Each spring for nearly 40 years, Krannert Center and the School of Music have together chosen an outstanding student through audition who is then presented in recital at Krannert Center with a full professional contract. This recognition of the Krannert Center Debut Artist began in 1984, when Dean Jack McKenzie of the College of Fine and Applied Arts recognized that the performing caliber of some students in the School of Music equaled that of some of the young professional touring artists featured at Krannert Center. McKenzie, at the time Acting Director of Krannert Center, and Robert Bays, then Director of the School of Music, set a plan into action that today continues to bring a wonderful opportunity to artists and audiences alike.
Each Krannert Center Debut Artist is featured on the Sunday Salon Series, a performance setting specifically devoted to the presentation of emerging young artists in which an intimate atmosphere is created by seating audience members onstage with the performers. This powerful, early-career boost beautifully symbolizes Krannert Center’s mission. Previous winners include singers and instrumentalists who now teach and perform throughout the world, including the university’s own Rochelle Sennet and Ollie Watts Davis.
Salon-style performances offer a close connection between artists and guests, as audience members sit in six rows of seats on stage with the performer. Light refreshments are served before and after the performance. Balcony tickets (without refreshments) are also available.