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Music Director

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

MusicDirectorOne of the leading violinists of our time, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is best known for her exhilarating performances, passionate interpretations, musical depth and unique charisma. A highly acclaimed soloist and recording artist, Nadja has also gained recognition in the orchestral arena. In 2013-2014, Nadja celebrates her sixth season as Music Director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra.

Nadja led the 19-member string orchestra on their largest national tour to date in January and February 2013, with debut performances in Danville, KY; Sewanee, TN; Greenville, SC; Greenville, NC; Winchester, VA; Bethesda, MD; and return performances in Evanston, IL and Ann Arbor, MI. The 2013 National Tour was Nadja’s third tour with New Century, following the resounding success of two 2011 tours, which took the orchestra to the East Coast, Midwest, and Southern California

On May 8, 2012, Nadja and New Century released the Orchestra’s first DVD, On Our Way: The Journey of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Directed by Paola di Florio, who also directed the 1999 Academy Award-nominated film Speaking in Strings about Nadja, the DVD weaves a live tour concert from the Eli and Edyth Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California, with rehearsals, on-camera anecdotes, and behind-the-scenes footage to reveal the makings of a legendary partnership.

A powerful and innovative 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 2009, NSS Music released “Together,” Nadja’s first recording collaboration with New Century. “Together” includes Impressions by Clarice Assad, which was given its world premiere by New Century in 2008; 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; and Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances arranged for string orchestra. In November 2010, NSS Music, released the highly anticipated second recording by Nadja and New Century, LIVE: Barber, Strauss, Mahler.  Featuring Strauss’s Metamorphosen, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, the CD has been praised as “brilliant” (Oregon Music News), and allmusic.com  advised, “For those who like orchestral music for strings that takes nothing less than revelation as its goal, this is a must-have.”

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’ 60  Minutes, 60 Minutes II,  and Sunday  Morning; CNN’s  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.

After studying with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School, 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.

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