‘A human experience’: January concert of Le Salon de Musiques will bring ‘monumental’ music to La Jolla

‘A human experience’: January concert of Le Salon de Musiques will bring ‘monumental’ music to La Jolla

Business Spotlight:

Le Salon de Musiques is looking to kick off the new year and grow its local audience with a concert that Francois Chouchan, founder of the chamber music series, says is “something very important in my personal life and … artistic life.”

Le Salon de Musiques, now in its second season in La Jolla, presents monthly concerts where audiences sit close to the musicians and socialize afterward.

The performance on Sunday, Jan. 8, called “Winter Journey,” will begin at 4 p.m. at the La Jolla Woman’s Club, 7791 Draper Ave.


Get the La Jolla Light weekly in your inbox

News, features and sports about La Jolla, every Thursday for free

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the La Jolla Light.

The concert’s title is the English translation of “Winterreise,” an 1827 composition by Austrian Franz Schubert that contains 24 German poems written by Wilhelm Müller for piano and baritone.

Chouchan, himself an experienced classical pianist, will perform the song cycle with Grammy Award-winning baritone Matthew Worth. Audience members will receive a program with the songs translated into English.

“I always love performing Schubert because his music talks to me very much, very deeply.”

— Francois Chouchan, pianist and founder of Le Salon de Musiques

Schubert wrote “Winterreise” a few months before his death at age 31, Chouchan said. The composition is about a man talking to his lover in the middle of the night.

“He cannot reach her,” Chouchan said. “It’s cold, it’s winter and you have all around very dark elements. [It’s] very sad, melancholy, aggressive.”

“‘Winterreise’ is monumental, emotionally and physically,” he added. “There is nothing comparable in the German Romantic repertoire.”

Le Salon de Musiques performances are followed by a catered social hour.

(Le Salon de Musiques)

Chouchan said the “music is like a Schubert testament,” as Schubert “was a very shy person, a lonely person. He just had a few friends. And the only way for him to express his feelings, his love … was through the music.”

“Most of his music is a kind of therapy,” Chouchan added. “And so throughout those 24 songs that we will perform on Jan. 8, it’s like revealing who he was.”

He said the piece is “very tricky” for both singer and pianist, both of whom are soloists during the performance.

Schubert is “a mentor in my life,” Chouchan said. “I always love performing Schubert because his music talks to me very much, very deeply.”

“When I was 7 or 8 years old living in France, I went to listen to this piece in Paris,” he said. “I had a kind of revelation. I was crying for 30 minutes on my seat after the performance.”

Since then, Chouchan said, he has felt connected to Schubert and returns to his compositions again and again.

Le Salon de Musiques founder Francois Chouchan will perform on piano during the series’ concert on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the La Jolla Woman’s Club.

(Hojoon Kim)

All Le Salon de Musiques performances are preceded by a talk from musicologist Nuvi Mehta about the history of the pieces or composers. The concerts are followed by a question-and-answer session with the artists and a high tea buffet and champagne from The French Gourmet.

During the post-concert social hour, guests are encouraged to talk to the artists and one another.

“I’m very enthusiastic about the reactivity of the people and our new attendees who just discovered us,” said Chouchan, who noted that the October and November shows were sold out.

He said he knows La Jolla is home to many classical music events, but “our intimate concept is different. People … come and make new friends and they share music in a way that they never did before.”

Beyond listening to a concert, Le Salon de Musiques is “a human experience,” Chouchan said. “I really hope we can grow and develop more and more to bring more music and more beautiful emotions to people in San Diego.”

All concerts are at 4 p.m. Sundays at the Woman’s Club. Tickets are $95 for adults and $45 for students. Discounts are available for those who buy tickets for multiple concerts.

For tickets or more information, visit lesalondemusiques.com.

— Business Spotlight features commercial enterprises that support this publication.