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Andrew Sords—Virtuoso Violinist Returns

By Michael Pearl

Violinist Andrew Sords has been described by critics as “utterly radiant” and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful.” He has appeared as a soloist with over 100 orchestras and performed notable recital series across four continents. On Friday, January 31, and Saturday, February 1, both at 5pm, he returns after an absence of several years to play in the Pro Musica concert series at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6.

Pro Musica Concert Series
Andrew Sords, violin, and Elizabeth DeMio, piano
Fri, Jan 31, 5pm
Sat, Feb 1, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
100/200/300 pesos

Andrew’s collaborative pianist for these concerts will again be the wonderful Elizabeth DeMio, one of the best accompanists I have ever heard. She and Andrew have played together for many years and such is their innate understanding of each other that you will hardly see them look at each other during the performances.

Sords looks forward to introducing audiences to the rarely heard Richard Strauss sonata. Recalling how he first heard it on his car radio, he said to me on the phone the other day, “All I could see was sonata on the display. The screen didn’t finish the title and I ended up being 20 minutes late for lunch because I had to wait until it was over so I could find out what it was.”

Sords is also passionate about the role that art should play in society. “When I see how people of different backgrounds all react positively to the music I play, it reinforces the notion that we need the uniqueness of live performances. It is more important than ever that children have the opportunity to hear an orchestra, hold a violin and have access to music lessons.”

“Recently I played at a children’s hospital where they have a music program for terminally ill kids. It was very humbling, because they didn’t know or even care who I was, but their eyes lit up when they heard the violin. It puts everything into perspective because I’m always thinking about my next recital or a difficult concerto; but when you experience something like that, it makes you realize what is important.”

Pro Musica fully backs those sentiments and makes similar experiences possible to over 750 children in and around San Miguel with our Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program and violin teaching in San Miguel’s orphanages.

Now to the music! Saturday’s concert opens with Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin in D major, dazzling with its complex melodies, embracing a flurry of key and tempo changes. The musical canvas is filled with moods of calmness, resilience, ebullience and bravura. Overall, the work is an uplifting breath of fresh air, masking Beethoven’s personal and financial struggles at the time.

Schubert’s Rondeau Brilliant follows and showcases violin virtuosity as it hurtles forward with stunningly intimate and fiery passages demanding supreme technical mastery. Then Béla Bartók’s Rumanian Dances, six short pieces grounded in folk melodies he recorded in Transylvania in the early 20th century. Collectively they convey a carefree country-folk spirit with robust rhythms and flirty, infectious instrumental interplay.

If Bartók colors the musical palette, Brahms’ Sonata No. 3 in F minor creates a wide plane filled with romantic and majestic moods of complexity and rapture, based on a romantic poem of two lovers embracing as night’s magic mysteries appear. Fortissimos, quiet beauty, seething fury and outbursts of triumphant joy come to life in this monumental and mesmerizing masterpiece that he wrote at the age of 20.

The Sunday program features an equally compelling variety of great works, including Elgar’s Sonata in E minor—full of brashness, tempered by reflective introspection, bordering on grief. We will also hear his Salut d’Amour, with its simple, romantic melody which will totally melt your heart.

Mozart’s Sonata in E minor follows, a piece reflecting the loss he felt at his mother’s death. The work is moving, graceful and, according to Albert Einstein, “one of the miracles among Mozart’s work.”

Jenõ Hubay’s Fantasie Brillante on Bizet’s Carmen is a stellar showcase as the musicians execute Paganini-like technical wizardry. Hungarian-born Hubay was 19 when he wrote this overnight sensation in 1817.

The evening is topped with Richard Strauss’ rarely heard Violin Sonata in E-flat major. Broad sweeping passages achieve a climax of operatic proportion, and rich surging emotional moods fill this work with music reminiscent of Beethoven’s stunning Pathetique sonata.

Tickets for the concerts, at 100/200/300 pesos donation each, are available at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; as well as at La Tienda at La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; La Conexión, Aldama 3; daily until 2pm on Saturday, and at the door half an hour before the concert begins.

The quality of the music and opera Pro Musica brings to San Miguel, our unique Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program, teaching music in underprivileged schools in the campo, and our work in the city’s orphanages, cost increasing amounts of money to provide. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a Patron Member. Patron membership costs as little US$100 per year, is US tax deductible, and includes many benefits, such as complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For information on all of Pro Musica’s concerts for the 2013-2014 season and Patron Membership, please visit our website: or e-mail


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