Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg


Internationally acclaimed soloist and chamber musician Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is best known for her exciting performances, passionate interpretations and charismatic personality. An innovative artist, her daring, dedication and enthusiasm for all facets of her career have resulted in her becoming one of today's leading violinists, renowned for her work on the concert stage, in the recording studio and in her role as music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, which she joined in January 2008. Her first three seasons have been hailed as a tremendous success by audiences and critics alike-"a marriage that works," in her words, and for renewing enthusiasm for "one of the most burnished and exciting ensembles in the Bay Area," according to Rich Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News.

Nadja continues to divide her time between solo and chamber performances. This 2011-12 season, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg appears as soloist with the Minnesota, Philadelphia, National, Seattle, Vancouver, Oregon and Baltimore symphony orchestras in North America, and with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan. Duo recitals with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott include performances in Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, and California. Following the success of their first US tour together last season, Nadja led the New Century Chamber Orchestra on an acclaimed East Coast Tour this fall as part of the 19-member string orchestra's 20th Anniversary season, which also includes the world premiere of Featured Composer, Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's violin concerto in May 2012, written specifically with Nadja's distinctive artistry in mind. This is Nadja's fourth season at the helm of the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

A powerful and creative presence on the recording scene, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg continues to enrich the collection of her record label, NSS Music, which she started in 2005. The label's roster of artists includes Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, horn player John Cerminaro, pianist/composer Clarice Assad, conductor Marin Alsop, the American String Quartet, the Colorado Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. With New Century, Nadja has released two records for NSS MUSIC. The second, a 2010 live recording featuring Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen, Barber's Adagio for Strings, and Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, has been praised as "brilliant" by Oregon Music News, and "For those who like orchestral music for strings that takes nothing less than revelation as its goal, this is a must-have." by Together, the first CD recorded by Nadja and New Century, features Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, Gershwin's "Bess You is My Woman Now" from Porgy and Bess, arranged for string orchestra, both with Nadja as soloist; Impressions by Clarice Assad (which was given its world premiere by New Century in 2008) and Bartók's Romanian Folk Dances arranged for string orchestra. In addition to her more than 20 releases on the EMI and Nonesuch labels, Nadja has also recorded for NSS Music Originis, Live from Brazil, a recording which honors the Italian heritage of Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg and the Brazilian heritage of her collaborators, guitarists Sérgio and Odair Assad, Merry (a compilation of Christmas favorites), Nadja (Tchaikovsky and Assad violin concertos), and Live with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Also on Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg's label are The American String Quartet's Schubert's Echo (August 2010), Love, All That It Is, NSS Music's first jazz album featuring The Clarice Assad Trio), Anne-Marie McDermott's Bach, and John Cerminaro's John Cerminaro, A Life of Music.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's exceptional artistry is paired with great musical intelligence which, along with her unique personality, have served her well in numerous environments-on camera, in a commercial for Signet Bank, hosting a Backstage/Live from Lincoln Center program for PBS, appearing in the PBS/BBC series The Mind, even talking to Big Bird on Sesame Street. She was the subject of the 2000 Academy Award-nominated film, Speaking in Strings, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Released in theaters nationwide and subsequently premiered on HBO's Signatures channel in 1999, this intensely personal documentary on her life is available on VHS and DVD through New Video. The CD of music from the film was released in 1999 by Angel/EMI. Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg appeared on ABC's primetime comedy Dharma & Greg in 2001, and she has also been interviewed and profiled on CBS's 60 Minutes, 60 Minutes II, and Sunday Morning; CNN's Newsstand; NBC's National News and Newsstand; NBC's National News and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; A&E's Artist of the Week with Elliot Forrest; Bravo's Arts & Minds and The Art of Influence; PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, The Charlie Rose Show, and City Arts. On the publishing front, Nadja: On My Way, her autobiography written for children discussing her experiences as a young musician building a career, was published by Crown Books in 1989.

Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg's professional career began in 1981 when she won the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition. In 1983, she was recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1988 was Ovations Debut Recording Artist of the Year. In 1999, she was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated "outstanding achievement and excellence in music." In May of that same year, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was awarded an honorary Master of Musical Arts from the New Mexico State University, the first honorary degree the University has ever awarded. An American citizen, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was born in Rome and emigrated to the United States at the age of eight to study at The Curtis Institute of Music. She later studied with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School.

Current as of January 2012
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg