In music, Sonia Wieder-Atherton seeks a language that speaks to the world. Her quest has
taken her on a journey across repertories, from one discovery to another. Constantly
exploring crisscrossing musical avenues, she moves boundaries and unravels the received
wisdom in a relentless pursuit of meaning.
FINDING A VOICE
She was born in San Francisco of a mother of Romanian origin and an American father. She
grew up in New York and then Paris, where she soon enrolled at the Conservatoire National
Supérieur, studying with Maurice Gendron. At 19 she crossed the Iron Curtain to live in
Moscow, where she studied with Natalia Shakhovskaya at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
Her years there brought her a top-class education and left her a special, abiding relationship
with time and history. Back in France, at 25, she won the Rostropovich Competition.
TAKING TODAY’S MUSIC TO THE STAGE
Sonia Wieder-Atherton works has developed an especially close relationship with a wide
range of contemporary composers (Betsy Jolas, Pascal Dusapin, Georges Aperghis,
Francesco Filidei, Georges Aperghis, Wolfgang Rihm, Bernard Foccroule, and Edith Canat
de Chizy. She performs as a soloist under the guidance of numerous conductors, notably
with: the Paris Orchestra, the French National Orchestra, the Belgian National Orchestra, the
Liège Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonia, the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, the
Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg, the NDR Orchestra in Hanover, the REMIX
Ensemble, Les Siècles, Asko/ Schönberg… and regularly performs chamber music with
artists like Imogen Cooper, Elisabeth Leonskaïa, Raphaël Oleg, Alexander Paley, Bruno
Fontaine and many others.
A MUSICAL WORLD
Jewish songs, a cycle for cello and piano inspired by the art of the Hazzan. Songs of Slavic
Lands, for cello and instrumental ensemble, conceived as a journey from Russia to Central
Europe; Vita, for cello solo and three cellos, in which she tells the story of Angioletta-Angel
via two timeless geniuses, Monteverdi and Scelsi. Odyssey for Cello and Imaginary Choir, in
which a woman, alone with her cello, accompanied by a soundtrack, faces the elements:
wind, waves, chaos, storms. Cadenza, or the dreams of Luigi Boccherini, Little Girl Blue, a
letter to Nina Simone.
CREATING FOR THE STAGE
Sonia Wieder-Atherton’s musical worlds use many materials and voices. She has been the
instigator of many projects that she designs and stages: From the East in Music, a show
designed with footage from Chantal Akerman’s film D’Est. Night Dances, with Charlotte
Rampling, confronting works by Benjamin Britten and Sylvia Plath. Shakespeare Bach, with
Charlotte Rampling, based on sonnets by Shakespeare, Bach and Monteverdi. Marguerite
Duras’ Navire Night with Fanny Ardant. Exile, a creation for cello, piano and eight voices.
She has also worked with dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, translator André Markowicz, and
the late French pop singer Jacques Higelin.
In 2020, Sonia Wieder-Atherton signed an editorial partnership with the Alpha Classics label.
In 2011, she received the Bernheim Foundation Award. In 2015, she was named Chevalier
de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Sonia Wieder-Atherton performed at the 2018 ceremonial
reburial of Simone Veil in the Pantheon, Paris.
Photo credits : Xavier Arias