The US Virgin Islands Best Guide

Water Island Classical Music Festival

The Water Island Classical Music Festival is now four years old and bigger than ever. There are three concerts this year on February 13, 14 and 15 at Providence Point on Water Island. This is the fourth annual concert featuring Julian Gargiulo, Artistic Director. Garguilo created the music festival and each year it has grown. This year, Gargiulo will perform selections from his January concert at Carnegie Hall and present 6 other artists in a music festival format. Pianist Maria Yefimova, Operatic Soprano Rosa Tulaganova and Classical Guitarist “Saladin” are returning; and new this year are pianist Elizabeth Pridgen, Jazz Soprano Patrice Perry and Jazz pianist Wells Hanley. That’s right, it is not all classical. This year’s festival adds Jazz to the Water Island Music Festival.

Julian Gargiulo performs regularly throughout the world in halls such as Carnegie Hall (USA), Moscow Conservatory Hall (Russia), Verona Philharmonic Hall (Italy), The Esplanade (Singapore) and the Seymour Theatre Centre (Australia). Mr. Gargiulo is the founder and director of the Sacred Heart Concert Series in Westchester and the Water Island Classical Music Festival in the Virgin Islands. In 2008 Julian founded the Not-for-Profit organization which brings together musicians, visual artists and filmmakers in creating events to raise awareness for the 16,000 children that die of hunger in the world every day. This year Julian was also named Artistic Director of ‘Crossing Borders’, a Hunter College program which allows established foreign artists living in NY to share their experiences with the students.

Russian-born pianist Maria Yefimova has established herself internationally as a recitalist, chamber musician, and an orchestra soloist, performing in Italy, Spain, England, Slovakia, Croatia, Russia, and the United States. She made her orchestral debut with the Slovak Philharmonic, which was broadcast live on National Television. Ms. Yefimova made her New York debut in 2004 with a critically acclaimed solo recital at Carnegie Hall. She was a featured artist in a film documentary “Women of Music”, made for the Canadian “Bravo” channel. Ms. Yefimova holds Master’s of Music degree from the Moscow State Conservatory, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She is on the piano faculty of the College of William and Mary.

Roza Tulyaganova is a native of Uzbekistan. She is a first place winner of Texas Music Teachers Association, two time district winner of Metropolitan Opera Audition, and a finalist of the Meistersinger competition in Graz, Austria. Roza has sung the roles of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (Mississippi Opera Co.), Musetta in La Bohème (Cantiamo Opera Theater, New York), Micaëla in Carmen (The Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory Theater), La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi (Chelsea Opera), 1st Lady in Die Zauberflöte (Intermezzo Young Artist Program), and Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte (Hubbard Opera Theater, NY).

Alejandro ‘Saladin’ Cote is quickly establishing himself as an exciting new face in the classical guitar scene. He concertizes regularly throughout the United States and Caribbean with recent engagements at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Goethe Institute in New York City, the Yamaha Piano Salon, the Cas di Cultura in Aruba, and La Belle Alliance in Curaçao. He has been a featured performer at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Madison Chamber Music Festival and the Water Island Music Festival in the Virgin Islands. Mr. Saladin Cote has participated in master classes with some of the world’s leading musicians such as Manuel Barrueco, David Starobin, Ricardo Iznaola, and Paul O’Dette. He completed his master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with David Leisner and held a merit-scholarship and received his bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music as a student of Julian Gray. A native of Curaçao, the Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Saladin Cote currently resides in New York City where he is a resident teaching artist at the Bloomingdale School of Music.

Wells Hanley is a multi instrumentalist and songwriter. His musical influences range from the Beatles and Led Zeppelin to Bach and Brahms. Mr. Hanley’s professional experience covers an equally diverse terrain, from performances with Jazz greats like Betty Carter and Wynton Marsalis to recordings with folk/rock icon Dave Matthews. Current projects include a full length recording as singer and songwriter as well as a movie soundtrack with Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band. Wells is also working on learning some Chopin Nocturnes.

Concerts: The concerts are Friday February 13th at 7:00pm, and Saturday the 14th for a special Valentine’s evening of romantic music and a special Sunday night Concert on February 15th – all festival concerts start at 7:00pm. The concerts are free but we ask everyone to bring a contribution to honor the musicians. Water Island Classical Music Festival is at Providence Point – there is a ferry leaving St. Thomas at Crown Bay Marina at 6:00pm and 6:30pm to come to the concert by 7:00pm and a ferry to return after the concerts are over.

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