Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

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    Hello Nadja:
    Your Mendelssohn performance at Indianapolis on May 31st was breathtaking! I wished it would never end by the time you play the third movement. My kids and I were so moved, I went ahead and purchased your book "Nadja: On My Way." Your story reminds me of my son who is most willful and hardheaded. He plays the violin and is working on Lalo these days. He drove his school orchestra director nuts for he was blowing straws which he sneaked out of lunch room from one end of orchestra room to the other end. He was having the greatest time and still thinks it was funny!

    We live in Bloomington, Indiana and I don't want to miss any of concerts from now on if you come to Midwest. Where is your home base and where do you teach? It was the most inspiring concert I have been to! Thank God for your talent! Grace
    Dear Grace
    Thank you for coming to my concert in Indianapolis and bringing your kids too. Good for you. Wish more mothers would do that. Your son sounds like me when I was young. And I'll tell ya....that Lalo is enough to drive anybody crazy. To answer your questions, I live in New York City and I don't teach in any one school. My schedule would not permit that. But I do teach many master classes when I travel. I'll be at Ravinia Festival in Chicago this friday the 20th. That's the midwest isn't it?? Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    I recently saw you perform the Barber Violin Concerto in Pasadena, California on May 10th. The concert was a sell out and I must say that your performance was fantastic! I would like to give you a special THANK YOU for autographing my copy of, "Nadja On My Way." It was my birthday and seeing you perform was the best birthday gift next to my new violin. I have a question for youÉ what is your favorite city to perform in and why? Thanks for your wonderful music and all the best to you! Smitty in Long Beach, CA

    Dear Smitty
    Well belated Happy Birthday to you! Boy you sure got a violin infused birthday this year huh? My favorite city to perform in is....Pasadena. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hello Nadja..
    Your ordeal regarding your finger injury has been a source of inspiration to me while I am recovering from my own traumatic finger injury. I play violin and I severely lacerated my middle left finger when I shattered a jar that I was working with. It took 10 stitches to close the wound. The accident ocurred 2 weeks ago, but I am facing complete numbness where the area was sutured and am very depressed that I may not regain feeling due to nerve damage. My question is did you experience numbness and lack of feeling during your healing? I have been researching nerve damage and have conflicting reports. I wish you all the best in your musical life and thank you for reading my letter. Sincerely, - T.Siefert

    Dear T. Siefert
    I am very sorry to hear about your finger...truly. And as you already know I can certainly relate. My experience was never with numbness...on the contrary I always felt a great deal of pain. The two nerves on each side of my finger were reattached first and then the skin and rest of the finger. Since the reattachment did not occur until 3 to 4 hours after the accident I had a sever scar tissue problem to deal with for over a year. The only advice my doctor gave me was to massage the area constantly and wait. I'm not sure this information helps you at all but please accept my best wishes for a complete recovery. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi Nadja!
    I just got home from your free concert at Town Hall--bless you for doing this. There were so many people in the audience who I'm sure could not afford a ticket at Lincoln Center, and they were in awe of you. (Including the man who strangely yelled "Living women flying!" He was sitting right next to us. I also stood next to him in line at 10 this morning--he really wanted to see you!

    I've been to many classical concerts with my mom, who is a cellist, but this was my first Salerno-Sonnenberg concert. Ever since I watched "Speaking in Strings," I've been following your work very closely; it really opened my eyes and made me realize that I don't need a degree in classical music to appreciate--more than that--FEEL it pulsing through me! You're the only classical musician who has been able to reach me at that level, and I thank you for it. I didn't wear makeup to the concert, in fact, because I had a feeling your playing would make me cry. It usually does.

    Question -- I couldn't hear the full name of your encore piece. Only that it was a Viennese waltz. Who was the composer? On the way home on the subway, I was wearing the "Free for All" hat they gave away at the concert, and two people stopped me, anxiously asking the same question. Thanks. You rock, Nadja! - Stephanie
    Dear Stephanie
    Well thank you for being at the concert in Town Hall. A very, very special event. Anne-Marie and I were thrilled to be a part of it and especially so since we kicked off this wonderful new series.

