VC WEB BLOG | Julian Gargiulo - "Getting to Carnegie Hall Competition" [BLOG]

VC recently caught up with Julian Gargiulo to talk through the unique opportunity he's created for young violinists to get to Carnegie Hall

Getting to Carnegie

The Violin Channel recently caught up with Italian-American pianist and 'Getting to Carnegie' competition founder, Mr Julian Gargiulo.

In a VC-exclusive blog, Julian talks us through the unique opportunity he's created for young violinists to get their debut performance at New York's iconic Carnegie Hall.

"Getting to Carnegie is not that complicated.

The idea of “Getting to Carnegie” was not something that came to life overnight. In a way, it emerged through my unorthodox way of involving the audience in my performances.  Through my desire to bridge the gap between audience and stage.

The Huffington Post has called the competition “The Hunger Games of Classical Music”, and while no one’s life will actually be threatened, few professions are as hard as that of the classical artist. Or more to the point, few things are harder than being able to make a living performing your art, the art you studied for years, for which you sacrificed so much, for which you practiced and practiced and practiced. Being a pianist and composer myself, and knowing first hand that sometimes it takes a bit more than practice to get you to Carnegie, I decided to put together a competition that looks like no other classical music competition. The “Getting to Carnegie” competition, as the name suggests obviously gets you to Carnegie for a one time performance. But there’s so much more to it. The four chosen finalists, instead of playing for a panel of judges, are evaluated by a much tougher judge, the audience.

The competition which started in 2015 and is for violin this year, rotates yearly between violin, cello, and voice.  The idea is quite simple: any violin student (age 18-29) can apply by emailing a video of themselves performing - there is no application fee. The videos are evaluated by the “Getting to Carnegie” team and the four most promising performers are chosen. Those four finalists are each randomly assigned one movement of a sonata that I have composed specifically for the occasion. We then give the world premiere of the sonata, albeit a very particular one, in front of the live Carnegie audience. Immediately following the last violinist’s performance, the audience votes for the winner - the performer that most caught their attention, the one that really moved them. And as easy as that, the winner is chosen. Four violinists Get to Carnegie. Four violinists perform in front of New York City’s most discerning audience, composed of classical music lovers but also presenters who are in town for the famous APAP conference. One of them wins the vote of the audience, $2000, and round-trip airfare to perform together with me and a group of internationally acclaimed musicians at the annual Water Island Music Festival in the Caribbean.

So, are you Getting to Carnegie this year?

Go to and apply, and let the games begin!