Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg to step down as Music Director of New Century Chamber Orchestra after 2016-17 Season

January 20, 2016, 5:43 PM · The New Century Chamber Orchestra announced Tuesday that Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will step down from her role as Music Director following the 25th anniversary season in 2016-2017.

Appointed in September 2008, Salerno-Sonnenberg led the San Francisco-based New Century through eight seasons. Through her leadership, the orchestra founded a "Featured Composer" program, commissioning a total of eight new works for string orchestra; embarked on three national tours; made three live recordings on Nadja’s own NSS music label; and partnered with arts organizations such as the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Girls Chorus and Chanticleer.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.

“It is with a heavy heart that I leave a place so dear to me, but I do so knowing New Century will welcome a new leader from a position of strength and acclaim,” Salerno-Sonnenberg said in a press release. “From the very first moment I interacted with the orchestra, the chemistry was palpable and although there were challenges ahead, we pressed forward and began a growth process that never wavered. Without a single doubt in my mind, I feel assured of a bright future for this orchestra.”

The announcement follows Salerno-Sonnenberg's recent appointment as the leader of the newly formed Resident Artist Program at Loyola University’s School of Music in New Orleans.

Salerno-Sonnenberg, 55, will continue as Music Director through 2016-2017 as New Century searches for a new music director.

“The impact of Nadja’s tenure as Music Director is incalculable and her achievements are many,” said President of the Board of Directors Mark Salkind. “After nearly a decade of extraordinary leadership, New Century has risen to a new height of artistic excellence and acclaim. Thanks to her hard work and dedication, we are confident that our search for a successor will attract an illustrious pool of candidates.”

Well known as a concert violinist, Salerno-Sonnenberg’s career began when she won the 1981 Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition which she followed up two years later with an Avery Fisher Career Grant and later in 1999 the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. Nadja has released more than 20 recordings on EMI and Nonesuch labels. Recordings and DVDs with New Century include From a to Z (2014), On Our Way (2012), Live: Barber, Strauss, Mahler (2010), and Together (2009).

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The New Century Chamber Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, III. Elegie, with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg leading from the concertmaster's chair:

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