Le Salon de Musiques prepares for third La Jolla season by mixing the classic with the ‘forgotten’

Le Salon de Musiques is warming up for its third season in La Jolla.
(Le Salon de Musiques)

The monthly chamber music series will return to the Woman’s Club for nine concerts starting Sunday, Oct. 8.


Le Salon de Musiques is rosining its bows for a third season in La Jolla, composing a program of forgotten pieces mixed with audience favorites.

The chamber music series, featuring piano, strings and vocal performances, will return Sunday, Oct. 8, at the La Jolla Woman’s Club and run monthly through June 2.

Founder and artistic director Francois Chouchan, who also is a concert pianist, will include seven “forgotten Romantic pieces” during the season by composers Hahn, Goldmark, Jadassohn, Fruhling, Lachner, Gretchaninoff and Foote, who, while recognized for their artistry during their lives, “disappeared in the shadow of the well-known” after their deaths, Chouchan said.

“My goals and expectations are to promote these artists again, trying to take them out of the drawers,” he said. “They are totally amazing, so wonderful.”

Le Salon de Musiques will weave the more obscure pieces with traditional masterpieces by Purcell, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Chopin, Moszkowski, Grieg, Saint-Saens, Faure, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Dvorak.

It takes Chouchan more than a year to build a season. “Everything has to be in connection with the other pieces” in melody and message, he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s very interesting.”

Chouchan said he also is taking care to incorporate more vocal performances, as he feels it’s important to mix the operatic and chamber music worlds.

Along with heightened exposure for obscure pieces, the season aims to continue to highlight “wonderful, amazing young performers who deserve to be discovered and who deserve to play more,” along with bigger beloved names, Chouchan said.

The format will be unchanged: Performances will begin at 4 p.m., introduced and previewed by a short talk by musicologists Nuvi Mehta or Kristi Brown-Montesano.

Le Salon de Musiques founder Francois Chouchan
Le Salon de Musiques founder Francois Chouchan has programmed the series’ third season to mix traditional and more obscure classical pieces.
(Le Salon de Musiques)

“Chamber music has to be performed in intimate spaces,” Chouchan said, “so people are very close to the musicians, instruments and vibration.”

The concerts are followed by a Q&A with the artists, a glass of champagne and a high-tea buffet catered by The French Gourmet.

The up-close access to the performers — and other audience members — is a concept Chouchan based on Marie Antoinette’s gatherings in 18th-century Versailles.

“Arts have to be shared in a different way,” he said. “It’s very important for all of us to be connected, to have a kind of relationship [and] for people to know who the musicians are, their background and ask all the questions they want.”

As people linger to eat, seated at large tables to socialize, “they meet new friends and it becomes a big family,” Chouchan said.

Le Salon de Musiques’ second season ended June 25. “We have more and more people coming and joining us,” Chouchan said.

The salon’s audience includes locals, students and people from Orange and Los Angeles counties, he said. “We have people coming from everywhere.”

Chouchan said he’s encouraged by guests’ growing curiosity for classical music and that he’s proudest of the “enthusiasm of the people” he’s built the past few years since premiering the series in La Jolla.

“They realize the big difference between a regular venue and what we do,” he said.

Le Salon de Musiques 2023-24 season

When: 4 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 8, Nov. 5, Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 4, March 3, April 7, May 5 and June 2

Where: La Jolla Woman’s Club, 7791 Draper Ave.

Cost: $45-$95 (single tickets); $684 (season subscription; discounted from $855 through August). Both include high tea and champagne.

Information: (310) 498-0257, lesalondemusiques.com