Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg



Competition Winner

Born: January 10, 1961 (Rome, Italy)

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, an acclaimed classical violinist, author, and educator, was born in Italy but is now a citizen of the United States. Salerno-Sonnenberg was the winner of the 1981 Walter W. Naumburg Competition. She studied at Curtis and later with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School. She received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1983, and in 1999, was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize for "outstanding achievement and excellence in music."

Uniquely gifted and creative violin virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg continues to bring joy to audiences whether from the stage, the TV screen, or the internet. Innovative, sharp and witty, she is truly an artist whose impact on the world of classical music is as deep as her love for the art.

She was a guest several times on NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and was featured on 60 Minutes in 1986. In 2001, she appeared as herself on the sitcom Dharma & Greg in the episode "Dream A Little Dream of Her."

In 1989, she wrote Nadja: On My Way, an autobiography written for children. In May 1999, she receive an honorary master of musical arts degee from New Mexico State University, the university's first honorary degree. She is also the subject of Paola di Florio's documentary Speaking in Strings, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

An internationally-acclaimed soloist and chamber musician for more than 25 years, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was named Music Director and Concertmaster of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in January 2008. Nadja’s debut with the orchestra was in September 2007, when energy, excitement, and pure joy filled the air as the musicians excelled in a program of Bach, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Kreisler. The violinist’s natural leadership, together with the ensemble’s artistic excellence made for an evening to remember, thus opening the door for future collaboration. Her first season as Music Director, 2008-2009, was hailed as a tremendous success by audiences and critics alike – “a marriage that works,” in her words.

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 already features several discs by Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg and her collaborators, including pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and multi-talented musician and composer Clarice Assad. In 2009, Originis, recorded by Nadja and the Assad brothers, Sergio and Odair. was released, as well as her first CD with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, featuring Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

In 1994, Salerno-Sonnenberg badly injured her le while chopping onions as she prepared Christmas dinner for friends and family. Her fingertip was surgically reattached and took six months to heal. During that time, she refingered compositions so that she could play using only three fingers and continued to perform.

In 2015, Salerno-Sonnenberg joined Loyola University New Orleans as a Resident Artist.

Salerno-Sonnenberg has continued to perform with the symphonies of Baltimore, Atlanta, and Seattle, as well as at such festivals as Wollf Trap

Salerno-Sonnenberg plays a Pietro Guarneri violin called the "Miss Beatrice Lutyens, ex Cte de Sasserno, Cremona 1721".


1981 Violin Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

1981 Philip Naumburg Solo Recording Prize (Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg)

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