Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

q and a

    Many, many years ago, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was on the Tonight Show, and played a beautiful piece of music that enthralled me. I knew nothing about classical music and still don't. But I can remember how much that music affected me. I thought it was called Butterfly, but apparently that isn't correct because I can't find any mention of such a song. I have no idea what year it was, and I realize this doesn't give you much information to go on. But if someone knows what I'm talking about, please let me know the title and the name of the album it was on, if any.

    Hi Susie
    I think the piece you may be talking about is called The Swan. By Camille Saint-Saens. It's on my encore album called It Ain't Necessarily So. I hope that's the one. Thanks for writing in,

    Dear Ms. Salerno- Sonnenberg,
    My name is Rebecca and I'm 12. You played the Menedssohn Violin Concerto with our youth orchestra( Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra) in October. I wanted to say thank you so much!!! You were an inspiration to all of us! It was an amazing experience. My friends and I couldn't stop talking about it for weeks afterward. When did you learn the Mendelssohn? Will you be in Orlando anytime soon? Thank you so much for playing with us!
    Rebecca, Orlando, FL

    Hi Rebecca
    I absolutely remember playing with you guys in October!!! It was a lot of fun. I totally enjoyed myself and am happy to hear you did too. Making music, sometimes....can be an awful lot of fun, don't you think? I learned the 3rd movement of the Mendelssohn when I was 12 years old...and then the next year I learned the rest of the piece...and have been playing it ever since. Good luck to you and thanks for writing in!!

    Hello Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg!
    I am anHUGE fan of you! I have all your CD, and I went to listen you every time that you played in Philadelphia and New York! I am a violinist tooand every time that I listen you to play, is a great lesson for me. Idream to have the opportunity to meet you and play for you one day,would be a big honor for me!!!! I have a question: in"Speaking in string" youplay a piece that I love, but I don't know the title and the author... isduring a recital with piano and you say at the audience that they will recognise the piece, becausethe music is similar at something in aTV show... or something like that can you tell me what is it? Thank you so much! and sorry for my English!!!! Ti auguro ancora tanti bei successi, per la tua incredibile carriera! Con stima,

    Ciao Vittoria
    Thank you for your letter and your kind words. The piece you are referring to is the "March" from the opera "Love for Three Oranges" by Prokofieff. The arrangement is by Heifetz. It's a wonderful piece...I hope you get to play it as well. Mille grazie,

    Hi Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg!
    You visited my school, Susquehanna University, exactly a week ago. I'm still reeling! Anne-Marie McDermott's and your performances touched me on so many levels: I've simply never experienced anything like your music-making before. I feel like I now know the true range of the violin, and in my practicing since, I've been experimenting with my playing; trying new things, really exploring extremes, being more patient in my practice habits...You and your masterclass/performance have really impacted me for good, I think! I'm working on expanding my dynamic range almost as we speak! It also is so great that you came to little old Selinsgrove, PA...we feel SO lucky to be able to have experienced you and Ms. McDermott's performance and wisdom. I have countless questions I'd love to ask you, but most urgent: could you explain your use of the steel wool on your fingerboard/strings? I'd love to know what you use it for, what it does for your instrument and playing. It surprised me so much! Thanks again for coming, I'll never forget your performance!
    Christa Conway

    Hi Christa
    Well thank you for all your lovely compliments. Anne-Marie and I were both very happy to be there not only to play but to teach as well. And I am very glad you find yourself experimenting with this amazing instrument. Most people think of the violin as an instrument of is that for sure....but the range of what a violin is capable of is vast, and like I said, am glad you are discovering that. The steel wool?? Well, first let me say that I buy the finest, thinnest most delicate steel wool. And basically I use it the same way anyone would use steel wool. To remove dirt and grime and pretty much anything that's stuck. For that recital, since it was extraordinarily humid on stage....the fingers sweat, and that sweat adheres to the fingerboard, making it virtually impossible to get around. Slides were out of the question...I was jumping everywhere I needed to be. But when there is an opportunity, the steel wool "clears" the fingerboard of that least for a minute or two. That's why I was using it so much. Hope this answers your question. Thank you again for attending and enjoying the day. And thanks for writing in,

    Hello Ms.Sonnenberg,
    My name is Emanuel Howard, I am a violinist/violist and I live in New York City. I am currently a senior at the Celia Cruz Bronx High School Of Music, and currently attend Bloomingdale School Of Music and the Harlem School Of The Arts. I am a huge fan of your work, my favorite being your recording of the Hollywood movieHumoresque. Which leads me to my question, I have been trying to find the violin arrangement with voice and piano of "You Do Something to Me" and "Embraceable You" (the two pieces that you have recorded on this album), unfortunately I have not been able to locate the pieces nor do I havethefinancial funds after paying over 1,000 dollars in collegeapplication/transportation. Ithoughtthat you would be the best person to ask for this since you are mostly likely to have the music being that you recorded it. I was also wondering if we could work out some financial plan of paying you if you were able to provide me with the pieces.I do understand that you would have to go out of your way to do this, and I am very grateful for your time even if you will not be able to help me. Eagerly awaiting yourresponse

    Hi Emanuel
    Thank you for your sweet letter. I'm glad you enjoyed Humoresque. It's one of my top 3 favorite albums, and was an extraordinary experience making it. Unfortunately, the two songs you are interested in are not available for purchase. They were commissioned arrangements specifically for this album. And even though I have played them in concert, it was only for promoting the album. It's about who owns the music and copyright laws. I am truly sorry about this.....they are so wonderful I agree. But if you enjoy those arrangements, perhaps you would consider the Heifetz arrangements of Gershwin songs. They are incredible.....challenging...and I believe...available. Wishing you luck and best wishes. Thanks for writing in,

    Hi Nadja,
    My name is Kara and I am a clarinetist and civil engineering grad student. You performed the Four Seasons of Buenas Aires at my alma mater, Swarthmore College, in the spring of 2009. Tickets to this concert were free and you performed (with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) for a small audience of less than 100 people in a concert hall overlooking the Crum Woods. While concerts of yours have sold out in much more grandiose halls, you performed for us anyway. There could not have been a more appreciative audience. For weeks, we danced through the halls singing Piazzolla, re-experiencing all of the joy and life you put into your performance. Thank you for your artistry. Sincerely,
    Kara Peterman

    Dear Kara
    What a genuinely great letter to receive. You made my day...especially so because I have to walk on stage and play the Piazzolla tonight. And I have to say, coming from a clarinetist made it even more special. Thanks so much for this...and for writing in,

    Dear Nadja,
    I heard a performance of yours on NPR back in February. The performance was:

    Astor Piazzolla
    "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires"
    Violinist and music director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg with the New Century Chamber Orchestra
    First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, California

    When it came on I was on my way to class but instead i sat in my car mesmerized by your playing. I have never heard such wild and beautiful music in my life. I have other performances of the four seaons of Buenos Aires but none come close to your version. Is there anyway I could by the performance I heard on NPR. I will be seeing you play in Tennesee in March and I am looking forward to it. Thank you for your time.

    Hello Tyler
    So glad you liked the performance with my orchestra. We fact, recorded this fantastic piece and it is available at my label site. The site also has lots of information about this album, including a making of video, so check it out if you have a second. Sorry you missed class!! Thanks for writing in,

    I was just listening to internet radio (via Texas KUHF and I am in lower Manhattan!) of Nadja playing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall... some of my favorite music like I've never heard it played before. Piazzolla's Four Seasons.

    I just want to say I was knocked out by the passion and fury of the playing and I want I CRAVE an encore of that performance!! Has it been recorded?? Can I get my hands on a CD, mp3, ANYTHING? I want to listen to it again and again.

