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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, April 12, 2024
HomeArts-EntertainmentWater Island Music Festival: Pianist Julian Gargiulo Anticipates Two Unforgettable Evenings, Starting...

Water Island Music Festival: Pianist Julian Gargiulo Anticipates Two Unforgettable Evenings, Starting Friday

Water Island Music Festival musicians gear up for two nights of exceptional music. (Source photo by Michele L Weichman)

It was 19 years ago that the Water Island Festival first started, transforming from a jam session for 75 people in the living room of founder Alex Randall to a now packed house at the Prior Jollek Hall at Antilles School, where it returns this Friday and Saturday – click here to buy tickets – with two unforgettable lineups.

The cornerstone of the program, renowned “Pianist with the Hair” Julian Gargiulo, reflected fondly on the festival’s journey, sharing that he had initially begun performing on St. Thomas on a trip with a singer from the Met. She didn’t want to sing much that concert, he joked, but as Gargiulo began playing more on stage that night, he caught the attention of other local music promoters and began returning for concerts at Tillet Gardens and the St. John School of the Arts.

It was during an interview on WSTA one year shortly after with V.I. radio giant Addie Ottley that Gargiulo was invited by Randall to Water Island. Randall didn’t have a piano at the time, but the next year he did, and the festival was born, transitioning to Antilles after Randall moved to the mainland with his family.

Gargiulo fondly expressed, “After 19 years of performing in the same place, you form very close ties, and at this point, it feels like coming home.”

Looking ahead to this year’s festivities, Gargiulo promised two unique nights of music. The first night, titled “Classical with a Modern Twist,” will bring familiar tunes to life in a fresh and invigorating way. The second night, “Modern with a Classical Twist,” will feature an eclectic mix ranging from Bach to the Beatles.

Gargiulo, known for his organic approach to music, hinted at a program that unfolds naturally. “I write my own music, so I just wrote a new piece. You’ll also get a taste of my new sonata and a composition for violin and piano,” he shared. Collaborations with talented musicians, including Grammy Award-winning Dion Parson, head of the music department at the University of the Virgin Islands, along with other local talent and regulars such as Maria Yefimova and the opera-singing Roza Bulat promise a warm and inviting musical experience.

Click here for the full schedule.

In an invitation to all music lovers, Gargiulo said, “If you love classical music and you love jazz, you’ll have a great time. And if you don’t, you’ll still have a great time.

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