    The encore is called Midnight's from an opera called The Opera Ball written by Hueberger. But this beautiful arrangement is by Fritz Kreisler. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I just saw you this past Saturday evening in Milwaukee performing the Dear Nadja,
    I'm sure you've heard all this before, but I just have to tell you again. I had the wonderful privilege of seeing you perform at the Maine Center for the Arts on April 4th, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! My violin teacher first introduced me to your music, and ever since I've been hooked. Last night I had to keep telling myself "You are actually seeing her, this isn't a movie or a recording, this is her." You play like no other violinist I've ever seen. You take classical music and turn it inside out, stripping it bare and revealing the heart of the music. Seeing you perform was like jumping off a cliff and suddenly realizing I could fly - it was very powerful. I wish that every one of my violin students, in fact every musician out there could have the privilege to see you perform.....for indeed, you play music of the soul!

    Thank you, Nadja, thank you for the inspiration you have given me, and thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with the world! God bless you. - Emily Ingraham

    P.S. As I am a fourteen-year-old violin teacher, I wondered if you would have any words of advice for me so that I may be a better teacher? I would be thrilled with anything you have to say!
    Dear Emily
    Thank you very much for your letter. It's hard to believe it was written by a 14 year old in fact. And thanks for coming to the concert in Maine. Hard to believe it's still snowing up there...well maybe not. Advice on teaching? The best thing I can say is always try to teach your students to teach themselves. To really listen, so as to identify what the actual problem is, and always, instill a belief that making music is a joyous thing...not a chore. Teaching is a huge, noble endeavor. Kind of like being a mother. Good luck and thanks for writing in, - NSS

    I just saw you this past Saturday evening in Milwaukee performing the Mendelssohn. You were great! Such talent! You played an encore but I couldn't hear the name of it, could you share with me what it was? Also, I was just curious what you do during the day when you are traveling? Do you do any sightseeing, take it easy, or are you busy with rehearsals? Thanks for having this web site and giving us the opportunity to write in with questions. I think it's great that you are accessible to your fans.

    PS - Are you performing at Ravinia this summer?
    Dear mystery person
    First, thanks for coming to the concert in Milwaukee and glad you liked it. Travel days are usually busy with other things as rehearsals, meetings, and interviews. That is if I get into the city on time. Well basically there is very little or no time for sightseeing. That is something I do on vacation...and there's very little time for that too!!

    The encore I played was by Gershwin...from his opera Porgy and Bess called "Bess you is my woman now."

    And yes I will be at Ravinia this summer. Opening the festival in fact sometime in june. Playing the Brahms Double concerto with the wonderful Lynn Harrell. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Grrrl, you were some kinda wonderful in San Antonio yesterday! And those Assad brothers are pretty amazing, too - many thanks to all of you for a lovely concert, despite the heat (we like our winters that way down here:) Anyway, you mentioned that you'd been trying to get Sergio and Odair to record some Bach with you - any chance that might really happen? I'd jump on that like white on rice, especially if Sergio arranged it as beautifully as yesterday's sonata. Thanks again for bringing your joyful sound and grand spirit to the Alamo City. Your sincere fan, Peggi
    Dear Peggi
    Thanks for coming to the concert in San Antonio. Wish I could have stayed a little longer because I like your weather too. I will work on those Assad boys to record a little Bach with me, don't worry. I am so glad you liked it. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja-
    I just looked at your schedule and noticed that you are not coming to Portland this season at all. This is Jimmy DePreist's last season conducting the Oregon Symphony, and I was hoping to see you guys collaborate one more time before he hangs it up. However... the new conductor appointed to succeed DePreist is a great conductor, named Carlos Kalmar. You are much loved, but especially so in Portland. And hopefully you love Portland as much as you do the Yankees (or at least a tenth as much?) Awhile ago I spoke to the Oregon Symphony oboist, Fred Korman, and he said that next time you appeared with them, you wanted to do the Barber. That would be splendid. Anyhow, I hope you and the new conductor will forge the same great relationship that you and DePreist have always had. I remember seeing your first appearance in Portland when I was ten years old, back in 1987. Best always, Andy

    Dear Andy
    I am sorry too that I won't be performing in Oregon for Jimmy's last season. And I thank you for your good wishes for my future in Portland with the new music director too. Jimmy is one of a kind....I think you all won't know how much you miss him for many years. He is impossible to replace. My only consolation is that I do indeed get to work with him and see him in other cities so at least I have that. Thank you for your thoughts and for writing in, - NSS

