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Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Anne-Marie McDermott
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 04/22/2010 at Symphony Space.



Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)

Sonata in E major

I. Adagio ma non tanto

II. Allegro

III. Siciliano

IV. Allegro assai


Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)

Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor

I. Allegro vivo

II. Intermède: Fantasque et léger

III. Finale: Très animé


César Franck (1822 – 1890)

Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major

I. Allegretto ben moderato

II. Allegro

III. Recitativo – Fantasia: Ben moderato

IV. Allegretto poco mosso



Richard Heuberger & Fritz Kreisler

Midnight Bells


George & Ira Gershwin

"It Ain't Necessarily So" from the opera Porgy and Bess

+ About the Artists

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, an internationally-acclaimed soloist and chamber musician best known for her exhilarating performances and passionate interpretations, joined the New Century Chamber Orchestra in January 2008 as Music Director. Nadja's first three seasons were hailed as a tremendous success by audiences and critics alike - "a marriage that works," in her words, and renewing enthusiasm for "one of the most burnished and exciting ensembles in the Bay Area," according to Rich Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News.

A powerful and innovative presence on the recording scene, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg continues to enrich the collection of her record label, NSS Music, which she started in 2005. The label's roster of artists includes Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, horn player John Cerminaro, pianist/composer Clarice Assad, conductor Marin Alsop, the American String Quartet, the Colorado Symphony, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, and New Century Chamber Orchestra. Together, the first CD with New Century, features Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. The second CD, a live recording featuring Strauss's Metamorphosen, Barber's Adagio for Strings and Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, has been praised as "brilliant" (Oregon Music News), and advised, "For those who like orchestral music for strings that takes nothing less than revelation as its goal, this is a must-have."

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's professional career began in 1981 when she won the Walter W. Naumburg International Violin Competition. In 1983 she was recognized with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and in 1999, she was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. Nadja 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. For more information on Nadja, please visit and

For over 25 years pianist Anne-Marie McDermott has played concertos, recitals and chamber music throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She has performed with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Houston Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra. She has recorded the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas, Bach English Suites and Partitas (Gramophone Magazine's Editor's Choice), and most recently, Gershwin's complete works for piano and orchestra with the Dallas Symphony and Justin Brown. A testimony to her stature and curatorial imagination, she was made Artistic Director of the Vail Music Festival, the Ocean Reef Chamber Music Festival, and The Avila Chamber Music Celebration in Curacao. Most recently, she was appointed Curator for Chamber Music at the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.

Anne-Marie McDermott
was named an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1995. She continues a long standing collaboration with the highly acclaimed violinist, Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg and is a member of the renowned piano quartet, Opus One, and the McDermott Trio. A winner of the Young Concert Artists auditions and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Ms. McDermott studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Dalmo Carra, Constance Keene and John Browning.

+ About the Music

Bach: Sonata in E major

This Sonata is the last of the three Bach wrote for flute and basso continuo: the flute line is fully written out, but there is only a single bass line for the keyboard player, whose responsibility it becomes to flesh out the harmony of the accompaniment, usually with the support of a sustaining instrument on the bass line. The brief Sonata is in four movements, all but the first of which are in binary form. The opening Allegro ma non tanto is the shortest movement in the Sonata (only 20 measures long), and its ornate melodic lines function as a sort of prelude to the three movements that follow. The second movement skips easily along its 2/4 meter, while the third moves into the relative minor, C-sharp minor. This movement is a Siciliano, an old dance form in rocking rhythms that originally came - as its name suggests - from Sicily. Bach specified that the finale should be Allegro assai (“Very fast”), and this sparkling music is full of trills and rapid passagework.

—Eric Bromberger


Debussy: Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor

Debussy’s Violin Sonata presents a superb balance of sweetness, fire, humor, and nostalgia. It is a work imbued with deep melancholy that also embodies other characteristic traits that make Debussy’s work distinguishable from others: a sense of fantasy, freedom, and affective depth. Written at the very end of the composer’s life, the Sonata is one of the finest examples of Debussy’s compositional and artistic dexterity. At the time of this composition, Debussy was already ill with terminal cancer. He had continued to write despite his failing health, partly for financial reasons. It was in 1915 that he began a project of writing six sonatas for various instrumentations; the Violin Sonata was the third in the set, and the last work he completed before his death.


Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major

The Violin Sonata is Franck’s best-known work, and rightly so: It is a superb synthesis of Franck’s own uniquely rich harmonic language and thematic cyclicism and the Viennese Classical tradition that he came to hold so dear in the later stages of his career. The Sonata was composed as a wedding present for the famous Belgian violinist, Eugene Ysaÿe, who performed it at his matrimonial celebrations on September 26, 1886. Franck’s prowess as a keyboard virtuoso and master of improvisation, his command of classical forms, and his gift for harmonic innovation are evident in this sunny, immensely satisfying work. As with his other mature compositions, he used what is known as cyclic form–interlocking movements by carrying themes, or transformations of themes, from one movement to another. The overall impression is that of a spontaneous unfolding of glorious melodies richly harmonized, tender and assertive in turn.

—Linda Mack

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