Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg


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Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

For more than a decade violin wunderkind Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg has wowed audiences with an aggressive playing style that often takes liberties with a composer's intentions. Her nonpurist approach harks back to the age of flamboyant performers like Liszt who tended to put showmanship above all else. Onstage the Roman-born Salerno-Sonnenberg espouses a pouty punk-princess attitude that has won her a following among fellow Gen-Xers. Telegenic and satirically hip, she's a natural for MTV, an antidote to the cliche of the prim and proper female soloist. Yet Salerno-Sonnenberg, who was trained at the Curtis Institute and Juilliard and received a Naumburg prize in 1981, is maturing into an intelligent musician. She's never going to shake her flair for the dramatic, but she now knows when to tone it down--which means that her interpretations of, say, Beethoven can show a proper sense of vigor and respect for structural coherence. At this recital she tackles Beethoven's Sonata no. 2, Richard Strauss's Sonata in E-flat Major, Poulenc's Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Falla's 7 Spanish Popular Songs. Monday, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Christian Steiner.

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