Through much of the 80s and early 90s Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg rode the novelty of her punk posturing and aggressive, exhibitionist style--traits female violinists weren't supposed to display. But lately she's toned down her act and added some emotional subtlety, though her playing still has a brawny feel--when she digs into a piece she still does so with wholehearted abandon. She wisely stays away from the pre-Beethoven masters, but her passionate approach suits the romantic repertoire, bringing out its sensuousness and individualism. She has a particular affinity for Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Paganini, Saint-Sa'ns, and Ravel. In her appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this week she'll be the soloist in Saint-Sa'ns's suave showpiece Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso and in Ravel's ingenious take on Gypsy tunes, Tzigane--both works with enough fast and furious moments for her to shine. The conductor is Ravinia's music director Christoph Eschenbach, who can be just as flamboyant as she is. Rounding out the bill are Berlioz's overture to Benvenuto Cellini and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. Friday, 1:30 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000. TED SHEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Christine Steiner.