Pin It

Pain and Passion 

Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg speaks in strings

music & nightlife |

By Gabe Meline

An Italian-born child prodigy who moved to the United States at the age of eight, violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is one of the most fascinating and heartbreaking figures of the classical world. Hers has been a career that many budding young violinists dream of, complete with worldwide performances, award-winning recordings and legendary television appearances. But it was very nearly destroyed when Salerno-Sonnenberg first accidentally cut off the tip of one of her fingers, and later, in a depression, attempted to kill herself with a small-caliber firearm. Fortunately, the gun jammed, Salerno-Sonnenberg lived, and two weeks later she was back onstage at Carnegie Hall pouring out her soul in a trademark enrapturing recital.

This tumultuous period was expertly captured in Paola di Florio's Academy Award-winning documentary Speaking in Strings, a captivating and intimate film unfortunately short on footage from Salerno-Sonnenberg's dynamic and emotional live performance; hence all the more reason to catch this weekend's guest appearance with the Santa Rosa Symphony. Salerno-Sonnenberg's command of the violin is total; the actual sound may emit from the tiny hairs in a bow, but, undeniably, she plays the violin with every cell in her body. The last time she appeared with the Santa Rosa Symphony--in 1983, at the young age of 22--she relaxed between rehearsals by riding her bike around the parking lot, a baseball cap on her carefree head. The stress of fulfilling a demanding schedule was years away. Now in her 40s, she returns with a new lease on life, and most importantly, she can still play the living daylights out of the violin.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg performs Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony in a program conducted by Bruno Ferrandis that includes Vasks' Sala and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances. Saturday-Monday, May 12-14. Saturday and Monday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $27-$50. 707.546.8742.


Tags: ,

  • Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg speaks in strings


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Music

  • Into the Fold

    Rags move North Bay DIY scene forward
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Revival Jazz

    Roberta Donnay parties like it's 1925
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Soul Man

    Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner looks back, thinks forward
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • More »

More by Gabe Meline

Find It

Submit an event

Boho Beat

Jul. 24-25: Big Screen Cuba in Sebastopol

Jul. 24: Mister Moonlight Returns in Petaluma

Jul. 25: Far Out Fun in Point Reyes Station

More »

Facebook Activity

Most Commented

  • Fat Tire Temple

    Curating mountain biking's roots in the place where it all began
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • Return to Form

    North Bay pianist Beau D draws inspiration from injury
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • More »


Read more @nbaybohemian

Copyright © 2015 Metro Newspapers. All rights reserved.

Website powered by Foundation