    Thank you so much for that performance. You lit up my night. Always a pleasure to hear you play,
    Kate Taverna

    Dear Kate
    Sounds like you had the same reaction I had when I first heard Piazzolla's "The Four Seasons". If you'd like to hear it're in luck. I have just released an album of this piece and more on my label with my band, the New Century Chamber Orchestra. It's available in stores or you can just go to my label site, www.nssmusic.comwhere there is a"making of" videoand lots of other goodies. I am so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for writing in,

    ravinia. amazing concert. i have never seen or heard anything like it -- the conductor gives you a kiss no less. i wish that they had taped the performance so you could see it. many in the orchestrawere as entralledas those of us in the audience. i have never seen so many players watching the soloist. during thepassacaglia, i closed my eyes andlistened to the powerful, painful, lingering, at times very sweetand then strident sounds ofthe violin -i was just sitting there with tears running down my cheeks - what an experience, thank you.

    lastly, i keep an eye on your webpage hoping that you will play the beethoven concerto somewhere -- anywhere. do you see it in your near future? how about a recording?

    Dear Jan
    Thank you most kindly for your letter. It's wonderful to hear from the audience and learn how they felt about a concert. This one was special....they almost always are with Chicago Symphony....and with Christoph Eschenbach no less. As a soloist, this partnership is the stuff of dreams. Even through the humidity, bugs, and trains....there simply isn't anything like playing with Chicago. I am so glad you enjoyed it. A recording of the Beethoven in the future?? Why not. That's the wonderful thing about the future. Anything is possible. You may however want to check out the latest release from . It's called "Together" and it's with my new orchestra, the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Wonderful album...maybe you'd like it. Thanks for writing in,

    Dear Mrs.Nadja
    I'm violinist. My teacher has been Aldo Ferraresi, a pupil of Ysaye. I work at Cimarosa Conservatory in Avellino, near Naples, I Want express my admiration for you. Hoping for an reply. Best wishes
    Nicola Manzo

    Ciao Nicola
    E molto bello di lei per scrivere a me. Seppe che io sono italiano? Io nacqui a Roma e ho molte ricordi meravigliose. Napoli?? La migliore mozzarella nel mondo!!! Grazie per I suoi buoni auguri e la buon fortuna a lei.

    Dear Nadja,
    Will you have more upcoming shows in the US with the Assad Brothers? The recording on the nonesuch label that you made together of folk songs has a very special place in my heart, and moves me to tears every time I listen.

    Also, I'd like to say that I first saw you play in Nashville, TN with Mark O' Connor back in 1999(?) and was blown away!

    Thank you for the beauty you bring to the world.
    Laura Athens, OH

    Dear Laura
    Well, yes of course I will continue to tour with the Assads, just check my website for tour dates. And thank you for your kind words about our first album together. We have a new one now. It's on my label and I am very proud of it. It's called "Originis: Live from Brazil, Nadja and the Assads". It's really wonderful as it includes Sergio's fantastic Concerto Originis. Check it out at the website if you'd like. Thanks for writing in,

    I saw you perform at the Majestic theater in San Antonio last year! From one violininst to another...I am attracted to the strengths and love of playing conveyed in your performance. I've been an admirer of yours from the first performance you gave which I think was in NY?? I'm a NY'er too and being the same age as you, it was great to have a role model get out on that stage and show them how music is supposed to be performed. With strength, joy and honest feeling! I have your biography video. I totally comprehend and empathize what you were going through at that time as I shared much of the same feelings! Thanks for sharing!

    Do you have plans to come back to San Antonio?

    Be safe throughout your tours and thanks for creating beautiful charismatic music!
    Holly Mydland (Music teacher at Bandera ISD)

    Hi Holly
    Thank you so much for your great letter. Means so much to me.....and it's always wonderful to hear positive things from fans and music lovers. I have San Antonio on my schedule. Looks like early June of 2010. Please check my website on the concerts page to get the details. Hope to see you there and thanks for writing in,

    Hi Nadja
    I saw you live in concert in 1988 in Portland at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. You played Tchicovsky's Violin Concerto. Do you have this recording on CD for sale?
    Regards Bill Montgomery

    Hi Bill
    As a matter of fact I do. Just go to and purchase away!!!! By the way, I remember that concert well. Thanks for writing in,

    Ever since I bought your recording of the Brahms and Bruch concerti, I have been hooked on you and love your work. I can honestly say that you are my favorite violinist. I would dearly love to hear a performance of the Beethoven Concerto. Is there plans to record the Beethoven and perhaps the Tschaikowski in the future?
    Thank You! Jim

    Hello Jim
    Thank youfor your kind letter....very appreciated. While I do not have plans at the moment to record the Beethoven Violin Concerto, I am happy to say the Tchaikovsky is in the to speak. It was recorded live with Marin Alsop conducting the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and is available on my label, NSS Music. Just go to the website to learn more about that recording and others as well. Thanks for your support and for writing in,

    I noticed that you are going to come to our little part of the world - Tucson on January 29th. I couldn't be happier since I love your playing. I have asked some folks if they want to come along with me and everyone of them asked what is Nadja playing? Solo, Chamber, the full do? It does not matter to me what you play, I love it all. BUT the tickets go on sale next Monday -- April 21st. So I would love to be the first person in line and be able to purchase tickets for all my friends. Thanks Kevin

    Hi Kevin
    Thanks for your inquiry about the Tucson concert. I will be on a recital tour then....with my pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. I am not sure yet what repertoire we'll be playing, but to answer your question, it will be a solo violin/piano recital. See you then I hope....and thanks for writing in.

    Dear Nadja,
    Thank you for a stellar performance tonight of the Bruch Violin Concerto!! My friend asked me why the soloist always plays first and I really did not have an answer for him except that it has always been so as long as I can remember. He said it probably had something to do with being in the Union, but I did not think you would even be a member of one. So I have two questions: Are you in a Union and why does the soloist always play before intermission?
    P.S. Thank you for autographing my program!

    Dear Angela
    Thank you so much for coming to the performance and I am so glad you enjoyed it. I did too....always do when I play in Seattle. Absolutely love Seattle. Well, I had a little chuckle reading your letter....the union stuff. I am a member of AFTRA....which is a very different union than the union the orchestra members belong to. The soloist usually plays on the first half because of tradition and programming. The second half has traditionally belonged to the symphony, which is always longer than the concerto. And since the word overture means to start something then it seems appropriate that the overture begin the performance. That leaves a gap between overture and symphony...ergo, the concerto. Having said that, I'll tell you that l play on the second half of the concerts in at least half of my performances. Sometimes the soloist will play a longer concerto and that helps...and sometimes the programmers want to save the soloist for last. It all depends. But it's a good question and I thank you for writing in.

    Any chance that you'll be soloing at this years Aspen Music Festival? Hope all is going well. Peace & Love,
    Scott in Aspen

    Hi Scott
    Yes I will be at the Aspen Music Festival this summer. In July.....check their schedule for details. See you there!! Thanks for writing in.

    Hello Nadja,
    I am very excited to see you perform in Seattle this April and have had the honor of seeing you in every major city I have lived in for the last decade. >From the Athens University in Georgia to Ravina in Chicago and now here in Seattle! What a pure joy! But my question is: will you ever perfom in Tucson, AZ? I will be moving there this summer and the thought of not being able to see future concerts saddens me. Please come play in the southwest if you tour schedule will ever allow it! Take care and I look very forward to seeing an amazing concert!
    Sara in Seattle

    Dear Sara
    Well thank you for attending my concerts wherever you are and I hope you enjoy the Seattle concert as well. To answer your question, yes I play in Tucson and have for many years. I believe I will be there once again next season. A recital in January of 09. My new season will be posted later this year. Hope you'll be there and thanks for writing in.

