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World-renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg to lead Loyola's first ever resident artist program

Loyola press release - September 23, 2015

New Initiative Signifies Shift for School of Music and University Chamber Orchestra.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg will join Loyola University New Orleans this year to lead the School of Music’s new Resident Artist Program, which marks a distinctive change for the Loyola Chamber Orchestra and the school’s string pedagogy.

During her residency, Salerno-Sonnenberg will maintain a regular presence on Loyola’s campus while she transforms the university’s chamber orchestra into a conductor-less ensemble.

“The development of a conductor-less ensemble at the university level will empower our musicians, demand a higher level of preparedness and give our students an increased degree of authority in their ensemble playing,” said Anthony Decuir, dean of the College of Music and Fine Arts. “This residency will also send a powerful message to prospective students and to the larger community about the special place artists occupy at Loyola and in New Orleans.”

Highly regarded as one of today’s leading violinists, Salerno-Sonnenberg is known for her compelling and passionate performances, daring interpretations and dedication to her craft. She will share those talents in master classes for students and during four performances at Loyola, three with the Loyola Chamber Orchestra and one held with Grammy Award-winning violinist Mark O’Connor and the Loyola Symphony Orchestra. Concerts are scheduled at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4 and at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, and at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, 2016 in Roussel Hall. Tickets may be purchased online at montage.loyno.edu or by calling the box office at (504) 865-2074.

Upon finishing her performances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Salerno-Sonnenberg began exploring ways to have a meaningful impact on the city and its musical culture. Discussions with Loyola began in December 2014, and the roots of a warm collaboration with the College of Music and Fine Arts developed quickly.

“We expect this program to attract students and raise our level of performance and professionalism,” Decuir said. “Professional artists like Nadja are successful business people. Having the presence of this resident artist aligns with our devotion to our string program, with the values of our Music Industry Studies program, and with what we perceive as the future of the arts – arts entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency.”

Working with Loyola music professors Jean Montes and Amy Thiaville, Salerno-Sonnenberg will prepare and train the conductor-less ensemble. In addition to two public performances, her partnership with Loyola will engage other cultural institutions and schools in the city, as well as offer activities that are open to the public.

“Our long-term plan for this Resident Artist engagement reflects a deep commitment to Loyola’s music program and will have a meaningful impact on all of our students, faculty and the arts community in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana,” Decuir said.

An American citizen, Salerno-Sonnenberg was born in Rome and emigrated to the United States at the age of eight to study at The Curtis Institute of Music. She later studied with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School.
Her career began in 1981 when she became the youngest-ever prize winner of the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition. Two years later, she was recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1988, was Ovations Debut Recording Artist of the Year. In 1999, Salerno-Sonnenberg was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and excellence in music.” In May of that year, she received an honorary Master of Musical Arts from the New Mexico State University, the first honorary degree ever awarded by the university.

In 2008, Salerno-Sonnenberg became the music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, one of a handful of conductor-less ensembles in the world, where she won praise for her vision and innovative guidance.

For more information, contact Patricia M. Murret, Associate Director of Public Affairs, at pmurret@loyno.edu or
publaff@loyno.edu, (504) 861-5448.

Loyola University New Orleans is a Catholic, Jesuit university located in the heart of the picturesque Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans. For more than 100 years, Loyola has helped shape the lives of its students, as well as the history of the city and the world, through educating men and women in the Jesuit traditions of academic excellence and service to others. Loyola’s more than 40,000 graduates serve as catalysts for change in their communities as they exemplify the comprehensive, values-laden education received from Loyola.