    I was flipping through the channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon and happened upon your documentary on Sundance. Three days and two trips to Tower Records later (I scooped up the accompanying CD that day and your Brahms & Bruch CD on Sunday), it still consumes me. It was truly like an awakening for me. To see and hear you play with such fierce honesty, no matter how painful that honesty could be at times, it was just remarkable; it swept me away. It's almost like it reminded me to breathe. Do you know what I mean? It's like all of us, particularly those of us, it seems, who live in New York, just get so caught up in the rigors of daily life, of walking to and from the subway, to and from work, to Fairway, fighting the crowds and the traffic and all of it every step of the way, that we just forget what it means to live---to stand back once in a while and breathe. To FEEL. When I saw you perform, with your feelings just out there, raw and vulnerable, it was almost like moving from black and white to color.

    What you said about how feeling all the time is both a gift and a curse, it's so true. Many of us can relate to that, and I think sometimes a defense mechanism is to just turn off those feelings and focus on the tasks at hand, whatever they may be. Buying groceries or surfing channels, whatever. Sometimes we need to be kicked in the pants to be reminded to feel again. Through your music, you help people do just that.

    Thank you for allowing that documentary to happen. It moved me in so many ways. I can't wait to see you perform at the Met in February. --Stephanie
    Dear Stephanie
    Thank you for your letter. I agree with everything you said. And yes, I think we New Yorkers might just be affected a little more by this just because the pace of that city is so intense and unrelenting. But I wouldn't have it any other way....especially since we do have Fairway to go to for a reality check. Thank god for Fairway. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja,
    There are three heroes I have: Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Joan of Arc and Winston Churchill. In September when I heard you were coming to Tulsa to play the Mendelssohn I purchased tickets for some of my violin students and friends in the 4th row back from the front-we were so excited that you were coming to Tulsa! Many of my friends got tickets for their students also, we were going to get to come to the Sat AM rehearsal if it was alright with you. Now I am afraid the Tulsa Philharmonic is in financial trouble and am not sure if we will get to see you. This would be one of the high points of our entire life.

    I have the book, "Nadja , On My Way" and we took the picture out of that , blew it up and it's in my daughter's Suzuki violin studio. Between us we teach about 100 students. We think you are just awesome. I like the way you draw out the Meditation from Thais. I cannot imagine that you fingered the Barber for 3 fingers---wow---Looks like you're really busy with the St Paul Chamber Orch. right now and getting ready for the Assad Tour, I have one of your recordings with them and enjoy it immensely, so if you don't have time to answer this, I understand. Just want you to know there are about 102 violin players in this area that love you - Jody Naifeh and daughter, Karen
    Dear Jody and daughter Karen
    Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill.....and me???? Okay well I appreciate that you have a good sense of humor...thanks. I have received quite a few letters concerning the Tulsa concert. I just want to say to you and everyone else that wrote in about this that I have every intention of being there and performing for you. I just got word from my management that because of financial reasons, the orchestra might have to cancel. This makes me so sad as it's always the arts organizations that suffer financially. Can you imagine Bush saying we can't bomb Iraq because we can't afford it? Or no Super Bowl this's a little tight. Let's just keep our fingers crossed. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Dear Nadja:
    You are truly a wonderful artist. I recently watched a video made about you and have been in awe ever since. I have a 5yr old son who is learning to play the violin. He loves to listen to pieces by Paganini, Max Bruch etc. but is so discouraged because he doesn't sound like that. He also still has lots of problems with holding the violin (mainly trying to hold with the left hand instead of the chin/shoulder) How long did it take you as a child to get a very good hold on the violin without gripping with the left thumb? I have a feeling you probably didn't have any problems because you are so talented but could you tell me something that maybe I could pass on to him to encourage him or maybe a technique you use. He thinks everyone p! lays like you or Sarah Chang at the age or 7 !!! Anyway, he would love to know that we got a response from Nadja. Will you be playing in the New York area in early 2003 we would love to take my son to see you. I hpe you come to the Tilles Center in Long Island sometime soon. I hope you can respond to this email. Thanks - Simone

    Hi Simone
    Well to answer your question about your son holding the violin with his chin as opposed to his left hand...not only are you right but this is a must for any violinist because this allows the left hand freedom to move all around that fingerboard. When I was young I developed many bad habits so I am pretty good at locating and fixing problems. Believe me, playing the violin did not come naturally to me. Here's a suggstion for him. Tell him you'll give him 50 cents for every ten minutes he holds that violin under his chin without using his hands. This worked for me because I had absolutely no money!!! I got so good at it in fact that nobody could afford it anymore. Hope this helps.

