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Violinist Andrew Sords performs Sibelius with the Grand Junction Symphony

October 18, 2017

On Saturday, October 28th and Sunday, October 29th, the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra’s (GJSO) season continues with Schumann & Sibelius. Violinist Andrew Sords performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto along with performances of William White’s Acadia Fanfare and Schumann’s Symphony No. 3.

Both concerts will be held at the Avalon Theatre with Saturday’s performance beginning at 7:30pm and the Sunday matinee at 3:00pm.

American violinist Andrew Sords has garnered accolades on 4 continents for his performances combining visceral virtuosity and ravishing tone. Hailed in the press as “a fully formed artist” (Kalisz-Poland News), “utterly radiant” (Canada’s Arts Forum), and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful” (St. Maarten’s Daily Herald), Sords has received numerous awards and distinctions reflecting his career trajectory, including the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Career Grant, the National Shirley Valentin Award, and the NFMC Young Artist Award. A recent debut with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (Arensky concerto) prompted Opus Colorado to declare: “[Sords’] remarkably flexible bow arm and relaxed left hand created the impression that he was having no difficulty whatsoever”.

Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords began piano lessons at 5, and shortly thereafter asked for a violin. After studying for seven years with Liza Grossman, Sords was a pupil of Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Southern Methodist University. The 2017/18 season features appearances with the Flagstaff Symphony, Pueblo Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Southeastern Ohio Symphony, Des Moines Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony, Durham Chamber Orchestra, Longmont Symphony, and the Guatemala Bravissimo Festival.

Acadia Fanfare was composed in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of Acadia National Park. The work was commissioned by the Pierre Monteux School with additional support from the Maine Arts Commission. The short fanfare is a musical description of the beauty of the park. The work opens with the sound of waves. This is meant to invoke the rocky shoreline of Mount Desert Island, one of the main features of the park. Musically, White invokes Debussy’s La Mer.

Jean Sibelius completed his violin concerto in 1904. It was to be performed by the noted violinist Willy Burmester in Berlin. However, Sibelius needed money and decided to premiere the work in Helsinki instead. Unfortunately Burmester was unable to travel to Helsinki, so a local violin teacher performed the concerto instead. Sibelius had finished the work just before the premiere, leaving very little practice time for the soloist. Combined with the difficulty of the solo part and the lack of preparation, the premiere was a disaster. Sibelius withdrew the work and revised it significantly, removing large sections that had been unsuccessful. The revised work was premiered in 1905 in Berlin with Richard Strauss conducting. Again Burmester was unable to perform the work. He was so offended that he had not been allowed to premiere the work either time that he vowed to never perform the piece.

Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, often called the Rhenish symphony was completed in 1850. It was premiered in Düsseldorf in 1851 with Schumann conducting and received mixed reviews. Schumann began work on the symphony after being inspired by a day trip from Düsseldorf to Cologne to see the cathedral there. The symphony, in five movements, musically portrays the trip, the people of the area, and Schumann’s happy memories of the day.

Schumann & Sibelius is sponsored by long-time supporters Karen Combs & Lynn Wegener.

Tickets for Schumann & Sibelius are $20 – $40 for adults and $5 for students. They can be purchased online at, by calling 243-6787, visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street, or at the Avalon Theatre box office one hour prior to each performance.

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