Music Inside Out: Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

May 23, 2019

For over 35 years Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg has celebrated a “blue chip career” as a classical violinist. In 1981, at just 20 years old, she was the youngest-ever recipient of the Walter W. Naumburg prize for violinists. Her emotional approach to the instrument has both shocked critics and earned her the adoration of fans in every corner of the globe. She has played with some of the world’s most renowned orchestras, and she was the music director of the New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Fransisco for nine seasons.

At Juilliard, she shared a piano class with Wynton Marsalis, and she now finds herself in his hometown, as full-time faculty at Loyola Universty’s School of Music in New Orleans. At Loyola and in San Francisco, Salerno-Sonnenberg has been a proponent of the conductor-less orchestra — which forces musicians to listen to one another, keep their own time and find their own way to achieving the spirit of the compositions they play. “I think its the highest form of music,” Salerno-Sonnenberg says.

Here in New Orleans, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg has also continued to educate the next generation of musicians through her work with Artist Corps New Orleans, a non-profit dedicated to connecting artist with students in local schools.