VC recently caught up with American violin virtuoso, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg following her surprise announcement last week that she is set to step down as Music Director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra – after 8 seasons at the helm.
In a VC-exclusive blog, Nadja talks us through what’s next for the 55-year-old wonder-woman:
“They say hindsight has 20/20 vision. When I look back at my career so far, I am slightly amazed at the extraordinary roads it’s taken. The diversity of it all. And it’s not the sort of thing one would even notice while you’re in the midst of it, but rather only when you take a moment… perhaps a long moment, and review.
I started as a soloist and remain so to this day. But for a solid 15 years that’s all I did. A soloist’s life…an incalculable amount of concerts and even more traveling. I could write a book based on that one sentence.
In my mid 30’s I had a strong desire to collaborate…to share whatever the musical experience was with other artists. Within the classical realm and beyond, it was and remains incredibly gratifying. To open yourself and…your musical instincts to someone else’s instincts and knowledge only serves to make you a better musician. The learning curve is steep without you even being aware of it.
In my mid 40’s I made the decision to become a Music Director. An opportunity presented itself…one that I would NEVER have considered before, but the chemistry between myself and the musicians of the New Century Chamber Orchestra was too strong to ignore. And once again, I found myself in completely unchartered ground, but with a curiosity and a passion to learn from this experience and hopefully, to succeed. I could definitely write a book about that!
Everyone knows that all our combined experiences in life lead us to where we are and who we are right now. The process never stops and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
I’m 55 now and once again passion pulls me in another direction. Recently I began doing residencies around the country…working with student string orchestras very much in the same way I have worked with my orchestra for the past 8 years. I have also made a commitment to the Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Fine Arts to do this on a regular basis. There is something very specific about my playing and my ability to communicate and even sometimes…inspire. You may not like my style but it is unarguably…there. It is a calling for a particular way of making music…the urgency and vibrancy and total commitment to playing. I want to share this with the younger generation of musicians.
I will step down as Music Director of New Century at the end of the 2016-17 season. After nine and a half amazing years with this incredible orchestra, I feel I have achieved my goals with them.
I am compelled to begin this next chapter of my life. I have no idea where this will lead …but I have a feeling there might be a book involved.