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Celebrating 175 Years Since His Birth, Brahms Violin Concerto Ignites The Stage at Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra With Virtuoso Andrew Sords

23-year-old violinist slated for New Hampshire debut in a week of outreach and performances celebrating the life of Johannes Brahms.

Portsmouth, NH (PRWEB) November 6, 2008 -- In May of 1853, Johannes Brahms met a rising violinist by the name of Joseph Joachim. The two became fast friends, bonding over music and inspiring each other with their unique gifts. As Brahms' talent grew, he proposed writing a concerto for his violinist companion, with Joachim's input requested on the feasibility of the score. As the concerto developed, however, Brahms rejected many of Joachim's edits. Following a trend at the time, Brahms wrote in the key of D Major, but breaking tradition he initially planned a four movement concerto. First drafts only included the standard three movements and it wasn't until several years later when Brahms debuted his second piano concerto that he actually implemented the four movement scheme. The tumultuous violin concerto was premiered on New Years Day, 1879, in Leipzig, Germany. The reviews were lukewarm, but one of Brahms' greatest supporters Clara Schumann, was quoted as saying that the orchestra and violinist were "thoroughly blended."

On November 23, EMC Artists presents violin virtuoso Andrew Sords performing Johannes Brahms' Violin Concerto Op. 77 in D major with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Christopher Hill. The concert will be held at the Portsmouth Music Hall, 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801 at 3:00 P.M. Tickets are priced as follows: $18 Gen Admission; $15 Seniors 65 and over; $12 Students 18 and under.

Sords finds this concerto to be intriguing and engaging, expanding upon the concept by pointing to violinists of old and their interpretations. Shortly after the concertos debut, violinist Bronislaw Huberman elaborated, "It is a concerto for violin against the orchestra--and the violin wins." It is precisely this intense dialogue between violin and orchestra that is especially riveting to audiences and performers alike.

Sords is quick to point out that this 175th Anniversary of Brahms' birth was the impetus for revisiting such a charismatic concerto. "After performing this for the first time in 2007, it was time to revisit this summit of the violin repertoire. Brahms has everything for the violinist; flights of virtuosity, intense lyricism, and unwavering drama. It is a very taxing work but one the performer takes much away from. I am very privileged to play this concerto with the Portsmouth Symphony."

Brahms was a notoriously picky composer: as it is with musicians he was his own worst critic. Many of his works never saw the light of day, having been burned upon his review. However, his profoundly judgmental views saw this concerto as one of his crowning achievements. This endorsement from Brahms was seen as even more influential considering he, and the reviewing public, were comparing his concerto to the sublime Beethoven concerto in the same key and three movement scheme. At the time, Beethoven was the model for the romantic era and with this concerto Brahms would join Beethoven in the pantheon of concerto greats.

"Brahms was an easy choice," states Sords "this year I have performed the complete Sonata Cycle as well as various trios and now the concerto. These works are incredibly influential to all musicians, but especially violinists. In my formative years, I always held the Brahms concerto in the highest regard, and waited to perform until I felt I could do it justice. While performing this I often find myself completely lost within the music and the dialogue with the orchestra, I sometimes forget there is an audience"!

At the age of 23, violinist Andrew Sords is already a veteran of the concert stage. He is the winner of the 2005 National Shirley Valentin Violin Award, the 2004 and 2005 National Federation of Music Clubs Competition, the Fortnightly Music Club of Cleveland and the Festival de la Orquesta Sinfonica de las Americas Competition of the Casals Festival among others. In 2008, Sords received international exposure as the top Google Classical News story as well as topping the Top-40 Charts in Classical. Sords has recently toured with the Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky violin concerti to critical acclaim, and has quickly emerged as one of the foremost solo violinists of his generation. In addition to an extensive solo calendar, Sords will also fulfill the duties of Concertmaster for the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in Northeast Ohio. Sords has been appointed for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons and will commence his second season with concerto performances on a regional tour with the symphony.

Sords completed his undergraduate education at the Cleveland Institute of Music with violin pedagogues Linda Cerone and David Russell, and performed for the legendary Midori in masterclasses in New York and at the University of Southern California. He continues to meet the demands of a burgeoning solo career which has taken him from American concert halls to venues in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. Most recently, Sords studied under internationally acclaimed violinist Chee-Yun at The Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas.

Sords explains each movements in an almost reverential manner, "The expansive first movement opens with an extensive orchestra tutti building up to the explosive entrance of the violin. The gorgeous first theme is paradoxically contrasted by the volatile development and I perform the obscure Fritz Kreizler cadenza. The second movement, commencing with the memorable oboe solo, features an almost chamber music reverie between violin and orchestra. And the third movement features Hungarian themes, something Brahms was known for exploiting, most notably in his aptly named Hungarian Dances. The concerto takes the audience through a emotional journey that will certainly leave them moved."

Sords will present educational outreach to school children, masterclasses for fellow violinists, and a benefit recital with pianist Michelle Alexander for the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. For further details on all events during the week leading up to the concert, please contact the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra at 603-436-2400.

For more information on Violin Virtuoso Andrew Sords, please visit www.andrewsords.com or contact EMC Artists at emcartists @ gmail.com. For more information on the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra and related concerts, please visit www.themusichall.org.