VC INTERVIEW | Pianist Julian Gargiulo - ‘Getting to Carnegie’ Competition

The Violin Channel recently caught up with ‘Getting to Carnegie’ Competition founder, Italian-American pianist, Julian Gargiulo


The Violin Channel recently caught up with ‘Getting to Carnegie’ Competition founder, Italian-American pianist, Julian Gargiulo.

Founded in 2015, the competition is unique in its format with each of the 4 annual finalists granted the opportunity to perform a movement of a world premiere performance at New York's Carnegie Hall.




You started this unique ‘Getting to Carnegie’ Competition in 2015 - tell us about it? Where the idea came from? And, how has it evolved over the years?

"At its heart, the Getting to Carnegie Competition is about making classical music fun, appealing, and relevant to people of all ages.

The idea came from my own performance style which hinges on tearing down the barrier between stage and hall.

Now in our 6th GTC Edition, we have seen consistent growth in terms of quality of applicants who typically are from the top music schools including Juilliard, Eastman, Curtis, Colburn, Indiana, Yale, Cleveland, Peabody, Moscow Conservatory, Liszt Academy in Budapest, as well as the enthusiasm surrounding the actual Carnegie event each January.

This year we officially became a 501c3 Non Profit, have a pro-bono attorney, and a board including a family member from the Avery Fisher family, and soon to join as an Honorary Board member, Emmanuel Ax. - so things are definitely moving in the right direction"


How is GTC unique compared to other student competitions?

"Getting to Carnegie’ is unique among classical music competitions in that instead of having a professional jury decide the winner, it is the audience who chooses instead.

For it’s the audience, the public at large, who in the end determines a career - so why not have that be the deciding factor right from the start?

Having the public so directly involved in the actual decision makes the whole thing more interactive and fun for them as well"


It’s been described by the Huffington Post as ‘The Hunger Games of Classical Music’ - what exactly does this mean?

"The Huffington Post certainly knows a good sound bite, no pun intended!

’The Hunger Games of Classical Music’ in a sense describes all competitions - they’re all a bit “Hunger Game-y”.

Perhaps the Getting to Carnegie Competition is a bit more so, because you are literally thrown into the hands of the public. The beauty of that, is the audience has no hidden agenda - people seem to vote simply on what they think is of merit"


Who is eligible to enter? And, how does one go about entering?

"Eligibility for the GTC Competition is 18-29 years old by the date of the finals.

There is no application fee to enter.

You simply send an email to [email protected] with a performance video link and your date of birth"


What advice or tips do you have for submitting your application? How should one go with choosing their application repertoire?

"My application advice is to send what best showcases your unique voice and what most differentiates you from everyone else.

This is after all a competition that defers to the wisdom of crowds - so perhaps something 'crowd-pleasing' might be a good idea"


What does the winner receive? And, how is the winner chosen?

"The winner receives $2,000 and roundtrip airfare to perform in the Caribbean at the 15th Water Island Music Festival immediately following the competition, alongside a group of Internationally acclaimed musicians.

The Competition Finals are also attended by agents, managers, and presenters who are in New York for the annual APAP conference (the biggest ‘presenter conference’ in the U.S.), which occurs the same weekend as the competition.

But perhaps best of all, the four finalists get to add 'performed at Carnegie Hall' to their résumé.



Rotating annually between violin, cello and vocal editions, applications for the 2020 vocal competition to be received by the 1st of November, 2019 | The Final Round of the 2020 'Getting to Carnegie' Competition will be held at New York's Carnegie Hall on January 12th, 2020 | Previous 1st prize winners include VC Young Artist Nathan Meltzer