Classical Music

Winners Announced at The World’s Biggest Stage Competition

Cellist Johannes Gray has won first prize in the inaugural competition, worth $5,000 USD


Cellist Johannes Gray wins $5,000 and will be the featured cellist in The World’s Biggest Stage (2023) – Voice Edition, as well as the featured cellist in the 20th Water Island Music Festival.

The three runners up are Caterina Isaia, Ayoun Alexandra Kim, and Gaeun Kim. They will each receive $2,000.

During The World’s Biggest Stage competition, each participant performed a newly composed Cello Sonata entitled “The Time Between Moments” — written by competition founder Julian Gargiulo. Each cellist was randomly assigned a movement from the work. You can watch the competition streamed on The Violin Channel, here.

The jury included Haeji Kim (2015 winner, violin edition), Chae won Hong (2016 winner, cello edition), Emily Helenbrook (2017 winner, voice edition), Nathan Meltzer (2018 winner, violin edition), Rachel Siu (2019 winner, cello edition), Brianna Robinson (2020 winner, voice edition), Maria Dueñas (2021 winner, violin edition), and Jan Vogler (celebrity jury).



Following his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the age of 14, cellist Johannes Gray is the winner of the International Pablo Casals Award, the Gold Medalist of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and the Verbier Festival’s Prix de l’APCAV award.

His solo engagements include performances at the Berlin Philharmonie, the festivals of Ravinia and Verbier, Lincoln Center, SuperCello (Beijing), and the Cello Biënnale Amsterdam.

He has studied with Hans Jørgen Jensen in Chicago, Jérôme Pernoo at the Conservatoire national Supérieur de musique in Paris, and Frans Helmerson at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin.

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