    And yes I will be playing quite a bit this year in the New York area. Just check this site on the concerts page. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hi Nadja!
    Just a quick note to inform you that your Website has your performance on January 23, 2002 at the Peace Center listed as Greenville, NC. It is located in Greenville, SC. While I'm sure the good folks of NC wish that the Peace Center were indeed located in their town of Greenville, I would not want someone to miss your excellent performance due to an inadvertent misprint.

    I'm a middle-aged, 1st-year student of guitar, who is having a wonderful time taking lessons from a very talented guitarist and instructor, Roger Cope. He told me not to miss this concert, sit front and center, and plan to have an extraordinary evening! Can't wait! Sincerely, - Susan Riddle
    Hi Susan Well thank you for the correction. Ya know, I just post what my people send me and sometimes there are mistakes in the contracts and arrangements. So I thank you again for this and really hope you enjoy the concert in SOUTH Carolina. Thanks for writing in, - NSS

    Hello, Ms. Nadja.
    Your website schedule says that when you come to Boulder, you will be playing at the Dairy Center. My tickets (both nights) say you are in the usual home of the Boulder Phil, Macky Auditorium (on the CU campus). I can assure you that the Dairy Center is a wee bit small to fit you and the Boulder Phil into. Not quite so pleasant there either. I'll be at Macky, where I bet you'll be as well. Aspen sounds great too.

    Perhaps I'll catch you at altitude. Thank you for all your glorious music. It has saved me many a time. - Sue in Boulder
    Hi Sue
    Geez, looks like I've done it again. Well Sue all I can say is look at the above letter and thank you as well for the correction. Now I'm starting to think I need to fire someone! Thanks for writing in, NSS

    Dear Ms Sonnenberg,
    My boyfriend asked Santa to bring him your DVD. He got his wish and we watched it the same day. WOW!!!

    I have to admit that I've never heard about you before (shame on me!! Where I was living till now?) but you just acquired a new a fan. You're simply amazing.

    I have to say that it was not only your music but your honesty and candor you have shown in this movie talking about your life's ups and downs that impressed me so much.

    I came to this country 6 years ago because of my love for a man who was my husband then. He left me shortly after we came here and my world just crumbled. I was, all of the sudden, left in a strange country, with no job, no money, no friends, no place to live. All I had was broken heart and a cancer. I, too, tried to take my life. Twice, for that matter...

    I'm glad now that I didn't succeed. I wouldn't be able to discover your music. Life got much better for me. I became rather successful makeup artist, found another man (and much better one) and I live and enjoy it.

    Dear Nadja, I know that talent such is yours can be sometimes a big burden, but you are so amazing and so strong and gifted. I thank you very much for being such an inspiration to me. I hope to see your concert in Clearwater (I live in Palm Beach, FL) and I cannot wait. Have a very successful and happy 2003 and may all the blessings be with you. - Merit
    Dear Merit
    I hope Santa was nicer to your boyfriend than just the DVD!!!! I am very glad you enjoyed it so much and always feel wonderful when people tell me that movie has helped them in some small way. Furthermore I congratulate you on your strength and success as well. Thanks for writing in, NSS

    Dear Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg
    I've been meaning to contact you for many years now. I was your health and phys. ed teacher when you were at Penn Center Academy of the Central Branch YMCA of Philadelphia, many, many, many years ago. I only taught you for one year, but remember you energy, competitiveness and drive. You have done quite well in spite of that class.

    I left Penn Center Academy in 1978, went to seminary and am a Baptist minister. I served in the Olney section of Philadelphia for 21 years. I was called to pastor a church in Chester County this past June. I am married and have two daughters. One is a junior vocal performance major at Gordon College in Boston, the other is a freshman at Messiah College, majoring in sports medicine. She has studied violin for the past 13 years and is quite accomplished.

    As I was surfing the net this evening and came across your web site, I thought I'd drop you a line to wish you a Happy New Year and to say that even at a young age, you left quite an impression on a phys. ed teacher. At that time, I was not even aware of your talent. It was only years later that I saw you on tv and was blown away. You've done well. May God continue to bless you as you use your talent. - Rev. Paul Chaya
    Dear Paul
    Let me just start by saying that I remember you VERY well. And so does my mother.

    Okay, let me explain. I was extremely into running back then and aside from the normal gym class duties, you were taking extra time to coach me in this endeavor. You said I had potential so I worked very hard. Very hard. I got up earlier than usual to run on my street for an hour before practicing my violin an hour before actually heading on to school everyday at 8:00. Well the practicing started to suffer and my mother approached me and said I had to make a decision. Running or the violin. She said she would support any decision I made (I found out later it was just a ploy) and so I spent all night thinking about this. In the morning I came to the very painful decision (at the time) to continue with the violin. I guess everything turned out pretty well and I made the right decision but I just wanted you to know the impact you had on me. And also, if I had chosen running, I think you would have gotten a visit from my mother.

    I am thrilled to hear how your life has turned out and I wish you and your family health and happiness. It's wonderful to hear from you coach Paul. Thanks for writing in, NSS

    gotta tell ya, Nadja.
    I've hated myself ever since you did that "ever so generous" stageside interview with the little kiddies in Raleigh NC. You had just returned to the concert stage after having hurt your pinky in a kitchen accident. I had watched you play and I stood up or raised my hand and asked you which finger had you hurt. When you said it was your pinky, I yelled back, "I thought so!!!" How stupid and inconsiderate of me. Man! I really really have hated myself for that comment. You see, I had been sitting all the way in the back balcony ....a hundred miles away with binoculars glued to you throughout the entire concert. I studied, I never took my eyes of of your playing. You were fabulous. Finally, being the amateur fiddler I am, I concluded it might have been your left pinky. I think I noticed you glissed with the three instead of the four an awful lot... shot me a look (which I truely deserved)...but what a gem you were -- you could have smashed me to the floor with some sort of come back, but you just let it slide. May I say after all these years, I'm really really sorry. Maybe now I can get some sleep and not toss and turn. I think about my stupidity all the time. Thank you for having this email address. Hope you get this one. - Leigh, violin teacher and heartless no life.
    Dear Leigh
    I hope you are exagerating because I cannot believe anyone would feel guilty after all this time for something so silly. I have received worse believe me...(mostly from critics) and so I hereby absolve you of any remorse you may be still be feeling and furthermore I beg you to get a good nights sleep. Thanks for writing in, NSS

    Dear Ms Salerno-Sonnenberg,
    Hope that your current tour is going smoothly for you and not too exhausting. Know you work very, very hard and as usual, it doesn't look like an easy schedule.

    Today I called and got a ticket to your January 25th performance with the Assads to hear the Triple Concerto for 2 Guitars and Violin as listed on your present concert schedule at the 92nd Street Y in NYC and also tickets to your performance on February 15th at the Metropolitan Museum. Both were almost sold out so I had to settle for seats at the back..ugh!! See how popular u are? And it is only

    After ordering the ticket to your January performance, I pulled up the 92nd Street Y website and found that the program listing for your performance that night never makes mention of the Assad Triple Concerto. I never wish to miss any performance of yours that is accessible to me so I would certainly not cancel out. But I would be interested in knowing if I am going to have the opportunity to hear this particular piece on this date. Because it is something I have never before had a chance to hear you do, I was especially looking forward to it. Would appreciate whatever information u could give me on this.

    Know that you are probably very busy right now and may not have an opportunity to respond to this before the actual performance takes place. So if you don't have the time to answer I will understand. Just was a little disappointed and didn't understand the discrepancy.

    In the meantime, I am looking forward to this concert and know I will love it no matter what is on the program. Please "be safe" for the remainder of your season and, as always, play your beautiful little heart out!!....My Best, Dorothy
    Dear Dorothy
    Actually there is no discrepancy. I am playing the 92nd st. Y on january 25th with the Assads, but we were never playing the Triple Concerto at this date. This date is part of our solo tour and doesn't involve an orchestra. We are playing the concerto this season but not at this date. Our concert on the 25th will be wonderful nonetheless because we have some new repertoire we are excited about plus which we will be onstage for a full 2 hours instead of just a half you will really get your moneys worth! Hope to see you there and thanks for writing in, NSS

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