Beethoven's Defiant Violin Concerto Soars In The Hands of Virtuoso Andrew Sords

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22-Year-old violinist set for highly anticipated debut with the Carson City Symphony Oct. 21st.

Emerging profoundly deaf after more than 30 years of a life plagued by domestic abuse, personal crises, and largely unrequited love interests, Ludwig Van Beethoven overcame those personal issues in his towering violin concerto in D major, Opus 61. This monumental work premiered in a circus-like fashion featuring violinist, Franz Clement, at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria, on December 23, 1806. In a bizarre gesture of showmanship, Clement chose to play his own solo composition between Beethoven's first and second movements--performing this piece on a single-stringed violin which he elected to play upside down. This chaotic performance underwhelmed reviewers and nearly sent Beethoven's masterpiece into permanent oblivion. It was not until years after Beethoven's death that the legendary Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim revived the work with an orchestra led by Felix Mendelssohn. That incandescent performance scaled the concerto's lofty thematic heights, revealing its perfect construction and securing a permanent place in the hearts of music critics and performers alike. Opus 61 soon became recognized as the very pinnacle of the violin repertoire.

On October 21st, Raven Ridge Media presents: Violin virtuoso Andrew Sords performing Beethoven's Opus 61 with the Carson City Symphony under the baton of Maestro David Bugli, who is also debuting the symphonic work. The concert will be held at the Carson City Community Center at 4:00 PM, 851 E. William Street (Route 50). Tickets are $12 general admission; $10 for Association members, seniors, and students; free age 16 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the Carson Brewery Arts Center; on-line at ActivityTickets.com or by calling (775) 883-4154. The Oct. 21st concert also features New York composer Steven Rosenhaus' suite, "Nevada Bagatelles" (conducted by the composer) and selections from E.T. by John Williams.

Asked about the connection between mastering this challenging piece and understanding Beethoven's keen pathos, Sords responded: "The emotional spectrum makes you extremely vulnerable not only due to the piece's technical transparency, but because one has to be convinced of every phrase that's coming out of their instrument. The opening movement has tension, grief, and drama: More than any other concerto, it's the most human-like, due to the pulse and poignant spectrum. One has to be utterly confident in playing this piece while having complete reverence for the composer's intentions."

Indeed, few would have guessed that only four years before writing this inspirational work, Beethoven penned a letter to his brothers detailing his abject torment and suicidal thoughts. He deeply feared that his music career was at an end due to severe tinnitus and encroaching deafness. That letter became posthumously known as the composer's "Heilegenstadt Testament." It was at this time, Sords remarked, that Beethoven entered his "Middle Period," during which he produced some of his most heroic, brooding, and inspirational works. Beethoven had permanently dismissed suicide in favor of a new direction that he termed, "Giving the world all the music I felt within me."    

The decision to play Opus 61 didn't come with age, according to Sords, "It came with a growing maturity, and the experience of playing a variety of repertoire. Having played the Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Bach, and Brahms concerti, these wonderful composers helped me to ascend the mountain to the Beethoven Concerto--which is at the top. I wanted to know that I could do this concerto justice. It's been played often, and very well, by others. I needed to truly feel that I could contribute something to Beethoven's muse."

Winner of the 2005 National Shirley Valentin Violin Award, the 2004 and 2005 National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, as well as awards from the Fortnightly Music Club of Cleveland, and the Festival de la Orquesta Sinfonica de las Americas Competition of the Casals Festival among others, Sords has dramatically emerged as one of the foremost violinists of his generation.
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Sords graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2007, having studied almost exclusively with violin pedagogues Linda Cerone and David Russell. He has performed for the legendary Midori in master classes in New York and at the University of Southern California, while his burgeoning solo career has taken him from American concert halls to venues in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. In the fall of 2007, Sords entered an Artist Diploma program at Southern Methodist University, where he was awarded an Assistantship position with the internationally acclaimed violinist, Chee-Yun.

As to Beethoven's global popularity and relevance Sords' declared, "We cannot overstate the impact of Beethoven's influence on today's society, culture, and classical music. His work should not be underestimated, undervalued, or underappreciated. Beethoven's concerto is as relevant today as it was in 1806 because of its pure vitality: When played well, it's a living, breathing creature."

For more information on violin virtuoso Andrew Sords, please visit http://www.andrewsords.com or contact Presenter, Suzanne Marcus-Fletcher, at ravenridge@socal.rr.com. For more information on the Carson City Symphony and related concerts, please visit http://www.ccsymhony.com

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SUZANNE MARCUS-FLETCHER
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