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Internationally Acclaimed Violinist, Grammy Award-Winning Fiddler Team Up with Loyola Symphony Orchestra for Jan. 30 Concert

Loyola press release - January 5, 2016

Two of the nation’s best violinists join the stage this month at Loyola University New Orleans, as the sensational violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and acclaimed fiddler Mark O’Connor team up with the Loyola Symphony Orchestra for a one-of-a-kind concert described as “a musical gumbo.” Fusing classical and American folk music, Salerno-Sonnenberg and O’Connor will perform under the direction of Loyola conductor Jean Montes. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall at Loyola, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Tickets may be purchased online at http://cmfa.loyno.edu/montage or through the Loyola College of Music and Fine Arts at 504-865-2074 or tickets@loyno.edu.

Selections will include original compositions by O’Connor including Overture to Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Double Violin Concerto, the latter of which he wrote for Salerno-Sonnenberg. O’Connor will also perform selections from his Improvised Violin Concerto.

The concert will conclude with a Dixieland-inspired set “bringing the experience full circle in celebration of the great American musical landscape found here in New Orleans, the birthplace of America’s very own music: jazz,” Montes said.

Salerno-Sonnenberg, who in September began a two-year experience as Loyola’s Resident Artist in Music, is one of today’s leading violinists and an internationally acclaimed soloist and chamber musician. She has made live television appearances on shows from Sesame Street to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and performed on stages around the world.

Her professional career began in 1981 when she won the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition. In 1983, Salerno-Sonnenberg was recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1988 she was named Ovations Debut Recording Artist of the Year. In 1999, Salerno-Sonnenberg received the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and excellence in music.”

Today, in addition to her work at Loyola, Salerno-Sonnenberg maintains a busy performance schedule as a recitalist, orchestral soloist and artist director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra.

O’Connor began his creative journey at the feet of a pair of musical giants: Benny Thomasson, folk fiddler and innovator known for launching the modern era of American fiddling, and French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, considered one of the greatest improvisers in the history of the violin.

Working with classical violin icons Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Yehudi Menhuin and Pinchas Zukerman, O’Connor studied and absorbed knowledge and influence from a multitude of musical styles and genres. Through a body of work that includes 45 feature albums comprised primarily of his own compositions, O’Connor has melded and shaped these influences into a new American Classical music ― and developed a vision of an entirely American school of string playing.

The Los Angeles Times has described O’Connor “one of the most talented and imaginative artists working in music―any music―today.”

“The pairing of these two unique musicians with Loyola’s Symphony Orchestra is an exceptional opportunity for concert-goers who follow a wide range of music,” said Anthony Decuir, dean of Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts. “It’s also a profound learning experience for our students.”