In Monday’s (4/18) El Paso Times (Texas), Doug Pullen writes, “She didn’t wear leather. There weren’t any motorcycles in the lobby. There wasn’t a video screen to be seen. Sarah Ioannides’ last concerts as conductor and music director of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra must have been very different from her first ones here in 2005. She may have raised eyebrows with her attire and new-to-El Paso ways of doing things back then. But on her final night as the orchestra’s sixth conductor—and first maestra—Ioannides went out in style. … The second piece exemplified the maestra’s love of the unusual, the cerebral and the technically demanding. Russian composer Alexander Glazunov’s second violin concerto is a melody-packed, technically complex piece in three continuous movements that pivots on a cadenza in the middle. That allowed Russian-born guest violinist Dmitri Berlinsky of the Michigan State University music school faculty to strut his stuff.” Also on the program were Sibelius’s Finlandia and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. “The orchestra, expanded to 77 musicians (including five percussionists, harp and celeste), rose to the occasion, closing out a tricky year on a high note. The maestra also was on her game. … The audience response was an instantaneous standing ovation, sustained applause and a few more cheers and whistles.”


Posted April 19, 2011