Salut Salon are an award-winning German chamber music quartet based in Hamburg. Their members consist of two violinists and group founders, Angelika Bachmann and Iris Siegfried, and have played with cellist Sonja Lena Schmid and Pianist Anne von Twardowski since 2008.
Their name comes from Edward Elgar’s Salut d’armour and Salon refers to the genre of music; short, romantic compositions performed in living rooms at events known as salons. It was at one such salon, where they performed as regulars, that they were discovered and invited to play at a public gallery.
Their story, however, begins almost twenty years earlier, when Iris and Angelika met at the age of eleven, sharing a desk in their school orchestra. They would later go on to travel the world together, busking as a duet and using their earnings to fund their trips. Eventually, they would recruit a cellist and a pianist, completing their changing line up.
Salut Salon are not your average chamber quartet. Their memorable performances have become very popular, and they are known for their eccentric and humorous skits that demonstrate their tremendous talent. Their viral Competitive Foursome performance has over 33 million views on YouTube and involves the members trying to outperform one another, with hilarious consequences.
Iris and Sonja compete to play Angelika’s violin at the same time, Iris then plays her violin behind her back while Anne uses one hand to play piano and the other to strum the cello, all while lying down. Other performances have involved playing movie soundtracks, covers of pop songs and even puppet shows, among others.
Salut Salon’s unconventional take on the classical music genre has garnered a lot of attention online. The quartet, who began their career busking as a duo so that they could afford a night in a backpacker hostel, now plays up to 120 concerts in a year throughout a growing list of countries.
Their shows are tailored specially to each international audience and are put together and directed entirely by themselves. In 2017, they competed on France’s got Talent, reaching the semi-finals.
Salut Salon have taken a very traditional genre of music and made it into something zany and unpredictable, capturing the hearts of many. It is not just their immense talent that has made them so popular, but also their winning sense of humour. It is clear that they have fun with every performance, often bursting into fits of laughter while on stage.
Their joy is contagious, and audiences are guaranteed to leave the concert hall with smiles on their faces every time. They are also philanthropists and take donations after every concert to fund Escuelo Popular de Artes, a music school in the slum neighbourhood of Achupallas in Chile.
The quartet make regular visits to the school where they play music with the children and have contributed over half a million Euros to date. In 2004 they won the German Music Council’s Advancement Award and in 2017 won an Echo Klassik award in the category Classic without Borders. If you want to see more from this talented group you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or you can follow them on Facebook. You can also visit their official website and keep up-to-date with their latest shows and events.