Nadja Salerno-SonnenbergSan Francisco, CA – January 19, 2016 – New Century Chamber Orchestra announced today that Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will step down from her role as Music Director following the 25th anniversary season in 2016-2017.

Appointed in September 2008, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg led New Century through an exciting period of growth over the course of eight highly successful seasons. Through her leadership, the orchestra founded a Featured Composer program, commissioning a total of eight new works and expanding the string orchestra repertoire; embarked upon three extensive national tours garnering record-breaking audiences and national critical acclaim; recorded three live recordings on Nadja’s own NSS music label; cultivated vibrant partnerships with some of the Bay Area’s most celebrated arts organizations such as the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Chanticleer; and further enhanced the orchestra’s national footprint through a rapidly increased national radio presence.

“It is with a heavy heart that I leave a place so dear to me but I do so knowing New Century will welcome a new leader from a position of strength and acclaim,” said Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. “From the very first moment I interacted with the orchestra, the chemistry was palpable and although there were challenges ahead, we pressed forward and began a growth process that never wavered. Without a single doubt in my mind, I feel assured of a bright future for this orchestra.”

In addition to her appearances with orchestras and recital concerts, Salerno-Sonnenberg will turn her focus to teaching the next generation of musicians following her recent appointment as the leader of the newly formed Resident Artist Program at Loyola University’s School of Music in New Orleans. She will also work with string orchestras at Universities around the country.

Executive Director Philip Wilder and the New Century Board of Directors have initiated a strategic process, creating a search committee dedicated to identifying the next stage of New Century’s artistic leadership. During this extensive process, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg will continue as Music Director through the 25th anniversary season in 2016-2017 with guest concertmasters featuring in subsequent seasons until a successor has been appointed. Consisting of members of the Board, musicians and staff, the newly formed search committee will be led by Founding President Paula Gambs.

“The impact of Nadja’s tenure as Music Director is incalculable and her achievements are many,” said President of the Board of Directors Mark Salkind. “After nearly a decade of extraordinary leadership, New Century has risen to a new height of artistic excellence and acclaim. Thanks to her hard work and dedication, we are confident that our search for a successor will attract an illustrious pool of candidates.”

As one of the leading violinists of her generation, Salerno-Sonnenberg’s career began when she won the 1981 Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition which she followed up two years later with an Avery Fisher Career Grant and later in 1999 the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. A powerful and creative presence on the recording scene, Nadja has released over 20 recordings on EMI and Nonesuch labels as well as working with an extensive roster of musicians on her own NSS label including her most recent New Century release “From A to Z” (May 2014) featuring commissioned works by Clarice Assad, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.