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Wirth Center for the Performing Arts - Salon se Lève

Renewing the Salon Concert to Encourage Emerging Young Artists


Since 1999, this monthly performance series presents, supports and encourages Minnesota's most gifted emerging young artists, utilizing the 19th century ambiance of a salon concert. Pre-college musicians are chosen to perform in this series after winning a major regional, national or international competition in the previous school year.  These recitals are presented by the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with Salon se Lève's Volunteer Council/Contributing Membership and the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Downtown, Minneapolis . As has been our tradition, all concerts (except the Benefit Concert) are free and open to the public.  The program is funded through generous donations of its Contributing Members.  These donors play an essential role in guaranteeing our season’s success AND are provided with reserved seating for the concerts! Call Lori at 320-255-0318 to find out how you can become a Contributing Member and become an integral part of these young artists’ lives.  As our co-founder Doug Larson used to say; "We’ll be so looking forward to seeing you there"!

Click to View the Salon se Leve Slide Show

Hear the world’s greatest music played by some of Minnesota’s finest young artists in a setting as it was first meant to be heard ...

Hear the world's greatest music played by some of Minnesota's finest young artists in a setting as it was first meant to be heard ... the "salon!" …. The Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, in partnership with the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts and the Salon se Lève Contributing Members are proud to present six recitals, featuring our amazing young regional artists in an intimate venue – reminiscent of old world salons. Offered in the Art Gallery at HAUMC, this "up-close-and-personal" setting brings the music and performers directly to the
audience, stirring hearts and arousing emotions and imaginations as only a true salon atmosphere can! Join us for these exciting Sunday afternoon concerts as we encourage Minnesota's own emerging young artists in the 2014-2015 season:



2014-2015 Season


October 12th, 2:30 PM: “The Larson Memorial Concert”

Presenting our “Larson Memorial Award” winner, pianist Evren Ozel. Chosen as our “most outstanding performer” last season, this celebrated young artist is the impressive first prize winner of both the Junior High Thursday Musical, and Schubert Club Competitions, as well as the 5th prize winner AND “Audience Favorite” of the Cooper International Piano Competition, 2014. Evren has a big following here in Minnesota, so come early for a good seat, as he performs an unforgettably beautiful program of Chopin, Schumann, and Ravel. You won’t want to miss our opening concert featuring this fabulous young artist!


November 23rd, 2:30 PM: "Young Artists Extraordinaire!!!"

Spotlighting pianist Henry Wang, first prize winner and national finalist of the prestigious MTNA Auditions who will definitely amaze us again in his 2nd appearance at Salon se Lève... and also back for a return performance is oboist Sarrah Bushara, first prize winner of the Thursday Musical Junior High Woodwind Division and a Showcase Performer of the Minnesota Varsity Competition. Sarrah literally mesmerized us last year with her lyricism! This event will definitely be a “Pre-Thanksgiving Blessing!!”


February 15th, 2:30 PM: "A Very Special ‘Double-Delight’ Thursday Musical Valentine"

Featuring two equally phenomenal young artists - at least that’s what the Thursday Musical judges declared, as pianists Crystal Cheng and Aaron Fagerstrom were awarded co-first prizes at the Thursday Musical Competition last spring! You’ll certainly want to come and hear them for yourself, as this Salon se Lève recital will be “Doubly Delightful” ... and especially heartfelt!


March 15th, 2:30 PM: "A Dazzling Duo of Strings and Hammers!""

Salon se Lève introduces two more Thursday Musical laureates performing in their debut on our series: violinist Jason Shu, first prize winner of the 2014 Thursday Musical Senior High Strings Competition, and pianist Noah Qiu (pronounced “chew”), first prize winner of the Thursday Musical Junior High Piano Division. These two sensational young artists promise to dazzle us with their virtuosity, and move us with their musicianship!”


April 19th, 2:30 PM: "A Grand and Piping Hot Finale!"

Come join us for our stunning finale, as we present two astonishing young artists in return “Command Performances” ... Flautist Toni Lyn Andres, first prize winner of both the Thursday Musical Senior High Woodwind Competition AND the 2014 Senior High Schubert Club Competition, will again be wowing us with her wondrously magical flute, and cellist Mark Prihodko, another first prize winner of the prestigious Schubert Club Competition, will finish off our season with his “signature” virtuosic flair and emotional depth! We know that these young artists will put a BIG exclamation point on the conclusion of our season - BRAVISSIMO!!


May 16th, 2:30 PM: Benefit Concert TBA "Chamber Chamboree!"

won't want to miss our wonderful emerging young artists play some of the world's greatest chamber music. Three or four groups, depending upon availability, will be filling the HAUMC Art Gallery with resonance to be remembered - and filling our hearts with the joy that only this genre can provide. This event – which will be WELL attended - is ticketed – so be sure to get your tickets early!



VIEW OUR SALON SLIDE SHOW Photos By: Andrew Gess Photography

CLick to View the Salon se Leve Slide Show


A Little History:

In the summer of 1999, Dr. Paul Wirth, Artistic Director of WCPA contacted the Metropolitan Piano Gallery (Yamaha dealer for the Twin Cities) with a new idea: The idea was to create a unique performance opportunity for the finest young artists in Minnesota . Chosen from among the first place competition winners each year, this concert series would be an opportunity for these young artists to bond with an appreciative audience who would be there to support them. Metropolitan signed onto the idea, and appointed Doug Larson as their representative in promoting the series. Doug's added vision gave a special touch to it as he entitled it - Salon se Lève: Renewing the salon concert to encourage emerging young artists. The series began in the fall of 1999 at the Metropolitan Piano Gallery in Oakdale, MN and grew slowly but steadily, presenting 5 regular season concerts featuring two artists each. After the performances, the elaborate receptions gave everyone a chance to meet each other in convivial celebration, and the list of contributing members began to grow. The fundraisers each spring were quite successful with guest artists: The Ali Family, the Baken Trio, Paul Wirth (as Mozart in Mozart and the Magic Boot) and others. One highlight of the first season was a $500 gift given to one of the financially challenged young artists by an inspired patron.

The first real step toward financial security however came in the spring of 2002 when Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad, studio artist and philanthropist donated a matching grant for the fundraiser in May. Pursuant to this, the next season also featured a masterclass for the students with the world renowned pianist Stephen Kovacevitch. To this day, students still speak of this wonderful opportunity and of what they learned there.

Yet, Salon se Lève suffered two nearly fatal blows: the first in the summer of 2003 with the unexpected passing of Doug Larson and the second in the spring of 2004 with the closing of the Metropolitan Piano Gallery stores. In response to these hardships, Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad, Salon se Lève's most significant contributor, suggested to Dr. Wirth that he consider the Art Gallery at the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in downtown Minneapolis for a new venue. Indeed, while it was quite a distance from the Oakdale patrons, and the piano was in need of repair, it was a wonderful venue for salon type concerts - with no stage. A Volunteer Council committee was formed to fill the void of promotion and administration which Doug's passing created. After a year of looking and planning, with the support of the Volunteer Council and the approval of HAUMC Minister of Music Bill Mathis and the church's board, Salon se Léve resumed operation there in the fall of 2005.

Since then, Salon se Lève has been rebuilding. The contributing member list continues to  grow as more patrons of classical music become aware of this wonderful program. The concept of Salon se Lève, which is a “win-win-win” one for the young artists, the contributing members, and the church alike, is a powerful one. All indications are that with continuing support from all involved, it will grow in its mission to encourage our emerging young artists here in Minnesota.

For information on Salon se Lève, please contact Christopher Goering, Executive Director of the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts .