Twenty-five year old Cleveland violinist Andrew Sords has already appeared as a soloist with over 60 orchestras across the country and internationally. During the current season will perform the concertos of Dvorak, Bruch, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky. He’s also made the rounds with some of gltb orchestras and this summer will be on the faculty of Cleveland Institute’s chamber music festival.
What’s a typical workday for you?
Work for me consists of practice, emails, discussing career plans and engagements with my manager, cleaning the apartment, making sure the laundry and vacuuming are done (an OCD behavior of mine), and any interviews/press.
Do you have a workspace in your home or do you need to leave the house?
One of the bedrooms serves as a practice area, and I keep my sheet music and violin in there. However, the stage is my true work space, and that requires travel!
How much do you travel for your work? Do you find it stimulating or a hassle?
I travel about 25 weeks per year, and have experienced enough airplane delays/cancellations for a lifetime.
Do you keep up with technology? What tools work for you and which ones have you found to be overrated?
My Blackberry is always with me, and I am in love with my MacBook. However, the time apart from both on planes and on vacation cannot be valued enough!
Have you ever experienced discrimination in the music business because of your sexuality?
Everyone in the music and theatre business is gay or bi-curious.
Ever gotten any advantages because of your sexuality? How about being invited onto “the casting couch”?
I have many gay friends in the industry, including conductors. I like to think that my talent and hard work lead to more opportunities, but if someone likes how I look, that’s okay, too!
Do you give PDAs? (public displays of affection)
Depends on how much wine I have had, but I am not to hide how I feel. I’m a big hugger.
What’s on your bed table?
A Leonard Bernstein biography, a couple of CD’s, and a few more intimate things.
What TV shows do you watch?
HGTV ‘Househunters’, Desperate Housewives, The View, Oprah, and yes, Keeping Up with those pesky Kardashians. I especially love The View and Barbara Walters…I wish I could perform on their show.
Is there a relationship between your sexuality and your creativity?
My inspiration and musical ideas come from my life experiences, education, and interactions – everything is interconnected. My emotions and visceral reactions tied to music aren’t dissimilar to the feelings from my sexuality.
What’s the gayest musical thing you’ve ever done?
Performing in the pit band for a local production of Seussical the Musical.
Where did you grow up and has that affected your sensibilities as a musician?
Cleveland, Ohio. Hearing the world-reknowned Cleveland Orchestra and having the Cleveland Institute of Music down the road were two luxuries I am thankful for! I like to think I have a big city mentality with Midwestern sensibility.
What’s the best arts/entertainment experience you’ve had in the past year (as an audience member)?
Seeing Itzhak Perlman rehearse with the New York Philharmonic, and being moved to tears by his honest playing, presence, and sheer connection with the music. It was a spiritual experience.
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
That is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Liza Grossman started me on the violin and gave me the inspiration and deep sound in my ear. David Russell instilled a sense of polish and practice standard. Linda Cerone took me through the repertoire and changed my playing level 180 degrees. And Chee-Yun focused on commitment, reaching the core of the music, and delivering every night on tour.
Do you like to collaborate or be the boss?
I’ve always said I’m versatile.