Meet Adrian Rodriguez, Millikin University Concerto/Aria Competition Winner

Feb 27, 2021

Meet Adrian Sanchez Rodriguez, Millikin University student and winner of the Concerto/Aria Competition. Adrian will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A Major with the MDSO on March 6th at MASTERWORKS IV.

Dr. William McClain: That was wonderful, and really a terrific part in a famous opening statement from one of Mozart’s violin concertos. It is with pleasure that I introduce Millikin student, Adrian Sanchez Rodriguez. And welcome.

Adrian Sanchez Rodriguez: Thank you.

WM: We wanted to feature two of our soloists who will be playing. Adrian is one of our soloists coming up for the March 6th MASTERWORKS IV concert.

So Adrian, can you tell us a little bit about your background and a little bit about your musical background.

AR: Yeah, sure. It’s been amazing playing the violin for so many years, I started when I was very young. So my Mom plays the violin and my Dad plays the Double Bass. They actually met in the orchestra. So I started playing the violin when I was very, very, very young in our hometown. I’m from Venezuela, from Merida, Venezuela. So yeah, I really started, I don’t know, maybe 4 or 5 years old. I didn’t really enjoy playing the violin until I was older. It was probably 4 years ago, 3 years ago, I got invited to play with the Symphony Orchestra, ‘cause yeah, I did play the violin, I just didn’t enjoy it really much. But I got the opportunity to play with the Symphony Orchestra from my hometown. Then I realized that I did like it, so I’ve been playing since then actually and liking it more and more.

WM: Yeah, that’s often a common story where students when we’re young, we learn our instrument due to our parents, our family or even our school, sometimes even our school introduces an instrument, then there will be an experience later on that really touches our heart. Same was for me being a viola player in the orchestra was how I kind of really got stuck on music and really started to want to learn and grow.

So tell us, you are a sophomore at Millikin University?

AR: Yeah, that’s right, I’m a Sophomore, instrumental performance, violin. I’m here for that. I’m also trying to get a composition certificate. That’s another area that I like and I’d like to explore, as well as I really want to explore the conducting area.

WM: We are really happy to have this moment to talk with Adrian. He will be presenting Mozart’s Violin concerto in A Major. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about your experience as a student learning this piece and maybe give us a little bit of insight into the work.

AR: Yeah, sure. It’s been definitely my favorite Mozart piece, and of course my favorite Mozart violin concerto. It’s been really fun working for some time with Dr. Jacobs. I’ve had the opportunity to play with the piano accompaniment, but now that I’m going to have the opportunity to play with an orchestra, that’s going to be amazing, yeah, so much fun. I’m excited about that, it’s the first time I’ll be playing with an orchestra, so I’m really excited about it. Also another really fun part is that I’m going to get to play the cadenza that I made. So for this, I composed the cadenza that I will be playing.

WM: I think that will be really interesting for our audience to know. There’s a tradition in classical music where the composer could either write out the cadenza, sometimes the composers would write just a small snippet of music, and would expect the player to improvise, and you have taken it a step further where you have composed your own cadenza to go along with the piece. So I think that’s very unique and I’m really excited about that because each time you play a concerto there’s an opportunity to put your own personal stamp onto it.
One other thing that Adrian mentioned is he is studying with our very own Concertmaster, Aaron Jacobs, so that’s been an interesting collaboration. Is there anything particular that you are looking forward to being able to perform with the orchestra, maybe any differences from playing with just a piano?

AR: Yes, Definitely. As I mentioned, I’ve never played solo with an orchestra before. So I’m really looking forward to playing with MDSO, with my fellow violinists, with my friends, and with all the professionals in here. I think it will be an amazing experience.

WM: Well I think our audience would love to hear a little more music. Would be willing to play the fast part, the Allegro, where the music continues just a little bit for us? If you want to hear more you’ll need to come to our concert on March 6th.

(Adrian performs on violin.)

WM: Wonderful! It’s been a pleasure to speak and to hear Adrian this afternoon. Stay tuned on March 6th, Saturday, at 7:30pm, the MDSO will present MASTERWORKS IV. On that program we’ll be  featuring Schubert’s Symphony No.4 and two of our Concerto/Aria winners including Adrian whom we just met, performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A Major. That will be live streamed to the School of Music Youtube page and we look forward to seeing you there!

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