a year of hunting, I tracked down that concerto and quoted from his second movement at a place in my own second movement–as a way to include him in our marriage.”

“This work is one of the most musically touching tributes of love, dedication and remembrance,” comments Ioannides. “It is not only a work of pure brilliance but thoughtful sincerity, charm and happiness.”

Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 1 “Titan” closes the concert. Inspired by Jean Paul Richter’s novel, Titan, this work describes a “strong, heroic man, his life and sufferings, his battles and defeats at the hands of Fate.” The piece mobilized Mahler’s legacy as a symphonist with visions of nature, and a finale of thunderbolts and lightning. To build the story, Mahler incorporates popular 18th century folk elements, marches and dances—including the Ländler, a folk dance in 4 time which was popular in Austria, Bavaria, German Switzerland, and Slovenia at the time.

“This program is akin to a voyage through landscape, life and stories of people from the heart of Eastern Europe, drawing from timeless folkloristic elements and the region’s songs and dances,” says Ioannides.

“As we continue with our 75th Anniversary Season, we want to assure our audience that their safety—and that of our musicians, staff and volunteers—is our top priority,” said Executive Director Karina Bharne. “We are continuing to require all patrons to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or results of a negative test taken within 72 hours of concert time, as well as wear masks at all times while in the concert hall. Our full safety protocols can be found on our website.

“We look forward to seeing you at the Pantages!”

Tickets for this concert are on sale now through the Symphony Tacoma Box Office. Prices range from $24 to $85. To purchase tickets or season subscriptions, visit or call 253-272-7264.

Symphony Tacoma’s 2021-2022 season is generously sponsored by MultiCare and Tacoma Creates. The Classics III concert is sponsored by LeRoy Jewelers, R.L. Ray Violin Shop, Timothy E. Williams and Northwest Public Broadcasting.


Acclaimed for her passionate, powerful performances, beautiful sound, and compelling command of her instrument, Bella Hristova is a young violinist with a growing international career, touted by The Washington Post as a “a player of impressive power and control.” Born in Pleven, Bulgaria to Russian and Bulgarian parents, Ms. Hristova began violin studies at the age of six. She studied at the Curtis Institute of Music and earned her Artist Diploma at Indiana University. A passionate proponent of new music and composers, Ms. Hristova commissioned iconic composer Joan Tower to write “Second String Force” for unaccompanied violin, which she premiered and performed throughout the United States. Ms. Hristova lives in Philadelphia with her husband, composer David Serkin Ludwig, and their four cats. She performs on a 1655 Nicolò Amati violin.


Building community through music. Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition for 75 years, Symphony Tacoma annually performs concerts for nearly 20,000 citizens and provides education programs for 7,000 children and adults in Pierce County and the Greater Puget Sound region. The orchestra comprises more than 80 professional musicians and a volunteer chorus of 70. Music Director Sarah Ioannides is renowned for her passionate conducting, creativity, arts collaboration, and commitment to innovation and diversity, making Symphony Tacoma a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape.


Symphony Tacoma is committed to providing a safe and healthy concert environment for audiences, musicians and staff for the 2021-2022 Season. All patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination or results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the concert date. Patrons will also be required to wear a mask while attending Symphony Tacoma performances, whether or not they have been vaccinated. Please visit our website for updated information.

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Christmas in Hawaii

Tacoma Arts Live presents

Jake Shimabukuro

Christmas in Hawaii

Friday, December 10, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Pantages Theater
Tickets: $29, $49, $69, $85
Ukulele master and jolly ambassador of aloha, JAKE SHIMABUKURO, will bring joy to the world this upcoming 2021 Holiday Season by delivering a special gift for all with the debut of his highly anticipated holiday show, JAKE SHIMABUKURO – CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII.

With only four strings, Jake is a humble master whose mission is to connect and inspire people. Whether one on one or in front of an audience of thousands, Jake shares a deep emotional connection with the listener that is open, magical, and transcendent. Jake’s genuine love for people, the spirit of Holidays, and his beloved home of Hawaii are at the forefront of JAKE SHIMABUKURO – CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII. It will be a warm welcome of merriment and wonder for the season.

In addition to his signature show favorites, this special show will draw on a vibrant catalog of holiday classics such as We Three Kings, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, O Holy Night, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and selections from his “Jake & Friends” album to be released in November 2021 (Willie Nelson, Bette Midler, Jack Johnson, Michael McDonald, Vince Gill & Amy Grant and more).

Along with bassist Jackson Waldoff and special Guests, singer-songwriter, Thunderstorm Artis on vocals and first-call percussionist, Taku Hirano, JAKE SHIMABUKURO will spread good cheer to all with his world-renowned live show in a fun take on the holidays sure to keep spirits bright. Exceptional and spirited JAKE SHIMABUKURO’S CHRISTMAS IN HAWAII is sure to become an eagerly anticipated annual family event.

