Speaking in Strings

Music , Academy Award, Women
Paola di Florio
73 minutes


*Jury Award Newport International Film Festival
*Nominated for Oscar Best Documentary, Features
*Nominated for Grand Jury Prize Sundance Film Festival, Documentaries

"Speaking in Strings'' offers a painfully intimate look at a unique artist, but it's also a story of creative anguish -- about the tenuous relationship between artists and their work. -San Francisco Chronicle

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Speaking in Strings -- Trailer from Paola di Florio on Vimeo.


"Speaking In Strings" profiles the controversial world-renown violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg. An enormously funny, fearless and irreverent individual, Nadja has played on every major stage and with every major orchestra in the world. Her unorthodox, passionate delivery, her swagger and unconventional attire earned her the nickname "...the bad girl of the violin..." Described as "possessed," "frightening" and "brilliant," her unique interpretations of timeless classics have both enraged and enraptured critics and audiences all over the world. As a public figure, Nadja's known for her unbridles charisma and has been featured in numerous televisions shows, including "The Tonight Show: Starring Johnny Carson," "60 Minutes" and the "Charlie Rose Show," among others.

This intimate character study spotlights Nadja's fascinating life as a soloist and recording artist, while unveiling the truth about how the violin saved her life. The director, Paola di Florio and Nadja grew up together in New Jersey, and it is this personal connection that gives "Speaking in Strings" its intimate perspective. The film follows Nadja through the pressures and glory of her professional live, yet delves beyond her public persona into the riveting, unknown story of how Nadja struggled to confront her personal demons.

"Speaking in Strings" is a moving and often humorous story about one of the most unique and gifted classical musicians in the world. It is also the story of the struggle and determination of one individual, who is part-genius and part-maverick, to overcome her inner turmoil and succeed in a world bound by convention. Ultimately it speaks about a universal story; that of the human spirit's constant need to redefine its purpose, regardless of barriers, age or status in life.



Paola di Florio

An independent filmmaker based in Los Angeles, Paola di Florio set up her own production banner Counterpoint Films in 1996, where she recently produced the TV series Directors on Directors for Telepiu/Canal Plus and directed and produced her first feature-length documentary SPEAKING IN STRINGS. Prior to this, Paola worked as a free-lancer for CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, TBS, and A& E, where she traveled extensively filming a variety of subjects including Balinese spiritual healing and the Italian Mafia. Paola's current projects include a documentary called Redhanded (which she is co-directing with her husband Peter Rader), about a man who risks his life going undercover as a poacher. She is also directing a blackcomedy short narrative she wrote, called A Rolling Stone, which she plans to expand into a feature.


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