Gay violin soloist to perform Pride concert with Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra

Andrew Sords is on vacation somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin, admiring four-wheeled beauties at a car show. Yes, the classical violinist loves cars.

“I like to look at cars, old American cars. I love the Corvette,” he says.

“I like all beautiful things. I’m a glutton for anything beautiful,” he adds with a laugh.

And it seems as though fans appreciate his beauty and mastery of the violin. Hailed as “utterly radiant” by Canada’s Arts Forum and “exceptionally heartfelt and soulful” by the St. Maarten’s Daily Herald, Sords has appeared as a soloist with more than 150 orchestras across four continents. His upcoming solo appearance with the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra for the “Tchaikovsky Pride” concert on June 28 is a return back to the city after three years and to an orchestra he admires.

Sords began piano lessons when he was five (he was born in the “mid-80s”) and then followed up with violin studies. It was the violin that spoke to him like no other instrument and he studied it closely.

“It is so close to the human voice,” he says. “I can’t sing very well, so with the violin I feel like I am singing. The violin feels like a third arm.”

“It’s the sound,” he adds. “When it has that rich sound, it resonates with you. That struck me; it was a primal reaction to a good sound.”

Born in Delaware and now living in Ohio, Sords says he came out to his friends while at music camp in high school. He told his family later, when he was 18 or 19, and is currently dating someone. But he declined to share anything else about his special someone.

His love for music moves beyond classical artists.

“If you look at my iPod I have everything from Beyoncé to Broadway to Beethoven,” he says.

But he only plays classical music and has a special affinity for the Tchaikovsky piece, the Violin Concerto in D Major, he will be performing in Atlanta.

“It’s great. It’s got everything. Fast passes, sexy romantic melodies. People love it,” he says. For those who may not believe classical music can be sexy or fun or, well, good, Sords says they just haven’t heard any good
classical music yet.

“I automatically assume they weren’t exposed to it all that often,” he says.
“I find that people who may not listen to it in the car but then go to a concert will become riveted by the music. It resonates,” Sords says. “So what I will do is drag them to a concert or pick up the violin and play for them.”

About the APO
• Founded in December 2004 to be an LGBT inclusive orchestra, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra is inspired by a similar ensemble in Minneapolis

• The inaugural concert was conducted in November 2005 at Saint Mark United Methodist Church

• The music director is Mirna Ogrizovic. She was born in Croatia, grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, where she received her violin performance degree from the School of Music, Belgrade University of Arts. She received her Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Georgia State University.

• Amy Wilson is the associate conductor and has conducted concerts through the U.S., Mexico and Europe. She is the conductor of the Mercer/Macon Symphony Youth Orchestra in addition to her APO duties.

• Concertmaster Betül is a native of Turkey and renowned violinist who has performed with world-famous musicians including Vladimir Spivakov, Igor Ozim, Trio de Trieste, Stanislav Apolin and Rudolf Baumgartner.

About Andrew Sords

• Theviolin he plays: 96-year-oldBelgianviolin by Augustine Talisse
• Favorite concerti to perform: Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart
• How much does he practice a day? Depends. An average day is two hours, sometimes up to five or six hours if relearning a concerto to perform in just a few days. And during vacation? Zero hours.
• Personal vices/guilty pleasures: Sushi, dance clubs, E! Hollywood Biographies

Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra with soloist Andrew Sords
Saturday, June 28
7:30 p.m.
Reception to follow
North Decatur Presbyterian Church
611 Medlock Road, Decatur, GA 30033 Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors and students