Eastern Music Festival announces 2016 Tannenbaum-Sternberger Distinguished Teaching Artists

Acclaimed Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and New York Philharmonic Principal Violist Cynthia Phelps to be the first EMF guest artists so honored.

Three year, grant funded initiative builds on 55 years of artistic and educational excellence.

"Eastern Music Festival Executive Director Chris Williams announced today that the festival has received generous grant support from the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation for 2016-2018The Foundation’s support will allow the festival to expand and focus its educational initiatives significantly through the development of a “Distinguished Teaching Artist” residency program.  2016’s “Tannenbaum-Sternberger Distinguished Teaching Artists” will be acclaimed violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and violist Cynthia Phelps.

“This grant allows the festival to provide extra layers of educational depth and intensity,” Williams says.  “Our festival’s artists and faculty are extraordinary performers and teachers and our young artists receive tremendous educational support from them each summer.  This new program will allow us to build an even more enriching environment, adding new facets to our curriculum.”
“Normally, a guest artist spends two or three days on campus when they come to perform as a soloist with one of our orchestras,” says Williams. “The new Tannenbaum-Sternberger Distinguished Teaching Artist positions are designed to bring master teachers for eight to ten days – not quite the whole five weeks that our artist/ faculty spend on campus and not the traditional three-day guest artist stopover. They’ll be on the ground long enough to teach, to perform, to lead master classes and workshops, and to share their deep knowledge and passion with our students.  We believe that this new interaction will spur our young artists on to higher levels of achievement.”    

Speaking on behalf of the Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, board member Jeanne Tannenbaum adds “We’re excited to be working with the EMF artist and educational teams as they address the needs of their students.  We’re fortunate to have such an outstanding institution in our community and we’re committed to seeing it grow and prosper.”

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 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." An American citizen, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was born in Rome and immigrated 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.  Dedicated to her craft, Nadja is committed to sharing her experience and knowledge.

This season, in addition to performances with orchestras and recital concerts, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg 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.

Cynthia Phelps has been the Principal Violist of the New York Philharmonic since 1992. She is a former faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music and is currently a faculty member at The Juilliard School. She has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras throughout the world including the Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao, and Hong Kong Philharmonic. As a chamber musician, Ms. Phelps performs regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, the Boston Chamber Music Society, Seattle Chamber Music Society, and the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival. Phelps has performed with some of the world’s greatest musicians including Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell and Yefim Bronfman, among many others.

Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg will be in residence during parts of EMF’s first and second weeks.  She will perform a recital/chamber orchestra program with our young artists on Thursday, June 30, lead a public Q & A session and a public master class, teach, and perform as a guest on the faculty chamber music series. 

Ms. Phelps will be in residency during parts of EMF’s third and fourth weeks.  She will provide private instruction to viola students, lead one public master class, perform as a guest on the faculty chamber music series, and world premiere a Viola Concerto by American composer Julia Adolphe on Saturday, July 16 with the Eastern Festival Orchestra.

For more information about Eastern Music Festival  

For up to date information about upcoming performances,

To purchase tickets or for ticket information
visit our website or call Triad Stage: 336-272-0160"

- A Press Release


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