We care deeply about the health and safety of our patrons, artists, staff, and community at large. We are joining venues nationally, and across the Puget Sound region to require our audiences, artists, and staff to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours sourced by a professional test provider (for all ages who are not vaccinated) to attend all public, indoor performances. Further, all patrons will be required to wear masks indoors.

Our goals are to keep everyone safe and healthy while doing our part to stop the transmission of the virus. We will accept documentation at the door the day of the performance including vaccine cards or 72-hour negative test results (including photos/copies or verified electronic methods) along with photo ID.

Tacoma Arts Live will regularly monitor Health Guidelines and update these procedures as needed. Please visit our website or contact our box office with any questionmas in

Symphony Tacoma Rings in the Season with Songs from Favorite Holiday Shows + Handel’s Messiah

Tacoma, WA— Continuing its 75th Anniversary season, Symphony Tacoma will present two festive holiday concerts in December. From cherished holiday movie and TV songs to Handel’s beloved Messiah, the programs capture the themes, spirit and “sounds of the season.”
Sunday, December 5 | 2:30 pm
Pantages Theater
Geoffrey Boers, conductor
Tickets: $24-$85
Conductor Geoffrey Boers exclaims, “Even the Grinch would love this concert!”
Symphony Tacoma is thrilled to once again present Holiday Favorites, its annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family. The orchestra will open the program with selections from of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. The Symphony Tacoma Voices chorus will perform a medley of Christmas songs from a variety of holiday movies and TV shows and other favorites that celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Candle Blessing, a piece written by Symphony Tacoma’s composer-in-residence David Ludwig, will be sung during the lighting of the menorah led by special guest Jacob Finkle from Seattle Jewish Chorus. Always a favorite moment, the audience sing-along will fill the theater with joyful voices.
Tickets for this concert are on sale now through the Symphony Tacoma Box Office. Prices range from $24 to $85. To purchase tickets or season subscriptions, visit or call 253-272-7264.

76 th Annual Holiday Celebration Lights Up Downtown Tacoma

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76th Annual Holiday Celebration Lights Up Downtown Tacoma
ASM Global and Tacoma Venues & Events host live tree lighting with special visit from Santa
For the 76th year, the holiday tree is up in front of the Pantages Theater at South 9th Street
and Broadway. The long-standing, traditional holiday tree-lighting celebration will take place on
Saturday, November 27, beginning at 5 p.m.
Glowing in sparkling decorated trees, the Pantages Theater lobby will feature display tables hosted by
local resident arts organizations, including Tacoma City Ballet, Symphony Tacoma, Northwest
Sinfonietta, Tacoma Concert Band, Puget Sound Revels and the Tacoma School of the Arts.
Attendees will enjoy Corina Bakery special cookies, hot drinks, mingling Nutcracker ballerinas, courtesy
Tacoma City Ballet, and live music by an 11-piece Tacoma Concert Band brass ensemble and a joint
string quartet, courtesy Symphony Tacoma and Northwest Sinfonietta. In addition, Santa and Mrs. Claus
will read a traditional story and lead a fun-filled singalong of popular children’s holiday songs, followed
by the tree-lighting countdown.
“We are truly looking forward to welcoming the community to the Pantages and the gorgeous holiday
tree standing out front. We’re creating a fun and festive tree lighting event with all the sights and
sounds of the season for the entire family,” said Lynn Carlotto, General Manager for Tacoma Theaters.
Tacoma Venues & Events (TVE) recently announced ASM Global, an international leader in venue
management, as new managers for the City of Tacoma-owned Pantages Theater (and adjoining Jones
Building), the Rialto Theater and the Theatre on the Square.
The 40’ Douglas fir tree was donated by Skyline Presbyterian Church and is decorated over several days
with more than 250’ of lights and traditional holiday décor.
For safety measures, the event will be held both indoors and outdoors. Masks will be required when
indoors per state mandate. No vaccine verifications or negative tests are required for this event.
On Sunday, November 28, the traditional lighting of The Menorah in honor of Chanukah will be held in
front of the Pantages Theater at 5 p.m. The menorah has been graciously presented from
Rabbi Kesselman of Chabad Jewish Center of Pierce County.
For more information, visit or call 253.272.3663.
Tammi Bryant – Director of Marketing – Tacoma Venues & Events

Pantages Theater Returns to Historic Glory

Tacoma not only creates it also celebrates its artistic history.

Slated for the wrecking ball in the 1980s, the historic Pantages Theater located in downtown Tacoma had seen better days. Built in 1918 for vaudeville king Alexander Pantages as part of his theater empire, the beloved theater was in deep decline and neglect. Demonstrating true Tacoma grit, citizens rallied together and saved the performance space that became part of the City of Tacoma and later the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts.

Although the loss of this historic treasure had been adverted, recent patrons, staff and performers have all known that there was much more that needed to be done. Peeling paint, sound from the street and uncomfortable seats were indicators that changes needed to be made.

