Salon 21 presents five world premieres for piano quintet

A local organization is bringing classical piano into the solidified music scene in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Pianist Jeong-In Kim founded Salon 21, a six-concert series, in 2013. She wanted a friendly environment, like salons of old. Listeners are close enough to hear the players breathing. Musicians talk about the music.

A five-year-old start-up, Salon 21, presents music for piano in unexpected places. There’s no stage, breaking down the barrier between audience and artist. You can eat and drink while you listen. Concerts are free of charge with a $15 suggested donation. They typically last about an hour and feature world-class music and exciting new ideas.

The concerts are modeled after 19th century salons where famous musicians and composers — like Chopin and Mendelssohn — performed right in people’s living rooms. Salon 21 aims to bring these salons into the 21st century with intimate pop-up concerts.

Some of the past events held by Salon 21 have featured artists/composers from across the globe and in some of Cincinnati’s cultural and artistic hubs: Weston Art Gallery, The Mercantile Library, and other performance spaces suggested by locals.

In February, one local composer and current Salon 21 Artistic Director Jill Jantzen — who is a former University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music student and current piano faculty member at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills — will join composers from Cincinnati Soundbox to perform five brand-new quintets for piano and strings with 4-Way, Cincinnati’s string quartet.

The event, Parallels, will also feature composers from the around the United States and Poland: Zaneta Rydzewska, Aleksandra Chmielewska, Julia Seeholzer, Laura Harrison, and Rachel C. Walker. Each composer will interpret the piano quintet through their own lens, while pushing the boundaries of the art form.

Aside from the dual national and international spread of classical music presented by the organization, Salon 21 also received the Best of Cincinnati 2017 “Best Use of a Living Room for Intellectual Refinement” award from CityBeat.

Parallels will be held at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery on Wednesday February 6th at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and there is a $15 suggested donation at the door. Planning to attend the event? You can RSVP here: For more information about Salon 21 and what they do or how to host an event, visit their website.

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Read more articles by Erin Pierce.

Erin Pierce is a contributing writer for Soapbox, and a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University.