Nadja Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

my thoughts

    This page is...I've decided, where I get to spew and share my opinion. I'll change it as often as my schedule allows and sometimes maybe, even sooner depending on how I am feeling about "stuff". I'll tell you now that it will rarely be about music or playing the violin except for the times when it is. I invite you to spew and share as well. For an archive of my previous opinions, click here. Email

    THIS AND THAT.......

    More random thoughts from my mind. Why canŐt I just pick a subject and write an essay about it? Well, maybe next time.


    In speaking with a wonderful friend recently (who by the way knows a thing or two about finances) it struck me powerfully that what she said was true. Everyone is concerned about the relief effort over there.

    Especially the CELEBRITIES. Isn't it something how these celebs come out of the woodwork when something like this happens. I mean something so massive and global that it absolutely demands world wide press?

    So and so donated a million and so donated a hundred thousand and so is organizing a charity concert, etc...and we get to read all about it in People Magazine.

    Please don't misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's lovely. But the truth of the matter is it is far easier for a celebrity to donate a million dollars than it is for a person of modest income to donate a hundred dollars. It really is.

    And even though it's nice that they do this sort of thing, there is a danger involved here according to my smart friend.

    When we read that so and so donated this amount, we feel our much smaller donation is worthless. We couldn't possibly make a difference, and even if we could, no one will know about it. So nine out of ten times, we do nothing. These rockers and movie stars are just too wonderful....they're perfect. I guarantee folks, they wouldn't be doing a thing if there was no press attached.

    So in the words of my wise friend, "it is far better that the majority of us (modest and imperfect as we are) donate and do what we can, than one celeb making a big donation and grabbing all the headlines in the process. Remember, there are more of us."


    I just got back from England.....our closest ally in this debaucle and for that matter everything political. You have to remember that the Brits like us--unlike the rest of the world right now. They use the term Yanks affectionately--and honestly, as an American, it is a relief to be anywhere other than the States and not be yelled at. So anyway I'm sitting in a taxi in Liverpool, and the driver starts talking. "So you're a classical musician eh? That's lovely darlin. Bush doesn't like classical music very much does he?"

    "No, he doesn't."

    "Didn't he just have that inauguration? Blimey, I read that it cost a hellish amount of money. Who paid for all that little miss?"

    "We did."

    "Well, the big day is approaching in Iraq: the vote! Very exciting isn't it? Doesn't seem to be going over so well with the locals though, huh?"

    "No it doesn't."

    "Bit of a mish mash over there, wouldn't you say?"

    "Yes, bit of a mish mash."

    "You know what gets me? We were all under the impression that you hated Bush, and that when it came time for you to do something about it, blimey you would take that opportunity and run with it!! Why did you re-elect him?"

    I just stared out the window at this point.

    "Oh little lady, I didn't mean to upset you. You just go play your concert and play real pretty and remember, we love the Yanks!!!"


    I had a birthday recently. Another one. Anyway, one of the gifts I got was a spankin brand new Ipod. It's even got my name engraved on it! Please understand that I got my first Walkman 10 years after everyone else had one--and boy was I thrilled with that! I used it ad nauseum for about a week and then put it in a drawer somewhere. Too cumbersome. I'm either too lazy about these technological things, or I have one foot firmly planted in the past. Probably both. For this reason I am eternally grateful for the "younger" people in my life who at times force me to understand and accept that technology is a good thing.

    Okay, so it's shiny and really small and can hold up to a million hours of music!!! Incredible, I think And so after some instruction, I start loading this symphony and that song and making playlists galore and boy am I having fun!! I almost miss my ride to the airport I'm so busy storing stuff in my little magic, white box. As soon as I get into the car I select something, sit back and enjoy the music. I had no idea at all that the driver was speaking to me. When he was heading for the George Washington Bridge instead of the Lincoln Tunnel, I pulled the earplugs out and yelled "where are you going?" He said "I just asked you if it was okay to take the bridge?" "Oh. Sorry."

    So now I'm at the airport checking in. There's a bit of a line, but I don't care because I'm listening to my super cool jazz playlist, swayin and groovin--excellent stuff. A half hour later I realized I was in the wrong line. That's okay though, I had plenty of time, and I was really enjoying the jazz. After I check in finally, I'm kind of wandering through the terminal not really noticing or caring about anything because now I've got the Verdi Requiem blasting in my head. Passing store after store (don't ask me which stores; I was too distracted to notice) and sort of seeing lots of other people around me, I feel a shove on my back.

    Again, I tear the earplugs out, and in a state of complete shock I say, "What???"

    One of those carts that drives people from gate to gate is trying to pass me. Naturally I had no idea of this. How could I when an entire orchestra and choir are playing fortissimo. Another half hour went by before I noticed I had no idea where I was. So at that point I decided I better select something not so intense so that I could function somewhat logically. Stevie Wonder is singing My Cherie Amour, and I am off to find my gate--which naturally I couldn't do. Got carried away with the song, the part where there's a key change--love that.

    It occurs to me that if I am going to make this flight, I better turn my new, magic, white box off for a while. Then I noticed how sore my ears were. Like, they really hurt! Especially when you pull the earplugs out. Which I was doing a lot of on the flight: every time the flight attendant came by to ask what my dinner selection was, what I wanted to drink, did I want to see the movie, did I have the proper documentation (international flight), did I want a pillow, did I want a blanket, could I please lower my window shade, etc...

    I must have pulled those earplugs out at least 15 times!! Each time it hurt, and naturally I am getting pissed off at this lady. I realize then that this woman is simply doing her job--and well I might add--and this sort of thing never pissed me off before. So why now??

    And it came to me: because I was isolated from the rest of the world. Isolated from reality. I didn't like that. It's not my nature to turn off from the world around me.

    Seeing only now that I have written WAY too much about my new Ipod, I will just say this: I really love my new Ipod--I really do. I just hope it doesn't end up in a drawer somewhere.


    We have lost a great one, a great man. In so many ways he was incomparable. Moving the television world from New York to Los Angeles, almost single handedly creating taped programming, and of course, inventing late night TV. Everyone that followed is just trying to be Johnny, and they'll be the first to admit it.

    I was on his show seven times, Lucky me.

    I adored him. Being on his show was so nerve wracking for me. I'll tell you why. Because I was a classical violinist, that's why. With all the great celebrities marching through those huge blue doors, why would anyone want to see me? And why would a host who could get ANYONE want me on the show? I was young--having won Naumburg Competition recently--I was making a name for myself.

    But still I was a violinist! The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson was no place for a violinist. Geez, everybody knows that. Bring on the movie stars and the athletes and all those great animals he loved; but who would want to bring onto that stage a skinny classical violinist?

    He did.

    And after I played, he sat and talked with me--sometimes for so long he had to bump the next guest. I mean really people, who would bump a movie star to talk to a fiddler?

    He did.

    I was never nervous when I sat in that chair. Just the playing part made me nervous. I wasn't nervous in that chair because he wouldn't allow it. He liked me. I think he had a real respect for someone who was young and commited their life to an art. He liked me, and I knew it. Each time I was on we got more and more personal--and therefore more and more funny. It was almost a competition: who'd get the last laugh.

    He gave me quality time on air where millions and millions of people knew who I was, and more importantly he gave classical music the recognition it deserves.

    I have not done late night since he retired. Doubt that I ever will again. There are many wonderful things you will read about Johnny Carson these days. But I know what his secret was. Without a doubt he possessed this quality which has very little to do with where you are born or how much money you make or how powerful you are, and believe me, you can never attain unless you are born with it.

    He had class.


    © 2001-2005 Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg