In Tacoma, three music groups take on ten-day “Passion” project

Posted on: March 15, 2016

“Setting the Passion story of Jesus’ suffering and death goes back to Bach—but this month a Tacoma project brings three contemporary Passions to life within ten days,” writes Rosemary Ponnekanti in Thursday’s (3/10) News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) “The University of Washington Chamber Singers perform Arvo Pärt’s ‘Passio,’ the Tacoma Symphony and Chorus perform Tan Dun’s ‘Water Passion,’ and the Pacific Lutheran University choirs sing a new ‘St. Matthew Passion’ by Sven-David Sandström. The one theme that connects them? Compassion for all human suffering…. The project includes lectures, composer question-and-answer session and open rehearsals…. In 2014, PLU choir director Richard Nance went to the world premiere of the Sandström Passion in Uppsala, Sweden…. A few months later, new Tacoma Symphony director Sarah Ioannides—who assisted composer Tan Dun in preparing choirs, directing production and once even conducting the ‘Water Passion’ in its first performances—was exploring the Olympic Peninsula [and] found exactly the kind of flat, resonant stones … for the choir to play in ‘Water Passion’ performances, and she decided to bring the work to Tacoma…. It’s a rare opportunity to hear three very different works inspired by the same texts and music—the gospels, and Bach’s iconic compositions—within a 10-day period.”

Posted March 15, 2016

Pictured: Sarah Ioannides conducts Tan Dun’s “Water Passion” in Perth, Australia. Photo by Cristien Methot