Charlotte White, Founder in Memoriam
New York Times
Still Giving the Joint Class
A 100-Year-Old Impresario Who Promotes New Classical Musicians
Painting of Charlotte White by Henry Solomonoff
Charlotte White's 100th Birthday Celebration
Florence Foster Jenkins
By Charlotte White 10/1/16
“Tinga ling aling a ling a ling,” touted the insistent telephone early, early on a Sunday morning, awaking us from a deep sleep. I was going to ignore it but I always feel there may be something special, an emergency, that I must not miss. So I answered. The voice at the other end was a little squeaky and said proudly, “Are you Charlotte White, the pianist? I am Florence Foster Jenkins, the famed soprano." ...
Charlotte White was a Juilliard graduate and accomplished concert pianist who studied with the legendary Josef Lhevinne and the noted Richard Singer (who was, in turn, a student of Leschetitsky, Busoni, and Brahms). She founded the Salon in 1989 after returning to the United States following many years of living, performing and teaching in Asia, including memorable experiences in Japan, India, Thailand and Burma, in order to give more opportunities to young, emerging artists.
Born on May 1, 1914, just before the start of World War I, her life spanned over a century of music.
From performing as a young girl on the earliest radio broadcasts, to recording for the Welte-Minion piano roll company, to rubbing shoulders with George Gershwin, to concertizing and performing both classical music and her arrangements of jazz works during the Great Depression, to bringing Western classical music to Asian audiences, and finally to the founding of the Salon, which was her consuming passion for the past 28 years, music was always her joy and inspiration. Well into her seventies she was gratified to perform for Vladimir Horowitz, who applauded her sensitive and lyrical performance.
On May 7, 2014 we presented a special concert to a packed house at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall honoring Charlotte White in celebration of her 100th BIRTHDAY. The concert featured some of the Salon’s past grant winners and other outstanding young artists. We were thrilled to have Vladimir Feltsman as our Guest of Honor. Robert Sherman, award-winning broadcaster and writer, served as the MC.
Charlotte was deeply honored to have been invited, along with Alan Gilbert and a select group of other members of the New York cultural community, to meet with His Highness the Crown Prince of Japan at the residence of the Consul General of Japan, Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, in recognition of the Salon’s work in promoting young artists from Japan and other countries.
Charlotte and the Salon were featured in a documentary on Manhattan Neighborhood Network when Charlotte was 101 years old. For those who missed it, please watch it
Our deepest thanks to Bob Sherman for his moving tribute to Charlotte White
on his April 26, 2017 "Young Artists Showcase" broadcast.
“Charlotte was a remarkable woman in so many areas, but the wonderful things she has done for so many young musicians will surely be remembered with unique appreciation by all of us – young and old. And thinking of age, she always seemed so young! And so enthusiastic. It was not only an honor but also a great pleasure for us to know such a vital, caring and kind lady.”
– Gary Graffman
"I admire Charlotte so much not only because she was such a wonderful and successful artist, but a wonderful lady who advocated supporting and discovering young music talents like me. Every time I think about her, I always feel so inspired and grateful. She gave me the opportunity as a young pianist to perform at the SONY Club, and provided me the wonderful support of the Barbara Brookes Arthur Diamond Grant last November. These events are critical to me and young people like me. She represents the positive power of all of us, and her great spirit will shine forever."
– Wei Luo, pianist
Charlotte for me was the embodiment of generosity and sophistication. She hosted my very first house concert where she had arranged for the venerable pianist Rosalyn Tureck to come hear me play. She was always supportive of me and it meant the world to have someone like Charlotte on my side. She is the reason young artists like me have succeeded. I will always remember her and be forever grateful. – Pitnarry Shin, cellist
Charlotte also knew how vital it is to provide support and encouragement to emerging young musical talents and delighted in discovering and getting to know so many outstanding young musicians over the years.
Despite their differences in age, she shared the same energy and enthusiasm as her young artists and viewed herself as their contemporary, and was thrilled to make a difference in their lives. She was also deeply moved by the love and friendship with which she was embraced by the members and friends of the Salon, whom she considered her extended family.
We are committed to honoring Charlotte’s legacy by ensuring that the Salon continues to thrive well into the future. May her life be an inspiration to all of his and may her light continue to shine on.