A concert pianist who doesn’t take himself seriously

Time for a winter mini-escape from the city, and no better place in July than Noosa when the Noosa Long Weekend Festival (July 15 - 24) brings a cornucopia of events to warm up the month.

A highlight will be two performances by world-class concert pianist Julian Gargiulo.

Don't be deceived by his rock star looks.  That mop of extravagant curls belies a man of musical genius and the rare ability to bring it to his audience in a most unexpected way - with irreverent humour. .

Julian Gargiulo is an an internationally-acclaimed classical pianist, a piano entrepreneur with a global audience, an entertainer who has performed for world leaders, a highly-trained serious pianist who likes to meld cheeky humour with classical music.

Julian is return guest to Noosa having wowed audiences last year at the festival.

 "I can't wait to get back, a year is a long time away from a place like Noosa," he said.

At the 2015 Noosa Long Weekend Festival he enchanted guests who enjoy classical music but loved the interaction, the humour and complicity Julian brought to serious music.  His sauciness is infectious.   He has been known to escort concert guests in himself, announcing 'they are a little short on ushers tonight' or to leap onto the stage from the audience or…a dread for many theatre-goers…to bring audience members up on the stage.

 All defined notions about classical music fly out the theatre door the minute Julian sits at the piano.  

Of Italian descent (born in Naples) Julian now lives in Paris and travels the world to perform.

 His studies have been intense and taken him to some of the great music academies around the globe.

"I grew up in Italy and studied at the Verona State Conservatory," he said.  "Then I moved to Russia and continued my training at the Moscow State Conservatory.  Finally, I ended up in the United States, where I studied at the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University.   Moving around that much is at the very least suspicious and I'm sure to be on at least several government's watch lists."

It is the bold and brave pianist who puts a frivolous perspective oo serious music but Julian believes this unusual approach opens up classical music to a wider audience, especially younger people who would otherwise eschew it.

"Studies show laughter is good for your health, and it burns calories," he said.  "I hope to leave my audiences in a better mood, better health and better shape.  People come for the music but stay for the cardio."

His humour has been likened to that of Woody Allen.

"It must be our similar looks and that we are both Italian," he laughed.

Although he is now based in Paris, Julian says he feels his real home is in the terminals of international airports.

 He has performed in the US, Canada, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Russia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, China and Australia and in some of the world's great venues including Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Dag Hammarskjold Hall, at the United Nationals, at the Moscow Conservatory Hall, Verona Philharmonic Hall, the Singapore Esplanade and the Seymour Centre…and at The J at Noosa Junction.

"I always say the last audience I played for is my favourite," he said. 

 When he lived in New York, Julian founded the Sacred Heart Concert Series of Mount Vernon, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the cultural enrichment of bringing classical music to under privileged communities.  World renowned composers and musicians have performed to students free of charge.

"Music is an incredible gift and I can't imagine my life without it," he said.  "Sharing something (with the under privileged) that you love makes it even more special."

In 2014, Julian was named a Steinway Artist.

"I am very proud to have been named a Steinway Artist, a distinction shared by some of my favourite pianists, including Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein," he said.  "I have always been a great fan of Steinway pianos and to become an official member of the Steinway Artist roster is a great honour.  On the other hand, it means that if I'm caught performing on anything but a Steinway, there could be a lawsuit in my future."

In 2015 Julian presented "Getting to Carnegie' an international music competition featuring young musicians from all around the world for a chance to share the stage at Carnegie Hall.  He is working on writing a musical and a television show.

Julian has an impossibly notable background for someone so young, but trying to get him to talk seriously about it is not easy.

Even during our interview Julian found it hard to be serious.  When asked if he has a favourite composer, he replied: "Having a favourite composer is like having a favourite child.  We all do but nobody wants to admit it.  Okay - so it used to be Beethoven, but since I started composing…it's still Beethoven."

Julian will give two performances during the Noosa Long Weekend.

FACT BOX

The Noosa Long Weekend runs from Friday July 15 through Sunday July 24

It features more than 80 ticketed and free events and 220 local, national and international artists, authors and guest speakers at venues in and around Noosa.

Julian Gargulio will perform on July 22 at 5pm and 7pm.

Tickets and more information about accommodation packages on website: noosalongweekend.com


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