    Hello Nadja:
    I'm a violinist in Santa Rosa, Calif. You performed Tchaikovsky with us last May and with a cold, too! Anyway, I feel comfortable in asking you this as it seems to have come on for no apparent reason. Can you suggest something to fix it? When I draw a down bow; slow or medium to medium-fast speeds, my bow sort of involuntarily bounces, shakes, shimmies, whatever you wish to call it at the MIDDLE ONLY. Then as I come to the upper half, it is smooth again. The up bows, no problem. I'm trying to figure this out and practising over and over. It is subtle at times, but still there. I'm just wondering if you have any ideas. Much appreciation,
    Congrats on New Century! :)

    Dear Joanne
    Well what you are describing is extremely common amongs violinists. Wish I could say you're special but....I sometimes still have to deal with this problem myself. It could be caused by a few things and naturally there are a few things you can do about it. One is to drop your right shoulder as much as you can when you approach that danger area in the down bow stroke. Sometimes our shoulders cause more problems than we are aware of. Another is to turn your right hand way over to the if you are point it toward the floor when you get to that spot. Basically you're turning the hairs over so that you are only playing with the outside hairs....this could help. One other thing to do is to increase bow speed as you draw your bow through that spot. Loosen the pressure and increase the speed. It shouldn't cause too much of a sound change. Or....just play loud all the time!!!!! Hope this helps a little...thanks for writing in,

    Dear Nadja,
    I want to commend you for the quality of your forums during your residency here in Louisiana. I've been to two in Lafayette, one for orchestral students and one for seniors, and came away mightily impressed. As a professional Cajun fiddler, I go to classical violin for inspiration, especially regarding the hard work it takes to achieve the levels of skill required to play that music. I can't attend your concert because I have to play that night, so I had to settle for the forums. Let me assure you that you were well-spoken and interesting, and I enjoyed them almost as much as if you had played for the whole session. I appreciate your generosity and motivation. Please come back and visit us again. Sincerely,
    David Greely

    Dear David
    Thank you so much for your kind words. It is my first residency and I have to say, it is extremely gratifying for me. Not only that I am playing both concertos with orchestras and recitals, but speaking throughout the southern Louisiana area to students of all types as well as teaching has left quite an imprint on me. I hope to be able to do this again sometime. I feel so much credit should go to Jackie Lyle of PASA for organizing this entire endeavor and to all the companies and associations that helped make it a reality financially....and most of all to the community for being open to it and welcoming me. Thank you again for attending and for writing in.

    Dear Ms. Sonnenberg,
    Firstly, I love the way you create an open forum for young students like myself to ask very honest questions or offer very honest opinions. Thank you very much for that! Secondly, I have a question for you: Do you believe that a lot of new up-and-coming classical musicians are all starting to sound the same, without any kind of personality? As a flutist, I am almost forced by my teachers into an orchestral track, and while I'm absolutely IN LOVE with symphonic works, I feel that a lot of "good" flutists out there just overly plan everything, and as a result their music sounds full of bravura yet with very little expression; and they all sound exactly alike. Ironically, they are the ones who win the gigs. Also if I am to take a masterclass from a strictly orchestral player, they make me play in a very stifled kind of way that i do not like. How can one express oneself in an orchestra without seeming stifled? Or is that even possible?
    P.S. As you can tell by my e-mail address, I am a Northwestern U. student. Northwestern is a very orchestra-intensive school.

    Dear Anita
    Well first off, let me say that you are the first flutist to write to my page. So thank you for that. While I can't tell you much about playing your instrument...obviously...I can however tell you a little about my experience....which wasn't that different than yours actually. There are things that you learn in school which are invaluable, and they have absolutely nothing to do with your musical instincts. But these things you are learning now will lead you into a life of music if you absorb the right information. While you are in a scholastic way, keep your eyes open while you learn "the business" of music. This is what I mean by invaluable. Of course everything you have written is possible and I could write a very long letter indeed telling you how.....or I could just say this: do what you have to do to get the job, do what you have to do to get the position....and then you can go about making a difference and putting your stamp on things. Trust me, it's good advice. Good luck to you Anita and thanks for writing in.

    Ms. Sonnenberg,
    I am a violinist, music major in Texas. You have been my biggest inspiration within the classical music field. You are so brilliant!!! I can't say that enough! I have never gotten to see you live, but I hope to soon. I'm also a fiddler and Eileen Ivers is my biggest influence there! My junior recital is this semester, I am so Excited!!! Thank you for being so amazing and being the biggest influence in my life! Maybe someday I'll get to meet you! You play with such fire, passion, and emotion. When I try to play like that, my teacher seems to think I'm going overboard. How can I play how I feel, and expressively so that my teacher won't feel like that? Thank you!!

    Hi Lacie
    Well, thanks for all your nice compliments...very appreciated. Yes, Eileen is terrific. I have worked with her. If you are a fiddler, you may also really enjoy pretty much everything Mark O'Conner does as well. As far as your playing with emotion and your teacher are concerned, I would guess that it's probably a give and take situation. In order for anyone to be convinced without question of your interpretation, you the player must take responsibility in conveying that. What does that mean? It means you have to be extraordinarily prepared in every way. Emotional playing without meaning is pointless....and maybe that's what your teacher is objecting too. On the other hand, maybe your teacher could lighten up just a little as an experiment and give you more freedom to express yourself. But always remember Lacie, the notes have to be there....and then your decision about what you want to do musically has to be convincing. It's all in the preparation. There is no freedom of expression without a solid foundation. There, now I sounded like I'm very old indeed. Good luck and thanks for writing in,

    Dear Nadja,
    My name is Abby and I'm coming to see you in April @ Royce Hall with my violin teacher. One of my dreams (someday and yes.. I'M A HUGE DREAMER!!) is to hopefully play with you or participate in a masterclass with you. I was wondering if you could perhaps tell me the repertoire you are playing at Royce Hall with the Seattle Symphony? One more question (yeahh.. I ask a lot of questions!) did you ever get teased about the mark on your neck? The mark of the beast! I've had it on my neck for years and I've gotten some of the weirdest comments; such as skin cancer, hickeys, rashes etc. I'm sure you're very busy and I hope you might get a chance to read this! Sincerely,
    Abby Rose

    Dear Abby
    Well, first of all you don't ask a lot of questions! I count only two!!! I believe I will be playing the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony at Royce Hall. We might have an encore to play as well, who knows?? And yes, you bet I got teased alot about my mark. But I don't think of it as the mark of the beast.....I am super proud of it!! After all, I worked my whole life to get it and you should be proud of it too. I really hope you enjoy the performance....and thanks for writing in.

    Dear Nadja,
    Can you tell me why can't we find your records here in Brazil??? Don't you like us??? Why is it so hard to find them???.... I love you but I can't find you anywhere....It's just mean...
    Carina - São Paulo -Brazil

    Dear Carina
    Sorry about the record situation in Brazil. Honest, I am not trying to be mean....and by the adoro pessoas....a vistas.....e caipirinhas!!!!!!! But as of now, I have no distribution for stores in Brazil. It is not such an easy thing, but I am working on it very hard. You can get my CD's from going to my label website They will mail them to problem. Thank you for writing in,

    Hi again, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg,
    Just checking to see if you have decided yet what you are going to play at the Nov 18 recital at Purchase? I'd like to listen in advance to other recordings of your choices, so I can more fully enjoy and appreciate your personal interpretation and artistry. Thank you so much.

    Hello Susan
    Anne-Marie McDermott and I have decided on the following program.

      Bach E major Sonata
      Debussy Sonata
      Franck Sonata
    As far as recordings go....listen to whoever you normally like. I did record the Franck however along time ago with the incredible pianist Cecile Licad. I honestly do not know if it is still available....if it is, it would be on the EMI label. Enjoy the concert and thanks for writing in.

    Hey Ms.Sonnenberg,
    My name is James Zabawa-Martinez. I am in my 5th year of playing the violin and every since i started all i listened to was you. You are amazing. Everything about your playing is so beautiful and true. I Went to your concerto of the Shostakovich Concerto in Austin, Texas. You autographed my Mendelssohn and Bruch concerto's. I was so starstruck all i could say was "I love the way you play the Mendelssohn" I am 16 year old. I just Moved to a Boarding school in Minnesota called Shattuck-St.Mary's.. they are opening a conservatory this year and there are two others besides me. I now study with Sally O'Reilly at the university. I am Learning Vieuxtemps Concerto No.4 now. Before that it was Lalo Symphonie espagnole. I have been taking violin lessons with her for a Month now. She is amazing. I am not a rich person. my mom told me that she could not afford tickets to your concert and then she suprised me. It was an amazing concert. I have all of your C.D.'s and i was wondering if you were going to make another. I would love to hear your interpretation of the Wieniawski concerto no.1 or of the Vieuxtemps. any new C.D. by you would be amazing. I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks for listening :)
    James Zabawa-Martinez

    Hello James
    Well thank you for all the compliments and for coming to my concert. Thank your mother too!!! I wanted to tell you that you are very fortunate to be studying with Sally O'Reilly. She is absolutely wonderful and she even gave me a quick lesson backstage once which I still appreciate very much. Anyway, you are in good hands. Unfortunately I have no plans to record the Vieuxtemps or Wieniawski right now. But....I will be releasing some new stuff pretty soon. Possibly an all Brahms live recital and probably some Bach and Piazzola, and even a live concert I did in Brazil with the Assad Brothers. So there will be stuff...just check my website every now and then okay??? I am wishing you all kinds of luck in everything you do...thanks for writing in :)

    Hi Nadja,
    I'm a College Frosh looking to minor in music. I was lucky enough to attend the "Fiddler's Three" concert you gave in Green Bay, Wisconsin a several years ago and was stunned by your phenomenal playing. A few years after that, I got my hands on your album Humoresque, which to this day, remains one of my favorite albums in the classical music genre. Your interpretations on every piece never cease to amaze me, especially on the Waxman Carmen Fantasy and the Waxman Tristan and Isolde Fantasy. One thing I would like to know, however, is where you acquired the music for the T&I Fantasy and that particular arrangement of Embraceable You. I somehow got a copy of the Carmen Fantasy, but the only place that has T&I is the family of Franz Waxman, and they charge about $150 for it--slightly too steep for a college student... I haven't been able to find Embraceable You anywhere... and was hoping you could give me some pointers. If it's as expensive as T&I, I guess I'll have to sigh and hopefully I can get it someday. Thanks,

    Hi Andrew
    Start sighing my friend. I can tell you the Waxman Estate was very generous with me when I informed them I wanted to make the soundtrack for "Humoresque". Which was lucky for me because they control all of Franz Waxman's legacy. In fact I am surprised that the music is available at all. So I cannot help you there I'm afraid. And a little more bad news. "Embraceable You" was a special order as well. Just for the recording. It's an arrangement by Russell Warner for violin and piano and is not available in print. I am so sorry about that....but very happy you like these arrangements and the recording. Thanks for writing in,

    Dear Nadja,
    I love your spirit! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself on these web pages. My question: Do you have any hobbies, collections or special interests? Thank you in advance,

    Hi Ruth
    Let's see...hobbies. Lately it seems my hobby is sleeping...I don't ever get enough of that. But also, I adore cooking up a great meal. In fact it's what I do Followed by fishing and then playing the violin. I also love just seeing my friends which seems to be a rarety as well these days. I am an avid crossword puzzle doer and I love to read....just about anything. Collections??? I collect sky miles it seems. But no, there isn't one thing in particular that I collect. And special interests? Well, there's my record label NSS Music. I am about to release the 6th album on the label. It keeps me more than busy but I couldn't be prouder of what we are doing. Check it out sometime on the I'm glad you enjoy the site Ruth and thanks for writing in,

    I few weeks ago I caught a show about your life, trials, tribulations, joys and low points. Spectacular is all I can say. I was touched. I am a soldier in the United States Army. In 2005 I was deployed to Afghanistan. Many of my colleagues either played or were learning to play the guitar. I took a leap of faith so to speak. I ordered a violin through the mail and with the help of a friend began teaching myself the violin. Teaching yourself the violin in a combat zone isn't the easiest pursuit but it has been one of my greatest. After returning from Afghanistan I found a teacher and continued my education. I have since moved and am without a mentor. Seeing your life and ability has given me more motivation than ever. I especially enjoyed the comment you made about playing a fifth finger note versus an open string because the sound was "more pained" as I believe you put it. It's not the note but the music and the emotion that it invokes. Of all instruments I feel the violin is capable of the widest range of emotions. At this point I'm quite happy since my ability has outgrown my "student" violin and I'm looking for a new one or rather an old one as the case may be. Thank you for the inspiration and I hope that one day I'll have the privelage of hearing you in person. Short and to the point as I know your schedule may not permit you to read my email. Be well.
    SSG Adkins, Michael J.
    Charlie Company, 264th Medical Battalion
    68 Delta Branch

    Dear Michael
    I not only read your email but had to respond. I cannot imagine even for a second what it must have been like to learn the violin in a combat zone. There is no instrument harder to learn...especially in the beginning....and what awful sounds too. I bet you got teased alot huh? You must be one sturdy young man, sticking to your guns, so to speak, and following through. I am happy to see that you've continued your studies and wish you luck and health and happiness....and may you always enjoy playing your "ax". That's what we fiddlers call our violins.....but....I'll bet you already know that. Thanks for writing in,

    Dear Nadja, Thank you for a wonderful concert. What was the name of your encore? Have you recorded it? I need to hear it again! Sincerely, Kendra
    Dear Kendra
    Well, thank you for attending the performance. Davies Hall is spectacular and the San Fran audiences are wonderful. The encore I played is the Gluck Melodie, arranged by Kreisler. And yes I have recorded it...recently in fact. The album will be all Brahms and probably be released late 07 or early 08 on my label NSS Music. You can find it and others at Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I live in Argentina. I'd like to know if DVD "Speaking in Strigs" have subtitles in spanish, because I want to buy it. Thanks Javier Moro
    Dear Javier
    I am so sorry but the movie has no subtitles. If I owned the rights to the film...I would change this immediately, but I don't so....I have to say though....your english seems pretty good to me!! Thank you for writing in, - NSS

    Nadja: Again, I was blown away by your Huntsville, AL performance last night. This will be the second time I've experienced you and I can say that you play not only with your fingers, but with your soul. Your music is 'in you' and, you know it!

    I noted your soft, artistic touch and noticed also, your violin's 'sound'. What instrument do you use? Your violin has such a unique sound/soul, warm, soft, ready to reign hell, if needed, but a mellow, soft voice. I must know!

    Good luck to you on NSS! "Merry" will be background music for my holiday party! Thank you again for reaching out with your talent to inspire and give hope to those of us (me) who live and breathe by classical music.

    Looking forward to your next performance, Kat
    Dear Kat
    So glad you enjoyed the performance. I had a wonderful time myself!! I like to say my violin is wooden and used....some people actually take me seriously with that one. But here's the's a Guarnerius made in 1721 and I loved this fiddle the first time I saw it because it looked to me somehow "naughty". I've played on it for at least the last 10 years and we just seem to get closer and closer. Thank you for purchasing will love it I'm sure. Have a great holiday party and thanks for writing in. - NSS

    Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg,
    I do not play the violin but I do appreciate the instrument very much. I was brought up in a musical family and while I did play the trumpet and do play the guitar, the only violinists I really enjoyed (or explored) before you were Heifetz & Perlman. Suffice it to say somewhere in the 80's I saw you on Carson and my appreciation changed. I said to my wife, "Now there's a girl with passion!"

