Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin
Passion, excitement, and innovation are the hallmarks of internationally-acclaimed soloist and chamber musician Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's artistry. Highly regarded for her compelling performances, daring interpretations and dedication to her craft, she is 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. With successful careers in both the solo and chamber music worlds, Nadja continues to enthrall audiences of all ages. Now in her sixth season with New Century, she is credited 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.
Engagements during the 2013 - 2014 season include performances as soloist with the Pacific Symphony, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo (Brazil), and the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, and concerts with New Century Chamber Orchestra of Donizetti's rarely-performed one-act opera Rita, featuring San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellows and a first-time collaboration with the world-renowned all-male chorus Chanticleer. Festival appearances during the summer include Italy's Rome Chamber Music Festival, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival and the California's Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. In May, NSS MUSIC, the record label founded by Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg, releases its eleventh recording, an "From A to Z - 21st Century Concertos", a CD of works by Clarice Assad, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, all commissioned by New Century since Nadja joined the ensemble and featuring Nadja as soloist.
2012-2013 season highlights included a successful third U.S. tour with New Century, as well as the world premiere of composer Lera Auerbach's Sinfonia for Strings (Primera Luz), commissioned by New Century; appearances with the Colorado, Des Moines, and Milwaukee symphony orchestras, recitals on New York City's 92nd St. Y recital series; Baltimore's Shriver Concert Hall Series, Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music Strings Series, and festival appearances at San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Music Northwest and Aspen Music Festival. Other recent appearances include solo performances with the Minnesota, Philadelphia, National, Seattle, Vancouver, Oregon and Baltimore symphony orchestras in North America, with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic in Buenos Aires.
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. In May 2012, in celebration of New Century Chamber Orchestra's 20th anniversary season, NSS Music released the DVD On Our Way: The Journey of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. A revealing account of how one of the classical music world's most electrifying soloists/recording artists came to partner with New Century Chamber Orchestra, the DVD includes live tour concert and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as candid comments from orchestra members. In addition to her over twenty releases on the EMI and Nonesuch labels, Nadja has also made several recordings for NSS MUSIC (www.nssmusic.com), featuring both concerto and chamber pieces.
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, an intensely personal documentary on her life, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released in theaters nationwide, and subsequently premiered on HBO's Signatures channel in 1999. 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' 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' 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, Nadja 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, she 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.