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.