    I collected most of your work and when I was deployed in (yes, I was a soldier once and young) I confess your music was the only thing that could make me cry or more appropriately, the only thing I allowed myself to cry over. The funny thing was that after several nights playing your CDs I would have a gaggle of 18 and 19 year old boys in my hooch, (a glorified tent) literally begging me to play the classical stuff by that girl. (You should be impressed, most were death metal addicts or gangsta' rap fans) In time they too learned to let themselves cry to the experience of your music. Madam, it was and is cathartic.
    From me and for my boys, Thank You, - Christopher Mitchell, SFC, US Army (retired)

    Dear Sir
    You say I should be impressed.....I am. And honored and touched as well. Thank you for sharing these memories with me and thanks for writing in. - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    When will you come to LONDON to play?! Please tell me! I want to hear you LIVE. I live quite near the Barbican theatre. It will be FANTASTIC to hear you in person! I am 9 yrs old and I'd love to be a violinist someday so I practised loads and I LOVE it! But I don't love the scales! I don't mind the etudes though. I only started music, I mean violin, 18 months when I got a Saturday music school scholarship place at the Royal Academy in central London. But I have some burning questions for you. Really really hope you can answer! At what age did you start violin lessons do you remember? And, when did you decide you want to be or can be a violinist? Some people say that if I am serious about becoming like you - actually I don't want to be famous like you, I am quite a quiet person but I just LOVE to play the violin loads and loads and also when I grow up and for the rest of my life - I will need 2 lessons a week. Was this true for you? - Danielle

    Hi Danielle
    Well let's many questions!! I am not sure when I will be playing London again.....but I love the Barbican and hope to return there very soon. In the meantime I have a couple of "very live" albums out on my new label NSS Music. Maybe you would enjoy those. Okay, I started playing the violin when I was 5 years old in Italy. I would say playing the violin was my mothers decision more than mine but I do remember hating the practicing, but loving the performing. I didn't decide to pursue playing the violin until I was much older. 19 years old....10 whole years older than old lady!!! And as far as 2 lessons a week...well I never had 2 lessons a week. My mom couldn't afford that. It seems like you love to play Danielle....and that is the secret which you already possess young lady...keep it for yourself and try never to lose it. - NSS

    I don't want to quit smoking. I didn't want to quit smoking before. Now, those superior looks I get, the shakes of the head, the comments just loud enough for me to hear, ahnd the superior attitudes just make me want to quit less. If I am around you every day and you are genetically prone to developing cancer, my chances of killing you with my second hand smoke are about 1 in 300,000. I stand a 1 in 7500 chance of killing you with my car wheter I know you or not. The pleasure I get after a meal enjoying a snifter of B&B and a cigarette is worth the slim chance I stand in killing you.

    Unlike the rest of you who imagine that you will live forever if you rid the world of all of its bad habits except for the ones you practice, I know that, no matter what I do, I am goingt to live for another 20 to 25 years. Maybe 30 if I am lucky or unlucky depending on the shape I am in at that age. For the next 20 to 25 years, I want to smoke what I want, drink what I want, do what I want, and go where I want and I should be allowed to do this as long as it doesn't involve murder, rape, pedophilia, theft, genocide, or overt public endangerment.

    I also do not want to be involved in any way with rapists, 3 time losers, thieves, woman or child beaters, murderers, druggies, alcoholics, racists, ghetto trash, or those enablers called help groups, halfway houses, step programs, rehab centers or parole officers. If you are inclined to need these things or hang out with people who do, stay away.

    Do you know a place I can go and live the rest of my life like this? Emmett
    Dear Emmett
    I enjoyed reading your letter.....I really did....honest. And I am in full agreement with you. B&B is a wonderful after dinner drink. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadia,
    I enjoyed your concert with Mark O'Connor yesterday at Greenville, South Carolina, very much. I was in the front row in front of I was in Portland, Oregon, some years ago...absolutely marvelous experiences. I began violin lessons seriously at about your present age and really enjoy the inspiration that you and Mark provide. Could you tell me of the age and maker of your fantastic violin and also your bow? Best wishes - Craig Smith, Asheville, NC

    Dear Craig
    I am so glad you enjoyed the concert and that you were able to see it from the front row! That would probably be a little too intense for me honestly....all that swingin goin on. Anyway, my violin is Peter Guarnerius of Venice....made in 1721. I forgot which bow I used in the concert. I have a few of them and I switch alot...sorry. But I hope this answers your question. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    Congratulations on quitting smoking. You've inspired me and I'm going to quit. I quit for 7 years and started back up recently when I visited my chain smoking family in Japan. It was definitely a "can't beat em, join em situation". I love so much that you started your own label. You go girl!!!! I finally got to see you live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in November. I had heard a little bit of Shostakovich on the movie "Speaking in Strings" and I thought it would be neat to hear it live first before getting the CD. You definitely made me leave the planet, thank you. Well enough of the chit chat, and down to the question. Do you think that it is impossible to be even fair on the violin if you start playing at 40 years old? My teacher said that the ability to play even okay will be diminished by age. Mind you I'm not planning on being a star - I just want to be okay enough to play in the college orchestra (probably with the 5 year olds) - But, I was knocked down by that comment and have found it hard to play with the same enthusiasm. Help. Forever your fan, - Tina

    Dear Tina
    Well, your teacher has a point. Not only our brains but also our fingers are not nearly as "open" to learning the older we get. But ...and this is a big long as you're not planning to play that Shostakovich concerto any time soon, I don't see one reason why you shouldn't learn to play the violin and most important, enjoy playing the violin. I say go for it. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hey Nadja
    Just wanted to say that I've been listening to your Sibelius concerto recording a lot recently. I LOVE your interpretation.... the way you go to all extremes and really milk the expression out of the concerto for all it's worth is very admirable, and something I can relate to very well. Question-- even before I discovered your recording of the sibelius I was in love with it; you have added to that obsession (!). In the liner notes you say you knew you should've waited to start the concerto until you were older, but regret waiting as long as you did. I have to play this piece sometime in my career... do you think, learning from your own experience, I should study it in a couple of years, and then come back to it when I'm in my twenties? What is the best way to approach this piece in the future, I mean in terms of time spent on it or something? Thanks so much for your time, and comments! - Abe

    Dear Abe
    I learned the Sibelius when I was 28 years old......even then I knew this was too long to wait. The older you get the harder it is to learn anything, and of course...your brain starts getting the way more and more. Ever hear the expression "can't teach and old dog new tricks?" With that sage piece of advice let me say this. Learn that piece right you read this letter. It's extremely hard and demanding...learn it can always go back to it later on in life. Hope this helps, but what the hell do I know??? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    We attended a recital by Ms. Sonnenberg at Merkin Hall in NYC about two years ago. The evening was to have been recorded for a CD--NSS performed with her pianist only--and we've been searching for it ever since. Is there such a recording? Thanks. - Judy Barron
    Hi Judy
    Thank you for attending the recital...hope you enjoyed the whole process. The CD, entitled LIVE will be available the first week of September. Please check back here at this site for the information about my new label and how to purchase the CD. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi Nadja,
    I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the live recital concerts you did last year with Anne-Marie McDermott at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. I thought it was going to be released on your new record label, NSS Records, on August 1st? Can you provide any further information on a release date? I promised to buy quite a few as gifts for people and for myself! Thanks and be well, - Lydia

    Hi Lydia
    My new label NSS Music will launch the first week of September. The LIVE recital program with Anne-Marie McDermott and the live concerto album will be released then. Thcaikovsky and Assad violin concertos. Please check back to this site at that time and you will notice a major announcement and a link to a new website for the label where you can purchase products. I am happy you are awaiting the new stuff...I kind of am too....thanks for writing in. - NSS

    Hello Nadia!
    My name is Abe, and I'm from New Hampshire. I'm 13 and I've been playing the violin for 7 years. I just wanted to let you know that I just recently saw your documentary, 'speaking in strings'!! And to tell you the truth, I have been, so to speak,been in a violin pit, lol, and have, i guess, been in a teenage hormonal period (!!) of non-inspiration. haha. you ignited my passion for playing the violin again!! I have gone back to having my dream of becoming a famous violinist when i grow up! I'm sorry this is so long! For almost my whole time playing violin I have had the dream and goal of becoming a famous violinist, and suddenly it went away....more like hid in a corner. lol. well you made it come rushing back out! thank you so much Nadia!!! i hope you reply, Abe

