Festival Presents Salerno-Sonnenberg, McDermott in Violin Piano Recital, April 1, 2016


Frequent Collaborators to Perform Beethoven, Faure, Brahms, Arvo Pärt in WWU PAC

Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel Honors Composer’s 80th Birthday

Performers to Give Free Lecture-Demonstration, 11 AM—Noon on Day of Concert


McDermott_Salerno-Sonnenberg_J. Henry FairFor immediate release: January 8, 2016. Bellingham, WA—The Bellingham Festival of Music will present violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott in a high intensity recital, April 1, 2016 at 7:30 PM in Western Washington University’s Performing Arts Center.

In addition to sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, and Faure, the frequent collaborators will play Arvo Pärt’s haunting Spiegel im Spiegel, in honor of the composer’s 80th birthday. The reclusive Estonian-born composer, often described as a “holy minimalist” whose contemplative music has been employed in numerous film scores and ballets, is being celebrated worldwide during the 2015-16 season.

The two performers will also present a lecture-demonstration focusing on an aspect of their program at 11 AM—12 noon on the day of the concert. The free event in Room 16 of the WWU Performing Arts Center is open to the public and students.

An annual spring event, the Festival recital presents celebrity artists in chamber music performances that serve as a prelude to the three-week summer orchestral series.

Tickets for the concert are $45, $35, $12 for students, and $25 for WWU staff and faculty.  They are available through Western Washington University Box Office, 360-650-6146 or online .

The complete program for the Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Anne-Marie McDermott concert follows:

BEETHOVEN   Sonata No.2 in A Major, Op. 12, No.2

BRAHMS         Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100

PÄRT              Spiegel im Spiegel

FAURE            Sonata in A Major, Op. 13

Composed in 1978, just prior to Pärt’s departure from Estonia, Spiegel im Spiegel is one of the earliest works in the composer’s newly conceived style, which he calls tintinnabular, after the Latin word for “bell.”  A radically stripped down technique, the style is described by critic Alex Ross as “the interweaving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord.” The effect is ethereal, shimmering, meditative, producing what Ross calls “oases of repose in a technologically oversaturated culture.” Pärt, Ross has written, “has put his finger on something that is almost impossible to put into words—something to do with the power of music to obliterate the rigidities of space and time. One after the other, his chords silence the noise of the self, binding the mind to an eternal present.”

Violinist Salerno-Sonnenberg is renowned for her work on the concert stage, in the recording studio, and in her role as music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, which she joined in January 2008. Most recently, she added teaching to her portfolio, becoming Resident Artist this fall at Loyola University in New Orleans.

Pianist McDermott balances a versatile career as a soloist and collaborator. She performs over 100 concerts a year in a combination of solo recitals, concerti and chamber music with a vast and eclectic repertoire spanning Bach, Haydn, Prokofiev and Scriabin to works by today’s most influential composers. This season she premieres a concerto written for her by Poul Ruders. Charles Wuorinen’s last solo piano sonata, which she has recorded, was also written for her and premiered at New York’s Town Hall. McDermott serves as Artistic Director of the Bravo! Vail Music festival and Ocean Reef Music Festivals, as well as Curator for Chamber Music for the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.

As recitalists, the violinist and pianist have been praised by the New York Times as muscians who bring considerable energy and emotional rawness to the music at hand…” “…they listened to each other and were committed, expressive performers.”

See page below for complete biographies.

For more information: www.bellinghamfestival.org


Nestled between snow-capped mountains and island-studded bay, Bellingham, Washington’s spectacular natural beauty provides the ideal backdrop for the celebration of classical music. Since 1993, the Bellingham Festival of Music has enlivened the summer season with outstanding live orchestral performances and chamber music recitals for Northwest Washington audiences. Under the direction of co-founder and noted American conductor Michael Palmer, the festival orchestra is composed of some of the finest musicians in the United States and Canada, many of them principals in such illustrious orchestras as the New York Philharmonic and the Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta Symphonies. They are joined by eminent soloists who have included Garrick Ohlsson, Lynn Harrell, Arnaldo Cohen, Vadim Gluzman, Joshua Bell, Frederica von Stade, and Pepe Romero. In addition, the festival boasts a resident chamber ensemble, currently the Calidore String Quartet, which presents recitals as well as participating in community educational and engagement activities.

Of equal importance to its summer season are the Festival’s year-round outreach initiatives which extend the beauty of classical music to youngsters in the region. Among these programs are masterclasses, and both the Play it Forward Chamber Music Residency and Beethoven in the Schools project which bring music to K-12 classrooms. In 2014-15, BFM also helped kick start the return of the Fifth Grade Strings program in the public schools.

The Festival’s artistic excellence has been recognized widely throughout the country and its concerts and recordings have been broadcast nationally, first by NPR and most recently by American Public Media on its Performance Today show. Among these recordings are the three-CD set of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos featuring Garrick Ohlsson with Michael Palmer conducting the Festival Orchestra. These performances were recorded live at the Festival on the Natural Soundfields label in 2000.

The recipient of grants from several entities, the Festival received National Endowment for the Arts grants in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2015—a resounding endorsement of the quality of its performances and the contribution it makes to regional and national cultural life.



Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Violinist

“One of the few classical artists who must be experienced in person” –The Washington Post


Passion, excitement, and innovation are the hallmarks of internationally acclaimed soloist and chamber musician Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s artistry. Praised for her compelling performances, daring interpretations, and electric stage presence, she is one of today’s leading violinists, renowned for her work on the concert stage, in the recording studio, and highly respected for her vision and guidance as music director of the San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, which she has led since January 2008. With successful careers in both the solo and chamber music worlds, Nadja continues to enthrall audiences of all ages.

Dedicated to her craft, Nadja is committed to sharing her experience and knowledge. This season, in addition to performances with orchestras and recital concerts, Nadja will begin a multi­year engagement as “Resident Artist” with Loyola University New Orleans. She will also be working with string orchestras in specially designed “Guest Residencies” at several Universities throughout the country.

A powerful and creative presence on the recording scene, Nadja continues to add to the offerings of her own 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 the New Century Chamber Orchestra. In addition to her over twenty releases on the EMI and Nonesuch labels, Nadja has also made several recordings for NSS MUSIC (www.nssmusic.com), featuring both concerto and chamber pieces. The latest release, From A To Z (May 2014), is an all-commissions CD featuring violin concertos by Clarice Assad, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, all commissioned by New Century since Nadja joined the ensemble.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s exceptional artistry is paired with great musical intelligence which, along with her unique personality, have served her well in numerous environments – she has hosted the Backstage/Live from Lincoln Center program for PBS, appeared in the PBS/BBC series The Mind, and with Big Bird on Sesame Street. She was the subject of the 2000 Academy Award-nominated film, Speaking in Strings, an intensely personal documentary on her life, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released in theaters nationwide, and subsequently premiered on HBO’s Signatures channel in 1999. Included among her numerous television interviews and profiles are CBS’ 60 Minutes, 60 Minutes II, and Sunday Morning; CNN’s Newsstand; NBC’s National News and Newsstand; NBC’s National News and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; Bravo’s Arts & Minds; PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center, and The Charlie Rose Show. On the publishing front, Nadja: On My Way, her autobiography written for children discussing her experiences as a young musician building a career, was published by Crown Books in 1989. Nadja has appeared in numerous publications ranging from The Strad, Gramophone and Strings to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, among many.

Ms. 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 1988 was Ovations Debut Recording Artist of the Year. In 1999, Nadja was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and excellence in music.” In May of that same year, she was awarded an honorary Master of Musical Arts from the New Mexico State University, the first honorary degree the University has ever awarded. An American citizen, Ms. 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.


Anne-Marie McDermott, Pianist

For over 25 years Anne-Marie McDermott has played concertos, recitals and chamber music in hundreds of cities throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition to performing, she also serves as Artistic Director of the Bravo! Vail Music and Ocean Reef Music Festivals, as well as Curator for Chamber Music for the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego.

The breadth of Ms. McDermott’s repertoire reaches from Bach, Haydn and Beethoven to Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Scriabin, to works by today’s most influential composers. In the 2015/16 season she will premiere a concerto written for her by Poul Ruders. Charles Wuorinen’s last solo piano sonata, which she has recorded, was written for her and premiered at New York’s Town Hall. Ms. McDermott has recorded the complete Prokofiev Piano Sonatas, Bach’s English Suites and Partitas (Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Magazine), solo works by Chopin, and Gershwin’s Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra with the Dallas Symphony (also Editor’s Choice, Gramophone Magazine). In 2013, she released a disc of Mozart Concerti with the Calder Quartet (“exceptional on every count.”—Gramophone). Most recently she recorded five Haydn piano sonatas and two Haydn Concertos with the Odense Philharmonic in Denmark including two cadenzas written by Charles Wuorinen.

In summer 2014, Ms. McDermott performed Mozart Concerto, K. 595 with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Donald Runnicles, the Bach D minor concerto with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with the New York City-based Le Train Bleu. In the 14/15 season she looks forward to return engagements with the Vancouver and Dallas Symphonies. In 2012 Ms. McDermott performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Bramwell Tovey. She also did a west coast tour with award-winning violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra; the complete Beethoven piano trios with Ida Kavafian and Peter Wiley; and the complete Beethoven cello sonatas with Lynn Harrell. Other recent international highlights include a performance of Schumann’s Piano Concerto with the Sao Paulo Symphony at the Cartagena Festival and an all-Haydn recital tour of China. Ms. McDermott gave special performances of works by Charles Wuorinen in New York and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the composer’s seventy-fifth birthday.

Ms. McDermott has performed with many other leading orchestras, including the Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony orchestras of San Diego, Dallas, Columbus, Seattle, Houston, Colorado, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Atlanta, New Jersey, Austin, Nashville, Chattanooga, North Carolina, Hartford and Baltimore, among others. She is a longtime member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with whom she performs and tours extensively each season. With CMS she has performed the complete Prokofiev piano sonatas and chamber music, as well as a three-concert series of chamber music by Shostakovich. Ms. McDermott enjoys touring as a member of OPUS ONE, a chamber group with Ida Kavafian, Steven Tenenbom and Peter Wiley. Together they have commissioned over 15 new works. She also tours annually violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and performs as part of a trio with sisters, Kerry and Maureen McDermott. She studied at the Manhattan School of Music and was winner of both the Young Concert Artists auditions and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. Anne-Marie McDermott lives in New York City with her husband, Michael, and her maltese, Sammy.