The History of Music Salons

Musica Marin

For centuries, music has played an important role in all classes of community social life. Further examples of performances can be seen throughout history: Bach and his sons giving concerts at coffee houses and accompanying Frederick the Great on flute as he played for guests; young Mozart entertaining in the fashionable salons and being fêted by the beau monde in Paris; and Beethoven playing the fortepiano at the palace of the Russian Ambassador to Vienna, Count Razumovsky. Fine music has always been cultivated in both public and private social gatherings.

During the Nineteenth Century, leisure activity increased as the size of the extended family diminished. It was during this time that households gradually shrunk to the family that we think of today: parents and children. These smaller households gave the lady of the house more time for her own amusement, as well as more time to spend with the children. Among this new middle-class and mostly female audience, there was a craze for music and popular literature. Thus the gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host and sharing music, news, romance, and conversation known as a salon was born.

Frederic Chopin himself played for the distinguished guests in salons during his teens, despite his acute shyness of large crowds. There are many other composers of the early Romantic movement that had a high impact on the dramatic aspects of salon music in nineteenth century Europe. Among these are Carl Maria von Weber, Meyerbeer, Gutmann, Field, and Heller.

At Musica Marin, we celebrate that tradition by performing chamber music in the settings for which it was intended to be experienced: in intimate, sensory-rich environments where audiences are able to directly connect to the music and musicians and gain a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of the arts presented.

We believe that the lives of all people are enriched and nurtured by a love of music and the quality of high art and music positively influences the lives and culture within a community.
As an organization, we are committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers through our programs and events.