Sonja Giles has appeared as a recitalist, chamber musician, and educator in a variety of venues across the United States, Austria, Belgium and Russia. She has appeared as a soloist with the Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra (Russia), Iowa State University Wind Ensemble, Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra, Iowa State University Orchestra and numerous bands throughout Iowa.
Sonja is a member of the Cedar Rapids Opera Company and regularly performs with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra. She has recently performed with the Des Moines Metro Opera, as well as the Des Moines Symphony, American Wind Symphony, Ottumwa Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, and Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestras. Sonja is a founding member of the ensemble Dolce Veloce with oboist, Elizabeth Rennick and pianist, May Tsao-Lim.
In addition to performing as soloist, orchestral player, and chamber musician, Sonja is passionate about performing and promoting new music. She has worked with composers John Corigliano, Joan Tower, Libby Larsen, and Martin Kennedy. At the 2008 LIPA Festival, Giles worked with composer, Art Kreiger on his bass flute solo, Piping Hot! Her recent performances at the 2008 and 2009 National SEAMUS Conventions include collaborations with Larry Austin, Bonnie Miksch and Christopher Hopkins. As a guest artist for the 750th Anniversary of Koenigsburg (currently Russia), Sonja performed Jeffrey Prater’s Promise for flute and string orchestra.
Dr. Giles is equally zealous about her role as an educator. She is the recipient of the 2008 Iowa State University Award for Early Excellence in Teaching, as well as the Cassling Early Excellence in Teaching Award. Sonja credits her teaching to her wonderful teachers, Sheryl Cohen, Tadeu Coelho, Immanuel Davis, Julia Bogorad-Kogan and Keith Underwood. She has given master classes in Wyoming, New Mexico, Alabama, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and teaches on the summer faculty at the Young Musicians Camp, in Evanston, Wyoming.
While earning a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Alabama, Sonja was honored as the Presser Scholar while studying with Dr. Sheryl Cohen. Her Master of Music in Flute Performance is from the University of Iowa where she was a student of Tadeu Coelho. At the University of Minnesota, Sonja began a doctorate in flute performance with Keith Underwood and completed her studies with Immanuel Davis, Assistant Professor of Flute at University of Minnesota, and Julia Bogorad-Kogan, principal flutist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Sonja’s thesis, An Interpretive Guide to ‘Tone Development Through Interpretation’ by Marcel Moyse, was guided by Julia Bogorad-Kogan, one of Moyse’s prize students.
Dr. Giles coordinated and hosted the 2004 and 2009 Iowa Flute Festivals. She has performed and presented classes at the 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 IFFs. At the annual National Flute Association conventions, Sonja has performed and given presentations, most recently, she directed the ISU Flute Ensemble at the 2008 Convention. She is currently Vice-President of the Eastern Iowa Flute Association
As Assistant Professor of Flute professor, Sonja is the director of all flute activities at ISU. She is also the faculty advisor for Esprit de Corps, the music learning community, and serves on the Learning Community Curriculum and Instruction Committee. Sonja is also the faculty advisor for the Sigma Alpha Iota Professional Music Fraternity.
Sonja Giles is exclusively a Miyazawa Artist and was the July 2009 Featured Artist.