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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 2013-2014 season:



2013-2014 Season


October 13th, 2:30 PM: “The Larson Memorial Concert”

Presenting our “Larson Memorial Award” winner Sedra Bistodeau, violinist. Chosen as our “most outstanding performer” last season, this sensational violinist is the impressive first prize winner of both the Junior High and Senior High Schubert Club Scholarship Competitions, the Thursday Musical, AND the coveted 2012 YPSCA Minnesota Orchestra Competition! She will perform an awe-inspiring program of virtuosic pieces which will move all in attendance - You won’t want to miss our opening concert featuring this fabulous young artist!


November 17th, 2:30 PM: “Young Artists Extraordinaire!!!”

Spotlighting the dazzling pianist Andy Xue, first prize winner of both the Thursday Musical and Schubert Club Young Artist competitions, Andy will surely start “Thanksgiving” early this year! ... And after that, we’ll hear the magnificent Heifetz-like violinist Luther Warren, last year’s Larson Award winner and one of Salon se Lève’s alltime favorite performers! This will certainly be a thrilling - and filling! - pre-Thanksgiving musical feast!


February 9th, 2:30 PM: “A Very Special Valentine - From Russia With Love!"

Featuring two stunning young artists - both students of Russian professors at the U. of M. - pianist Alexander Braginsky and cellist Tanya Remenikova! Pianist Henry Wang, first prize winner and national finalist of the prestigious MTNA Auditions will definitely “knock our socks off” with his command of the keyboard... And cellist Mark Prihodko, first prize winner of the nationally known Schubert Club Scholarship Competition will also tug at our hearts and touch our souls with his dramatic playing! Happy Valentines!...“from Russia with Love!!”


March 9th, 2:30 PM: "The Salon se Lève ‘Triple Treat Hold Onto Your Seat!’ Concert"

Salon se Lève introduces three more new young artists to our series in this concert - our first trio of young artists ever... because they are all irresistible, and all winners at the Thursday Musical Competition! Pianist Michael Tang first prize winner of the Junior High Piano Division, oboist Sarrah Bushara, first prize winner of the Junior High Woodwind Division, and cellist Micah Cheng, 1st prize winner of the Senior String Division All of these young artists are already masters of their instruments, and perform with a deep sensitivity rarely heard at their age - and all at Salon se Lève this March!


April 6, 2:30 PM: "A Grand and Piping Hot Finale!"

Presenting two astonishing young artists: pianist Evren Ozel, who thrilled us last year with his spellbinding playing, and has also since been honored as a semi-finalist at the world renowned Piano-e International Competition.....and flautist Toni Lyn Andres, first prize winner of both the Thursday Musical Senior High Woodwind Competition as well as the Laudie Porter Flute Competition. We know that these young artists will put a BIG exclamation point on the conclusion of our season - BRAVISSIMO!!!


May 18th, 1:30 PM: Benefit Concert TBA "Chamber Chamboree!"

You 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 Lori McNamara, Executive Director of the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts .