Dean Robert L. Blocker, Yale University
The Salon De Virtuosi, “the best kept secret in New York”, is an organization dedicated to the discovery and support of talented young musicians.
For a really special musical experience, Charlotte White’s Salon De Virtuosi is not to be missed! The Salon is the crossroads of the diplomatic community in Manhattan and of young artists from around the world.
Praised by such great musicians as Gary Graffman and Yehudi Menuhin, The Salon was founded in 1989 by the concert pianist Charlotte White, a former student of the legendary Josef Lhevinne and the noted Richard Singer. Now entering its 26th season, The Salon has discovered and supported an outstanding array of superb young artists through generous grants and unforgettable concerts at some of New York’s most exclusive and beautiful venues, including the consulates of the many countries which are represented here in New York.
Many of those young artists have now achieved international fame. Among the artists presented in earlier years are Gil Shaham, Helen Huang, The St. Lawrence String Quartet, Lang Lang, Wu Man, Ilya Itin (winner of the LEEDS Competition), the Sejong Soloists, Philip Quint (Grammy Nominee), Wendy Warner (Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner), Alex Fiterstein (Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner) and Terrence Wilson (Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner).
In addition, from its very beginnings the Salon has endeavored to introduce ethnic instruments and music to which Western audiences have had limited exposure. Most concerts feature two or three uniquely gifted artists and often include noted folk artists from the featured country as well. Given Charlotte’s international background, the Salon has presented the most promising emerging talents from different lands and cultures who perform the great classic and contemporary masterpieces.
Our concerts are usually followed by festive buffet supper where the unique ambiance of the mansions, and social exchange between artists and guests, create an unusually stimulating experience. In addition to the music, you’ll meet some of the most interesting people in New York there.
The Salon is one of New York’s most generous supporters of young musical talent. At the end of each year, Scholarship and Career grants of $5000 each are generally awarded, often to as many as five deserving artists. Since the inauguration of the Fellowship Program in 1995the Salon will have given a total of $500,000 towards career and scholarship grants!
Our audiences are composed of a sophisticated group of music lovers, who give just the kind of support that every artist needs: encouragement, a sympathetic and discerning ear, plus enthusiasm for the task of finding the future greats! They are people who appreciate the importance of supporting and nurturing the talent that will keep our great musical heritage alive.
Membership in the Salon starts at $500/person a year and we have recently introduced a Junior League membership (for those 35 and younger) at $350/person. All contributions and membership fees are tax deductible to the full extent of the Law, since the Salon is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization.
"I congratulate you on the success of your Salon De Virtuosi and the good use to which you put your success"
"I sinserely hope that this unique organization will continue to grow and thrive for many years to come"
Gary Graffman,former Dean of Curtis Institute
About the Salon
"The Salon is a significant influence in the development of young artists' careers...
Indeed the musical life of our nation is richer because of your efforts"
My own apartment, with its 28 ft. living room, was the cocoon that housed the first two concerts of the Salon. I invited 40 people, thinking that maybe 20 would come. I was amazed when 35 people accepted! I rented gold folding chairs, after having the porters in the building temporarily remove my regular furniture (all except for the Steinway) to the basement. In my invitations I promised an international buffet supper after the concert (which I cooked myself). Chicken was on sale, so I made lots of chicken curry, rice and lentil curry (called dahl) that was very delicious and also very good for my budget.
I attended some Juilliard student recitals at Paul Hall and found the perfect artist to present for our first event. It was the fantastic Israeli violinist Gil Shaham, who then was an emerging young student and protégée of Dorothy DeLay, the famous head of the Violin Department at Juilliard.
Gil came early, tuned his violin and warmed up in my bedroom, rehearsing the Shostakovich he was going to play that night. That charming 18 year old young Paganini mesmerized all of us! The concert and the exotic food were an enormous success. The guests were wildly enthusiastic and said “You must continue doing this –it is food for the body and the soul” Many guests who were at that first concert in 1989 are still members of the Salon de Virtuosi today, with twenty- five years of devoted attendance.
After our concert, a great opportunity came Gil’s way. He was asked to substitute for an ailing Itzhak Perlman, and overnight performed with the London Symphony Orchestra to rave critical reviews .He has since become world renowned and acclaimed as a genius of his generation!
BIRTH OF THE SALON
By Charlotte White, on the occasion of the Salon’s 2013-2014 Season