Internationally acclaimed concert violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is stepping down as music director of the Bay Area's New Century Chamber Orchestra at the end of the 2016-17 season, her ninth year with the ensemble, it was announced on Tuesday.
Since her appointment in 2008, Salerno-Sonnenberg, 55, a Naumberg International prize winner, has raised the profile of the 19-member string orchestra, commissioning several world premieres, taking it on three national tours and shepherding it through the recording of three CDs on her own NSS label.
Appointed last fall as the first artist-in-residence at Loyola University's School of Music in New Orleans, she will continue to teach student musicians in that capacity and work with university orchestras around the country while maintaining her own career as a concert soloist.
"It is with a heavy heart that I leave a place so dear to me, but I do so knowing New Century will welcome a new leader from a position of strength and acclaim," Salerno-Sonnenberg said in a prepared statement. "Without a single doubt in my mind, I feel assured of a bright future for this orchestra."
NCCO, which performs without a conductor, plays several concert programs annually in Berkeley, San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Rafael. The next concert set kicks off on Feb. 4 in Berkeley's First Congregational Church.
-- Sue Gilmore, Staff