Contact: Allison Griffin
Public Relations Associate

October 9, 2007


Laureate Music Director James DePreist takes the stage with violin virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

Portland, Ore. … Portland favorite Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg reunites with Laureate Music Director James DePreist for an upcoming Oregon Symphony classical program featuring Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor. Performances are Saturday, November 3 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Monday, November 5 at 8 p.m. The concert is generously sponsored by Lufthansa Airlines and The Oregonian.

Acclaimed for her powerful and passionate sound, musical depth, formidable technique and exciting stage presence, Salerno-Sonnenberg is renowned throughout the classical music world as "a breathtakingly daring and original artist" and "one of the few classical artists who must be experienced in person" (The Washington Post). Her 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 she was honored with the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded to instrumentalists who have demonstrated “outstanding achievement and excellence in music.” She has been featured on PBS, CBS, CNN and ABC. She also started her own record label, NSS Music, in 2005.

Salerno-Sonnenberg and DePreist have enjoyed a special working relationship through the years. In fact, the Bruch concerto was last performed by the Symphony in 1999 when DePreist was music director and featured Salerno-Sonnenberg.

Widely esteemed as one of America’s finest conductors, James DePreist is permanent conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, director of conducting and orchestral studies at the Julliard School and Laureate Music Director of the Oregon Symphony. He has been awarded 13 honorary doctorates and is the author of two books of poetry. In 2005 he was presented with the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. He is the nephew of the legendary contralto Marian Anderson.

Bruch's romantic masterpiece has remained an audience favorite since it was published in 1868. He considered giving the concerto the title of “fantasy,” because of its free-form style and structure. Although Bruch was a musical prodigy, he found composing his first violin concerto a daunting challenge. “It is a damned difficult thing to do; between 1864 and 1868 I rewrote my concerto at least half a dozen times, and conferred with violinists before it took the final form in which it is universally famous and played everywhere,” he said. The hard work paid off, and the concerto has become his best-known work.

The program also includes Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor. Rachmaninoff was not altogether convinced that he was a gifted symphonist. At its premiere, his Symphony No. 1 was considered an utter disaster; its criticism was so harsh that it sent the young composer into a bout of depression. Even after the success of his Piano Concerto No. 2, Rachmaninoff still lacked confidence in his writing. He was unhappy with the first draft of his Second Symphony but after months of revision, Rachmaninoff finished the work and conducted the premiere in 1908 to great success. The triumph regained Rachmaninoff’s sense of self-worth as a symphonist. The symphony consists of a dramatic sequence that is identified with Russian symphonic tradition. The tradition, established by the Rachmaninoff’s Russian Romantic predecessors, places emphasis on a motif and an “unending and beautiful flow of melody”, similar to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

The program will open with Wagner’s Prelude to Act III of Die Meistersinger.

Tickets are $15 to $98 and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, located at 923 S.W. Washington.  Ticket office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased anytime online at or charged by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available through or by calling (503) 790-ARTS.

Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available through the group sales hotline at (503) 416-6380.

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