    Hi Abe
    I couldn't be happier for you and you are very welcome. Just be sure to let me know when you think you're ready for that whole famous violinist thing, and I'll give you my slot...okay? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi Nadja,
    Hope you are doing well. Last year, my friends and I attended one of the "live recording" concerts you gave with Anne-Marie McDermott at Merkin Concert Hall in NYC - it was fantastic. When will the cd be released? P.S. - What is going on with our NY Yankees? I have a feeling this may be the end of the road for poor Joe Torre. Regards, Lydia

    Hi Lydia
    Thanks so much for attending the LIVE recital last year. Hope it was a fun experience for was a blast for us. The recording will be released on my brand new label NSS Music august 1st. You may want to check my website closer to that time to find out more details. Our Yankees??? I don't have a clue. I just read the paper every morning and shake my head. Geez, those guys. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Minnesota Public Radio rebroadcasts the live performance of NSS playing the Shostakovich w/ Minn. Orch.! This is the best recording of this masterpiece in existence, live or studio. It would be great if it could be offered on your Nadja's new label!! Sincerely, Greg
    Hi Greg
    Thank you for this update and also the wonderful comment...very appreciated. It would be great to release this live performance on my upcoming new label....but it's just not that easy. Lots and lots of union rules. But here's a pretty good second choice. Since Shostakovich's birthday centenery will be celebrated in 2006, EMI has decided to re-release my recording of the Shostakovich/Barber concerto's on May 10th, 2005. Maxim Shostakovich is conducting. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi Nadja,
    I was wondering if you were going to be playing in the San Francisco Bay Area anytime soon? It would be a dream come true to be able to see you in person. By the way, if you are ever in San Francisco, and want to see a Giants game let me know. I know you are a Yankee fan. That's great, so am I. Hope to see you here soon. rick

    Hi Rick
    Yes in fact I am playing at UC Berkeley next week. A recital with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott on march 4th. Thank you for the kind offer and hope to see you at the concert. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I have just heard Salerno-Sonnenberg, Carter and Ivers perform Chris Brubeck's Interplay for 3 Violins. Marvelous! Has that been recorded? Please reply! Thanks so much John L, Milwaukee area
    Dear John
    Thanks for being at the concert. It's something isn't it??? The piece hasn't been recorded yet. But I am about to launch my own new record label and this project is top of the list. So hang in'll get done for sure!!! Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    dear nadja,
    i had the good fortune to hear your rendition of the barber violin concerto on wqxr several weeks ago. i wrote and asked them about the recording. (they ignored me) i have been unable to buy it anywhere. can you help me? they have it by other violinists, but it's yours that i really would love to have. would it help my case if i mentioned my daughter was at julliard and i think you might have known her. (emily honig) anyway, i'm desperate. hope to hear from you . thanks so much. paula honig

    Dear Paula
    I have recorded the Barber with the Shostakovich for EMI. It hasn't been available for a few years now, but they are re-releasing it in the spring I I would say to check with the stores or EMI directly around that time. I would have written back anyway, but just so you know.....I remember bet I do. Please give her my love. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    Hi nadja I am 16 and I play the viola. I was wondering if you have made or making a recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The Tchaikovsky is my favorite violin concerto, and I also wanted to ask you why you take the third movement of the brahms violin concerto slower than the original speed. I love the way you play it but i just wanted to ask why you take it slower. Steven Juarez

    Dear Steven
    In fact, I have made a recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto....finally. I recorded it this fall LIVE with the Colorado Symphony Orchestraand the wonderful Marin Alsop conducting. It should be out and available next fall under my new label NSS Music.

    Why did I play the third movement of the Brahms at that tempo? Well, I always think of recordings as simply a documentation of how the artist played that particular day. Tempo is also a very particular and unique element....different artists play music at different tempo's. I don't remember the day I recorded the Brahms, but I guess that's the tempo I felt on that particular day. Hope this answers your questions a little. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    You were a tremendous inspiration to my 12 yr. old grand-daughter, who attended your concert in Denver. But if dedicating ones self to become a famous violinist means you becomes so shallow in important areas of life, then perhaps it's not worth it. Your website thoughts would not be an inspiration to her...especially #8. Using your vernacular, what the hell did your family emigrate here for if you can't stand what this country was built on. They must have been a bunch of real "morons!" W.C. Bratz

    Dear W.C.
    First, allow me to commend you for bringing your 12 year old grand-daughter to a classical concert. I wish more families would do so....since our wonderful government doesn't feel the arts are important enough to fund through our school system, it is left to the families to educate their children on this matter. Normally I would not respond to a letter like yours. You stated your opinion and that is your right. However, you called my family "morons" and so I feel compelled not so much to defend my statement, but more to educate you. Loving your country doesn't mean you don't recognize it's faults. If only our country operated now on the same principals it was founded on. I gave up my citizenship from my country of origin so that I could be an american. So that I could attain the education I received and develop in the best way possible the gifts that God gave me. I am indebted to this country....I love it very much. Which is why it makes me so sad to see those original principals being manipulated and forgotten. Anyone who cannot or will not see the downward spiral this country is headed for is the real moron. Please do not insult my family again. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Nadja --
    I'm a longtime fan with 2 questions for you:

    1) Any new recordings coming out in 2005? I've got everything you've ever recorded and am jonesing for some new CDs from you.

    2) Is there any chance we'll ever hear you playing Clarice Assad's concerto on CD?

    Take care, Suzanne Wagner Fort Worth, Texas
    Hi Suzanne
    Well, I'll tell of mid december I will have recorded 4 albums in a period of 13 months. Which means there will be 4 releases in 2005. I am recording Clarice Assad's violin concerto this evening in fact!!! Along with the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, both are being recorded live with the wonderful Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the incredible Marin Alsop conducting. Another live recording I made is a New York recital with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. There is Mark O'Connor's Double violin concerto coming in may I believe and I am about to go to Brazil next month to once again....Sergio Assad's Triple concerto for two guitars and violin. All of these will be released in 2005 although I am not at all sure of the release dates yet. Check right here at this website and I'll keep everyone posted. Hope this helps satisfy your jonesing!!! Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the premier of this exciting and sweeping piece. Ms. Assad has a wonderful career ahead of her and with conductors like Marin Alsop, her works will be welcomed and enjoyed. I'm glad to hear it will be recorded and will get a copy when available. You're performance that evening was wonderful! It was my first opportunity to hear you though you've been to Santa Cruz before. I saw your documentary. It was extremely poignant and moved me tremendously. I ordered the DVD the next day.

    I enjoyed the first half of the concert discussion with the three of you too, you're such a character. Your comment about forgetting your panty hose was very funny and refreshing. I so love classical music and can't understand why everyone doesn't! I try to bring my piano students into that wonderful realm. But maybe it's the notion that "classical" performances and performers are stuffy or too elitist that What a shame that such wonderful music exists and is not heard enough and musicians like you are not held in the proper perspective. When I hear someone refer to Snoop Dog and his ilk as musical artists, I shiver.

