The Society

Co-Artistic Directors Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar

The Salastina Music Society enriches minds, hearts, and our greater community through world-class and educational performances of chamber music.  Since its founding five years ago, Salastina has earned a national reputation for bringing a fresh approach to the classical concert experience, resulting in innovative performances with broad audience appeal.

Salastina presents between twelve and twenty concerts and educational events annually for audiences of all types — ranging from the classical music cognoscenti to new listeners of all ages. With a repertoire spanning three centuries, including special priority given to premieres by living composers, Salastina curates intimate and informative concert experiences, providing listeners with a field guide to the vast, rich landscape of chamber music.

Mirroring its audience’s diversity, Salastina’s expert musicians of varying ages, cultures, and backgrounds comprise an evolving repertory company capable of presenting chamber music of every style, instrumentation, and historical period. (Click here to learn more about our illustrious roster of guest artists, which includes opera stars, world-renowned chamber musicians, and principal players of the country’s great orchestras.)

Salastina’s annual calendar typically includes over a dozen concert programs and special events, performances throughout California, guest appearances on other highly-regarded concert series, recording activities, and frequent national broadcasts on American Public Media’s Performance Today.

Our commitments:

Performing a world premiere with soprano Elizabeth Futral at our debut concert in 2010

• To discovery and new music.

In the words of Duke Ellington: “There are only two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind.” All great music — from classic to newly so to not yet so — bears intrepid exploration. Our popular Masterpiece Discovery series, hosted by KUSC 91.5 FM DJ Brian Lauritzen, delves deep into what makes great works of the classical repertoire masterpieces.  And just as we champion music that has stood the test of centuries out of a firm belief in its value, so do we advocate for the ever-evolving music of our time. By promoting new music that doesn’t compromise on originality, sophistication, or accessibility, we seek neither to pander to nor to alienate the listener.  Salastina has also invested in new music by commissioning numerous works, including two for voice and chamber ensemble — which were premiered by opera stars Rod Gilfry and Elizabeth Futral, respectively. (For more information about our world-premiere recording with Elizabeth, click here.)

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16-year-old cellist Iona Batchelder at a soundcheck  in 2014

• To education.

Masterpiece Discovery educates listeners of all ages and vocations in the concert hall; the Salastina Academy works intensely with gifted young instrumentalists to prepare them for their place in it. Salastina musicians coach these young people from within the chamber group, culminating in a performance alongside them. In February of 2014, we coached four young musicians through the seminal experience of studying, rehearsing, and ultimately performing a world premiere (by Salastina’s composer-in-residence Jeremy Cavaterra) for the very first time in their lives.

    • Post-concert ice cream reception

      • To making meaningful connections with audiences.

      If art is to make us feel more human, then stiff, arbitrary, and outdated rules — and a disconnect between performers, composers, and audience members — run deadly interference. We believe dressing up, connecting over some of the most masterful art ever created, and laughing out loud in a friendly and thought-provoking environment can all work hand-in-hand to make any special event just that: special! Salastina artists don’t just sing and play beautifully; they also have a lot to say. Our guest performers and composers offer personal insight into their thoughts and experiences both during and after concerts — be it by speaking from the stage, connecting with audience members during post-concert FAQ sessions, or mingling at informal receptions. What’s more, we promote extra-musical ways of enhancing the concert experience, from gourmet post-concert receptions to collaborations with celebrity comics to intimate, hedonistic musical salons featuring the musically-inspired cuisine of highly regarded chefs. And in a break with tradition, our audience is encouraged to applaud freely, without worrying about whether or not it is the traditionally appropriate moment. (No ticket buyer should be implicitly required to temper his enthusiasm!)