Guest Artists
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Guest Artists


Andrew Sords, violin

Following a decade in the spotlight, American violinist Andrew Sords has garnered accolades on four 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 five, 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. Early competition successes led to collaborations with nearly 300 orchestras worldwide: of Sords' Australia debut, the Melbourne Age declared, "Sords made a voluble soloist in the A Major Turkish concerto, forging his statements with an admirably firm clarity and bringing out the work's virtuosity as often as possible. His bowing arm showed an attractive suppleness and an attention to variety of phrasing that made even the episodic finale a pleasure."

Andrew Sords has appeared with celebrated conductors and orchestras. The 2017/18 season features appearances with the Flagstaff Symphony, Pueblo Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Southeastern Ohio Symphony, Des Moines Community Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony, Durham Chamber Orchestra, Longmont Symphony, and at Guatemala's "Festival Bravissimo". In recent seasons, concerto collaborations have included the Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Motor City Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic, North State Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Gulf Coast Symphony, Melbourne Chamber Symphony, and the Dvořák concerto at Toronto's famed Glenn Gould Studio. 

Sords made his UK concerto debut in Edinburgh and Scotland (Tchaikovsky) with the Glasgow Philharmonia, and his Guatemala debut with the Bruch concerto. In 2016, Sords returned to his childhood orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, with the Barber Concerto (Liza Grossman). In Madison, Wisconsin, an estimated audience of 30,000 heard a recent outdoor performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto with the WCO. Additionally, Sords has worked with myriad conductors including Robert Franz, Michael Morgan, Sidney Harth, Mario Mateus, Andrew Sewell, Carl Topilow, Scott Seaton, Luis Biava, and Matthew Kraemer.

As a prolific recitalist, Sords has appeared in St. Croix, Washington, D.C., Maui, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and at St. Augustine's (FL) EMMA Series at Flagler College. In Fall 2016, Sords returned to Australia to present the Mendelssohn concerto and Vaughan-Williams "Lark Ascending", and collaborated with cellists John Walz and Joseph Johnson in performances of the Brahms "Double" concerto. A 2015 Canada tour with the Mendelssohn Piano Trios and Violin Sonata will be reprised with Cheryl Duvall and Luke Severn in 2017 with the Brahms Trio Cycle in Ottawa, Montreal, Guelph, and Toronto. First invited by San Miguel de Allende's ProMusica Series in 2011, Sords has returned with six varied recitals, and performed two programs for West Palm Beach's Norton Museum Series. 

As a frequent soloist in the Caribbean, Sords has appeared in Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Grand Cayman, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and "STRINGS MAGAZINE" profiled a series of performances with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic. From a Cleveland recital with Eriko Izumida, the review enthused: "Expertly performed, he brought a full and rich sound and gave a heroic performance of Ravel's 'Tzigane', powerful and in control of the many notes. Sords impressed with his total command of technique, consummate musicianship and bravura as he tossed off scads of notes and sang out like a diva…he and Izumida kept the audience in the palm of their hands all afternoon." (Cleveland Classical)

Sords has appeared on the festival circuit including summer appearances in Fairbanks, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and the Republic of Georgia with Liana Isakadze's World Virtuosi. With Ms. Isakadze's ensemble, Sords appeared in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. In 2018, Sords will collaborate with pianist Elyane Laussade at Australia's Brunswick Beethoven Festival. After a successful debut at the Glenn Gould Theatre in 2015, Sords will return with the Elgar Violin Concerto celebrating 2018's Canada Day. Appearing annually in Canada with Cheryl Duvall, their collaborations next season include a return engagement on the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society.

A man of diverse interests, Sords competed in the charity fundraiser "Pittsburgh's Dancing With The Stars" as the first classical artist to do so. Sords has performed numerous times for LGBT outreach, including both the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven Violin Concerti in repeat collaborations with the Minnesota Philharmonic and Atlanta Philharmonic, and a summer 2017 appearance with Orchestra Amadeus (Tchaikovsky) marks his New York City concerto debut. Featured four times as a guest on Sirius XM's Derek and Romaine Show and profiled by "OUT Magazine", NPR'S Morning Edition, and hundreds of media outlets, Sords also performed the National Anthem for ESPN2's WNBA Pride Game (2014). In 2017, Sords opened a sold-out Cleveland Indians game with the National Anthem at Cleveland's Progressive Field. 

Sords's recent collaboration with Sean Christopher on the New-Age album "Transcendence" has been a commercial and critical success, with reviews stating: "much of this is owed to the gorgeous and precise playing by Andrew Sords, whose violin adds a thrumming undercurrent of pure life throughout the album's stainless steel structure." This album is available on iTunes,, and CDBaby.

Sords is represented by EMC Artists, Ltd., and makes his home in Shaker Heights, Ohio.



David Crabbs, guitar

David Crabbs is an Iowa native and is the classical guitar instructor at Drake University. Mr.Crabbs has performed as an ambassador of music for the state of Iowa for three separate cultural exchanges throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.

In 2004 and 2014 Mr.Crabbs performed Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with the Des Moines Community Orchestra and then with the Drake Symphony Orchestra.

Mr.Crabbs has played for masterclasses for Christopher Parkening, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, and Pepe Romero. In June 2017 Mr.Crabbs was selected to study privately with Pepe Romero at the Celedonio Romero institute in Oklahoma for eight days.

David also teaches guitar at the Ankeny Guitar Studio in Ankeny, IA.