- Associated Press - Sunday, April 27, 2014

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The music director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra is stepping down after 20 years.

The News Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/QM12iR) Harvey Felder oversaw big growth in the organization, raising its annual budget from $300,000 to nearly $1 million and instituting new community outreach programs such as youth and pops concerts.

Symphony board president Dick Ammerman says Felder’s tenure wasn’t always easy, because he raised standards by increasing the number of rehearsals from one per week to four per week before concerts, and because he pushed out some of the musicians. Of the orchestra’s 78 members in 1993, just 26 remained five years later.

Concertmaster Svend Ronning says Felder accomplished what he set out to do - “to turn an orchestra based on community into an orchestra based on excellence.”

Felders last concert will include a performance of Mahler’s “Fifth Symphony” on May 10. He’s being replaced by Sarah Ioannides.

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com