    I'm happy you have a web site and I especially enjoy your thoughts section. I read many of them last night and was in tears from laughter. You are a special woman with and enormous and unique talent and the wit to take on the world. But please, Please, PLEASE try to quit smoking. What a loss to your fans and friends who love you, to lose you one second before we have to. Live long and strong, Nadja. Fan and friend, Robin Murray Aptos, Ca.
    Dear Robin
    Wow, what a nice letter!!! I feel like I should pay you....where should I send the check??? Couldn't agree more with your second paragraph. Thank you for your support and your comments and as always, thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I have read so much about you and I wondered if you could help me. My father passed away last April and he had a family heirloom that he asked me to find a value for. It has been passed down for several generations. It is a violin and inside it says:

       Janurius Gaglianus
       Alumnus Antonii Stradivarii
       Fecit Neapoli Ao: 1746

    It is in the original case, too. Please let me know if you can help me find out the value and who may be interested in the violin. Thanks, Suzi Doland
    Dear Alan
    Hi Suzi
    Well there are alot of violins floating around with labels inside of them that say all sorts of things. The fact is that most of them are fake labels but that doesn't mean yours is. I couldn't tell you a thing unless I actually looked at the instrument. The varnish is a big give away for example. But what I would suggest is that you find a violin dealer or repair person to look at the instrument. Ask around to see who's reputable can get fleeced with an old violin. Or maybe you know someone who knows a violinist who could possibly look at it for you. Be careful and treat it as if it's valuable right now...until you have more information. Good luck and thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    First off, I am 37 and just started playing violin about a year and a half ago. I have played guitar for more than 25 years so I am not new to music. I started playing about 6 months after my daughter started. She got me hooked on violin and now I'm obsessed with it! We take lessons from the same teacher. It must be the most difficult task on earth to learn how to play this piece of wood. I think that is what draws me to it. My teacher said I was progressing well. And I have a love for classical violin music that I would have never predicted years ago.

    Anyway, I have the Speaking in Strings DVD. There is a duet played by you and a cellist friend for yours. An I believe is was being recorded for sell, but cannot find it. Did that ever make it to CD? Thanks, Alan Floyd
    Dear Alan
    Welcome to the very wonderful, frustrating world of the violin!!!

    The "duet" you heard in the movie is not a duet. That was just us rehearsing our part to a piece called Carnival. It is actually written for violin and two cellos. I performed it and recorded it with Lynn Harrel and Mats Lidstrom...the composer. It is available on the EMI label in two versions. The entire version on "Bella Italia" and a shorter version on the Speaking in Strings soundtrack CD. One of those should still be available, but these days...who knows.

    Good luck with your piece of wood and thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hello Nadja:
    I heard you playing on a radio program on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) recently.

    You were playing with the Assad brothers. It was a fabulous program, particularly Sketches, by Clarice Assad.

    Well done. You are truly a gifted talent. Phil Novak
    Dear Phil
    I am so glad you heard the radio broadcast of the concert and that you enjoyed "Sketches".

    I remember that concert well as it was out first performance of that piece. It is tricky and requires enormous concentration, but the pay-off is huge for all involved. Clarice Assad is Sergio Assad's daughter and she has made a fan of me. I am incredibly impressed by her obvious talent not only as a composer but a fantastic performer as well. In fact I am premiering her violin concert this summer at the Cabrillo Music Festival and am very excited about it. She is a note-worthy artist who has a bright future indeed and I am happy and honored to champion her work. I am really so pleased you enjoyed her piece. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Ms. Nadja:
    As part of the US Antarctic Research Program, I spent a total of three trips to the "ICE." The second trip I "Wintered Over" spending 13 months straight. No Mail, No Phone, No TV from Feb. 5TH to Nov. 9TH. As a South Pole Station Manager, one of my more important jobs was to pay close attention to morale. and build a team out of an internationally diverse group of people. I had Chinese, Russian, Norwegian Scientists, among others. Not all spoke fluent English. Music being a constant to all, I created "The Nadja Hour." Every Sunday from Feb. to Nov. after the evening meal, and chores were completed, the group got together in our small common room (Library, Pool Table, Projector, etc.) and settled in, got comfortable, and listened to one of your albums. All 13 of us are now avid "Nadja" fans for life. This hour with your music brought us together, and helped us deal with the isolation, missing families, and gave us a common bond that I feel will last for life.

    We flew an American Flag on the top of the Geodesic Dome that covers the buildings we lived, and worked in. All 13 of us signed the hem of the Flag, and would like to send it, and a Admunsen-Scott South Pole Station T-Shirt to you. If you are interested please respond with an address, and I will send it to you.

    If not, thank you very much for your music, and remember you have fans who appreciate you all the way to the actual Geographic South Pole. We left your music at the "Pole" for future crews to appreciate, and I am sure they will. With Sincere Gratitude & Respect: R. Gibson

    PS: On WED nights we listened to "Grand Funk Railroad"
    Mr. Gibson
    I have received fan letters from all over the world for some time now....but yours stands alone in its uniqueness. It is very moving for me to know that this such an isolated spot...and that it might have helped the mood and morale of these people.

    I am now trying to visualize what life was like for all of you...and am once again reassured and confident of the immense power of music.

    I am honored to accept your gift and honestly...can't wait to receive it. Someone will be in touch with you very soon. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with me and thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear, Nadja
    I am 15 years old and I too am a violinist. Unlike most other violinist I compete with, I first learned to play when I was 12 instead of 5 or 6. My biggest dream is to become a solo-violinist however most people tell me it's nearly impossible because I got started so late. I don't think they are right. I practice a lot to make up for what I've missed and not to be cocky, but I feel I am very advanced for a 3 1/2 year student. I know my dream isn't impossible and I'm totally willing to practice more (I practiced 5 hours yesterday) but will it be nearly impossible to accomplish this? Oh yeah, I watched Speaking in Strings and I am so inspired by you. We have things in common also. People say I'm an unconventional dresser also because I wear a biker jacket and black vinyl gowns on stage to perform, so I'm happy that you also don't care what people have to say. We need more nonconformists! I adore you and you are truly beautiful. Your fan, Donna Alvarez

    Dear Donna
    There are no definite rules in the world of music. No definite way to play any given piece and certainly no definite age to start or stop playing. I have attended concerts given by 8 year olds as well as 86 years old. For the record I preferred the 86 year old....he had a lot more to say. Being a soloist is hard enough as it I would say this to you. If music is in your blood and you cannot do without it...then don't spend too much time worrying about how old you's wasted time. Better you should practice your vibrato or something. Black vinyl gowns huh? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Ms. Salerno Sonnenberg,
    I'm an aspiring violinist, and I look up to you so much because of the tremendous passion that is so alive in your playing! It is just so soulful and moving. Well, so my question for you is this: I get nervous for all of my performances, even if I know the audience will not be that critical. I even get nervous for lessons, even though I love my teacher. Do you have a pre-concert routine that calms you down and gives you focus and confidence?? If it's not a secret, I'd love to try it! Okay, thanks!! Sincerely, Erin

    Dear Erin,
    It's no secret but it helps a lot. Remember that you were there to play your instrument, to make music. So think only of the music...Don't think of the surroundings just the music. This has always helped me and I really hope it helps you too. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I really don't know if someday Nadja will read this, however I'll just write it to who ever gets this message. My name is Julio and I've been playing acoustic guitar for about 15 years now. Being into music (eventhough unfurtunately is not my career) playing Joe Pass, Paco diLucia and things like that I heard a violinist talking about Nadja Salerno in the intermision of Pablo Casals Concert Tribute. On the next day by casuality I saw the DVD Talking in Strings at Borders. The career of Nadja impressed me, evenmore than Lance Armtrong (the Texan Cyclist) who had a fairy tale with the Tour de France.

    Being familiarized with music I immediately started to look for a violin and a teacher; not to immitate Nadja, but to see what passion does this instrument creates. To be honest I was wrong. It doesn't creates passion, you deliver your passion through it. Not to insult my Tyler and Esteve guitars, but Nadja showed me the way of transfering my feelings through the beatifull sound of the violin. Absolutely and without a doubt this is the vehicle that my life needed...Just a Violin and Nadjas inspiration.

    As Nadja I also had a depresion which amazingly I find impossible to talk about. Nadja, You are my inspiration! - A Fan From Puerto Rico - Mr. Julio A Mateo
    Dear Julio
    Well I did see your letter and I appreciate it very much. You are right of instrument can create passion. That is entirely up to the performer. And that is the magic that music contains...for all of us. It doesn't have to be your just has to be your passion. In fact, sometimes having a career in music takes all the fun out of it. Since you are a guitarist maybe you would like the album I made with Sergio and Odair Assad, the greatest guitar duo ever. There is no title...just our names and it's available through the Nonesuch Label. There's alot of passion in this album....I think you would enjoy it very much. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Ciao Nadja,
    Io sono un ragazzo messicano, ho 20 anni e che da un po' ho incominciato a imparare la lingua italiana, sono un suo ammiratore e vorrei sapere se dará un concerto nella città del Messico nel marzo 2004, Io ricordo a Lei nel film Perlman virtuoso violinist, spero conoscerla qualche giorno, saluti da Messico!

    Ciao ragazzo messicano
    Grazie tanto per la sua lettera. Suonero a Mexico City il 26 e il 28 di marzo. Spero che lei puo attendere. Cordiale saluti - NSS

    Ciao Nadja!
    Mi chiamo Maria Vittoria e sono una tua grande ammiratrice, studio violino e per me sei un modello, sei fantastica, quando ti sento suonare il mio cuore si apre e volevo ringraziarti per questo! Purtroppo qui in Italia non riesco a trovare i tuoi CD, ma verrò a studiare in America e spero di poterli trovare. Magari un giorno potrò anche conoscerti, sarebbe meraviglioso!!

    Ciao Maria
    Si, poi comprare i miei disci in America...come no. E io anche spero d'incontrarsi un giorno. Grazie molto per la tua lettera, - NSS

    Hi Nadja,
    I have been trying to purchase a copy of your Barber/Shostakovich Concertos, but it appears it is not in production anymore. Do you know of anywhere I can buy it? If it isn't being made anymore, you should get them (whoever may have the power) to start again because I have heard it before, and it is an amazing recording! Also, are you coming out with any new recordings? Thanks! A huge fan from Wisconsin, Ryan Prijic

    Hi Ryan
    Yeah I'm afraid the Barber/Shostakovich album is no longer available in stores. The record label is EMI and they took it off the shelves about a year ago. The only thing I can suggest is eBay or select record stores that sell out of print stuff.

    I am going to be making and releasing 4 new CD's within the next year. Check here at this website as I will definitely let everyone know when they're available. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja:
    My name is Mary Alice Hutton, and I am eight years old. When I was four, I saw you on Sesame Street and loved how you played. I yelled for my mom to come and watch you, and I told her I wanted to learn how to play the violin. She told me I should wait until I turned five, but then I could start lessons.

    I did start my lessons and have been playing ever since. I practice every day. In fact, I have practiced for 1,278 days in a row -- I have never missed a single one!

    You are coming to Minneapolis in January, and I get to come to your concert at Orchestra Hall. I can't wait to see you in person!

    Thank you so much for inspiring me to learn how to play the violin. I really love it!

    Your fan, L Mary Alice Hutton
    Dear Mary Alice
    I really hope you don't mind me posting your letter on my website....but I couldn't resist because you listed the number of days you've practiced in a row. I have to say, you made me laugh. And you also got me many days have I practiced???? I think I'm a little too old to figure that one out huh? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I'm simply enraptured by your music!

    Forgive my ignorance, but I'd like to know the name of the piece you're playing at the tail end of the trailer for "Speaking In Strings."

    I tried singing it for my coach (yes, I actually SANG it for the poor lady), and she didn't recognize it.

    The piece is sublime, and I have aspirations (or should I say "fantasies"!) of being able to tackle it one day.

    Thanks for all the wonderful music.

    Wishing you health and joy always, Chris Miami, Florida
    Hi Chris
    Thank you for your letter. I'm not positive about this (mainly because I haven't seen the movie in a long time) but I believe the music at the end is Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence. It's a string sextet and is available on the soundtrack for the movie on the EMI Classics label. Hope this helps a little. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I am a classical music host at WABE in Atlanta, and I recently had a listener who wanted to know what violin you are currently playing. When you get a chance will you please let me know? Thanks, Wanda Yang Temko WABE, 90.1 FM

    Hi Wanda
    It's a Peter Guarnerius of Venice made in 1721. It's old and used and wooden. I'm saving up for a new one. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    HELP! I am desperately seeking the sheet music for "Humoresque." I have purchased a few copies and isn't the on your recording of the "Humoresque" cd. Can you help me?? Sincerely, Smitty in Long Beach, CA

    Hi Smitty
    Well unfortunately the music I played on the Humoresque recording is not available for purchase. This music is from the private archives of Franz Waxman. The other selections on the CD were commissioned by me as special arrangements. That music is not published...I have the only copies...sorry. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Do you know if you may be performing in New Orleans in the near future? After seeing speaking in strings I really want to see you perform live. I loved the way you answered a prior question about gender predjudice in your profession. I have never heard anyone say I play the Mandolin like a woman, perhaps like a screeching banshee, but never a woman. My wife would punch me if I told her she played the Violin like a man, partly because it's rude, and partly because she doesn't play the Violin. Anyway, I hope you play New Orleans in 2004, and I won't travel more than 3000 miles to see you. Harvey Jones...(yes it's my real name!)

    Hi Harvey
    Thanks for your letter....just to let you know I will be performing in New Orleans next season sometime in the first week of april. My concert schedule for 2003/2004 should be up on this website pretty soon. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    What do you think of the possibility of you making a teaching video? I would love to learn from the best. Or if you could please in the next movie you make, give us beginners a few pointers on how to get better by showing us on the video how to master the vibrato as you have. Thanks for your wonderful music, please don't ever stop. Love Tina, Apple Valley, CA.

    Dear Tina
    A teaching video? Me???
    Well actually I guess it's not a bad idea...I will certainly consider it. As far as my vibrato is concerned...I always chalked it up to all that coffee. But since I haven't had a cup of coffee for almost two years I'm guessing that's not the reason. Maybe it's the whiskey? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi there,
    I'm just wondering if you have any random thoughts/general opinions about female violinists today. In your experience are they treated differently by the media/reviewers? Are you aware of your gender when you play? for eg. do you associate 'refinement' with 'femininity' or 'virility' with 'masculinity'? I would be really interested to know what you think. Thanks (and I found your website really interesting!) Sarah Knox (Australia)

    Hi Sarah
    Well you ask an interesting question. It's practically impossible to answer it properly without writing 5 pages on the subject but I will sum it up by saying I mean no to being aware of my gender while I am onstage...although sometimes if my heels are too high or the panty hose don't fit...but basically I never think about this at all while playing. Does prejudice exist for women in my field? Of course it does...big time...but again in my experience I would have to It's not that I didn't see it, feel it or be affected by's just that it was not monumental enough to change the course of what I was doing or "bitter me up" in any way. Perhaps because I chose not to let it affect me much and I speak in the past because that is when this happened. Very early on in my carreer. As women go I guess I am a super strong one so maybe this is the reason I never suffered much from this. I will say this though.....when I hear the phrase "she plays like a man" I am old enough and wise enough not to be insulted by it....but I have to makes me laugh. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Mrs. Salerno- Sonnenberg
    I was just wondering if you were going to play in Toronto around June or July next year. I know 2004 is a year away. But I thought you might know. I adore your playing. I don't live in Canada, my dad is the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball team. So this year when I went to visit I had just missed. I had even gone to Roy Thomson and got to sit in on one of their rehersals. But I hope next year I won't miss you. And if I am there in Toronto at the time. You are welcome to tickets to the game, a box what ever you want. Also, I play the violin if you didnt see me on ESPN. I played the national anthems on Father's Day in Toronto. But please email me back about the tickets and you schedule. Thank you so much the music you provide the world, and God Bless You, Matthew Tosca

    Dear Matthew
    First place....I love your last name. I was just in Toronto recently so it doesn't look like I'm going to be there next season....sorry. But listen, are you sure you want to offer me tickets to a game? You do know don't you that I am a die-hard Yankee fan right? Well...if that's okay with you and the offer still stands, then thank you very, very much. I'd love to go to a game next time I'm in Toronto. Good luck with your violin and continued success to you. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    More letters

    If you would like to submit a question for Nadja, please email Because of Nadja's schedule, not all questions will be answered.

    ©2017-2001 Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg