Welcome to Salon Séance!!

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Welcome to Salon Séance and our new website!

In this blog section, we will be posting interviews with artists, friends, and collaborators, and also some musical reflections, posts by guest writers - mostly around the composer and key questions we will be exploring that season. 

As this is the first blog post on this website, I thought it would be nice to share with you the story behind the name of our project: Salon Séance. 

Those of you who have been following our project from the very beginning will know that it was originally called Schoenberg: Evolving Traditions. We started the project after we won Tarisio's Young Artists Grants in 2015, and as we had to come up with a name for it quickly (like 2 days before their application deadline), the natural thing to do was to brainstorm around the composer we'd decided to focus on- Schoenberg. So not surprisingly, people got the impression that the project was all about Schoenberg. Which in fact isn't!

This summer, I got a call from Verbier Festival Academy just one week before their start date. It turned out that the Academy manager, whom I knew from Berlin, had heard about our "Schoenberg project", and invited me on a short notice to their alumni program that offers professional development focused on individual projects. It was there that one of the mentors pointed out to me that we needed a name that reflected the concept of our project: to bring the dead composer back to life. 

Some of you may not be familiar with the word séance- in fact, when Simon suggested this word, I had no idea what it meant. Here is the definition:


séance [sey-ahns] noun

a meeting in which a spiritualist attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead.


Well, now do you see the connection? I have to admit, I wasn't convinced in the beginning but it definitely grew on me- I don't think we could've found a more perfect word. In our project, we interpret this word as follows:


séance [sey-ahns] noun:

a meeting in which a historian attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead composer.


But the word séance on its own didn't feel right. It didn't sound like a name. Upon the suggestion of Julian West, who was one of our mentors at Verbier, we added the word 'salon'. Salon was a place where people not only listened to music, but also discussed politics, social issues, art, literature, poetry, among other things. Again, it reflected our aim to present music as part of our society, culture, and traditions. 

So let me make give you the complete definition of Salon Séance...


Salon Séance [salɒn sey-ahns] noun:

a historian attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead composer whose music and story--centred around a question as relevant today as it was in his time--are presented as part of our society, culture, and traditions. 


Once more, welcome, and we are excited to share with you interesting discussions, ideas, encounters, and of course, music. More to come very soon!

Mari LeeComment