Before there was Betrayal, Scandal, or Downton Abbey, there was Wagner and Schoenberg. Talk about a soap opera! These gentlemen lived extremely sordid lives.
Le Salon de Musiques, a monthly classical music series held on the 5th floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, devoted this evening to Wagner and Schoenberg. It is a sophisticated non-Angeleno type of experience. If you close your eyes, you can imagine being in an East Coast boite or Parisian bistro. The Austrian Consulate General partnered with this evening. Intimate as it was, it felt like a party in a friend’s living room with coffee and iced tea served before the concert.
The brainchild of the event is Francois Chouchan, a French-American pianist and the founder, producer, and artistic director. This international musician introduced the evening. “It is very important for me to express the passion in the music and for you the audience to feel it.” (He accompanied opera singer Tracy Cox.)
Co-Artistic Director John Walz is a celebrated soloist and chamber music artist who has appeared with over 150 symphony orchestras on four continents. He founded the renowned Pacific Trio in 1979 and is the principal cellist for the L.A. Opera.
After an intellectual, as well as comical explanation of the music by musicologist, Julius Reder Carlson (a scholar specializing in the music of early 19th century Germany and contemporary South America), the music took over. You could not hear a pin drop.
Tracy Cox had the voice of an angel, who sang in German. Winner of the 2013 Operalia Birgit Nilsson Prize, Cox was warm and friendly when we talked during a break. “I have some recitals in New York in the next few months.” Funny as she is talented, she said, “I sing about ladies who sing and kill themselves! I love that.” Although conservative in black, she wore some beautiful vintage earrings that she found in The Way We Wore.
Part two: a conversation between the musicians and the audience. Champagne was served before the informal chat from our seats. Besides the aforementioned musicians, included were Tereza Stanislav, Anna Landauer, Rob Brophy, Shawn Mann, John Walz, and Armen Ksajikian.
I asked who their mentors were. So many said the question was difficult because they had so many. Landauer mentioned her father, who gave up his job for three years to practice with her when she was a kid. “My mom was not too happy about that!”
One of the questions was about the make of the instruments. Ksajikian joked that he purchased his cello at Costco. But in reality, both he and Walz played cellos made by a distinguished audience member.
After a buffet supper catered by Patina, several musicians had to run across the street to perform for a Holocaust event. It was a long day after rehearsing many hours before the first gig.
The series runs well into 2014. Contact LeSalondeMusiques.com.
Sue Facter owns a new agency that specializes in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, as well as on broadcasts and the web.