Completed this November, the most recent renovation returns the inside of the Pantages much closer to its original state and also consists of updates for the safety and comfort of today’s audiences and performers.

From the new color scheme, based on the forensic research of the 22 layers of paint, to the addition of rich decoration to the private boxes that feature rosettes and shells, the Pantages has returned to it’s former glory. Details that had previously been difficult to see have been revealed and the architectural elements have been enhanced.

Modern attendees will appreciate features such as wider seats, cup holders, a new center aisle, fewer stairways, new handrails and lighting. What patrons won’t see are the new seismic and safety updates that will preserve the theater’s structure and integrity should an earthquake hit. Additionally, the acoustics of the space have been greatly improved with the elimination of the carpeting that previously absorbed sound and newly built floors.

With the busy holiday season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to see for yourself the glorious Pantages while attending a live performance.  Come down to the Theater District and celebrate! Hilary Ryan

Image By: Justin John Ryan


Star Chefs On Broadway

The Pantages Theater was transformed into a 1920s speakeasy with rum runners and floozies hosting gambling games and enticing guests to try a variety of giggle waters so delicious they should have been prohibited. Dapper gents and dolled-up dames enjoyed a variety of delicious appetizers in the lobby before going into the 100-year-old theater. They were served a four-course dinner by Asado along with fine wines and dessert, and a delicious “last bite” by Corina Bakery. The entertainment continued throughout the evening with a dazzling program by EnJoy Productions.
Funds raised totaled in excess of $310,000, including the first round of seat-naming opportunities sold for the Pantages Theater renovation.

Chinese Opera Comes to Tacoma

Audience members will be mesmerized by a cast of acclaimed performers as Thousand Faces Chinese Opera comes to Pantages Theater in Tacoma on May 13. One of the oldest dramatic art forms, Chinese opera has developed into unique regional styles. It has evolved beyond the tradition of singing and dancing to incorporate skillful visual elements. These include face changing, martial arts, acrobatics and even fire breathing.

Yu Long, who has perfected her craft of face changing over 30 years, explains her art as quick, accurate and beautiful. Spectators might call it magical and mysterious. In face changing, the artist wears a silk face mask to represent a character or emotion. During the performance the mask is changed repeatedly with the slightest movement and imperceptibly to the eyes of the audience.

Long was born and raised in Chengdu, the birthplace of Sichuan opera. She pleaded with officials to allow a woman to study the art of face changing. Previously only men were allowed. Her dedication led to her being recognized by the Chinese government as the only national “female inheritor” of Sichuan opera.

Long will be in impressive company for Thousand Faces Chinese Opera. Joining her are Bole Zhao (赵宝乐), national opera producer and popular host of China’s Opera Channel; China national actors Wenge Hu (胡文阁), the best Mei-style Peking opera performer, and Yi Long (龙毅), a Sichuan opera performer who breathes fire; Shijia Jiang (姜适迦), a well-known Peking opera performer and professor of drama; and Lucy Wu (吴小妹), Peking opera jinghu performer and winner of the China Culture Ministry’s Outstanding Youth Artist Achievement Award. The show will also include demonstrations of calligraphy, painting, tea arts, puppetry and acrobatics.

Thousand Faces Chinese Opera will be performed in Seattle on May 12 and Tacoma on May 13. The performances are sponsored by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, America Long Yu Chinese Traditional Culture and Face Changing Art Academy, Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, and .

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Asia Pacific Cultural Center at 253.383.3900 or visit by Julie leydelmeyer

Asia Pacific Cultural Center

4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA




LIV ON Starring Olivia Newton-John, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Amy Sky

Three superstars team up for LIV ON, a concert experience with the power to heal heartache with hope and gratitude. Grammy winner Olivia Newton-John, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Canadian singer/songwriter Amy Sky team up for the inspirational concert at the historic Pantages Theater on February 17, at 7:30 p.m. 

LIV ON is built around the experiences that Newton-John, Chapman, and Sky who believe what matters most in life: love, loss, hope, and healing. With songs such as “Stone In My Pocket” and “My Heart Goes Out To You,” the three friends have put the purpose of the LIV ON Project into song. Having all experienced life changing losses, the project blossomed out of both their unified grief and their resolute desire to heal and help others. The LIV ON Project takes the listener on a journey of remembrance, toward one of inspiration and hope.

“We found that any time we shared a vulnerable part of us, we felt such an overwhelming feeling of kinship and relief, that we were not alone with our pain,” Newton-John said. “We hope these songs that came from the depths of us, will offer a place of comfort to others.”

This very special performance is meant to help lift the hearts of others going through their own hardship, whatever the cause. LIV ON also brings listeners epic songs such as Nielsen Chapman’s “Sand and Water,” and several brand new songs, including the title track, “Liv On,” which was born of their own exploration into the pain of loss, the growth that follows, and eventually the journey toward renewed joy. 

To purchase tickets call the Broadway Center Box Office at 253.591.5894, toll-free 1.800.291.7593, online at