Toronto·Video

'I was mind-blown': Toronto-area teen violinist heading to New York to play at Carnegie Hall

At just 13 years old, Lincoln Haggart-Ives is about to do something many musicians have only dreamed of.

Lincoln Haggart-Ives, 13, will play Csárdás on violin in American Protégé Music Competitions in June

Lincoln Haggart-Ives, 13, a Toronto-area violinist, is headed to New York to play at Carnegie Hall. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

At just 13 years old, Lincoln Haggart-Ives is about to do something many musicians have only dreamed of.

The teen violinist, from Vaughan, Ont., is headed to New York to play at Carnegie Hall.

"I was really excited. I was mind-blown," Haggart-Ives said of his reaction when he learned his audition tape for the American Protégé Music Competitions had been successful.

"I didn't really expect that to happen but it happened, so I was really happy and excited. I was just shocked."

American Protégé is designed for young musicians, actors and singers on the path to a successful career; and gives participants an opportunity to showcase their unique talents.

WATCH | Lincoln Haggart-Ives talks about being selected to play at Carnegie Hall:  

Lincoln Haggart-Ives talks about being selected to play at Carnegie Hall 2:15

Organizers say the 2018-2019 competitions attracted the largest number of very competitive applicants on record, hailing from every corner of the world including various parts of the U.S. and 58 other countries.

Lincoln's mom, Maria Haggart, says she found out about the competition from a neighbour and immediately found the "opportunity for the kids to play at Carnegie Hall" very appealing.

"I thought to myself, 'I'll just put Lincoln in and see what happens,'" Haggart told CBC News. 

Lincoln Haggart-Ives says he didn’t expect he'd win a trip to Carnegie Hall but he was 'really happy and excited' when he did. (Submitted by Maria Haggart)

"So, I submitted the video and then last Thursday we just got word that he placed and he will be playing in the winners' recital in June."

Preparing for the big stage

Haggart-Ives says he'll be playing Csárdás, which is one of his favourite pieces.

Csárdás — by Italian composer Vittorio Monti — is a rhapsodical concert piece written in 1904, originally composed for violin, mandolin or piano.

"It has different parts to it. For example there's a fast bit and there's a slow bit," he explained.

The teen admits he does get a bit nervous sometimes when he has to play to a large audience, but he has his own way to calm his nerves.

"Sometimes I get a little nervous, but when I start playing I lose it and I just focus on the thing I'm doing and it goes away and then I do fine," he said.

"I just practice the pieces I'm going to play and I just try to perfect it and make it sound as good as possible."

A much younger Lincoln Haggart-Ives with his mom Maria Haggart and dad Matt Ives. (Submitted by Maria Haggart)

Learning new pieces is what Haggart-Ives likes the most about playing the violin.

"I like to branch out and to explore different types of pieces and try to just play as many different pieces as possible, to challenge myself more and more to play different pieces in higher levels," he said.

'Very musical' from he was a baby

Lincoln's mom said he started music lessons one month before his fourth birthday.

"I thought that the violin was the best instrument to start him on because it's a sizable instrument. He started on the box violin and he started playing an actual instrument when he was four," Haggart said.

"He just took off with it… He was very musical from the time he was a little baby. 

"We used to play music for him when he was really young, before he could even walk or talk. We would play The Beatles and Coldplay. His favourite actually was Amy Winehouse. He loved Amy Winehouse and he would like to dance around that," Haggart added.

Lincoln Haggart-Ives started music lessons one month before his fourth birthday, his mom says. (Submitted by Maria Haggart)

The proud mom says, "It's just been a journey for us. There have been challenges and obstacles but it's been very, very rewarding."

But for Lincoln, this is only the beginning.

Next on his bucket list is to play in an Orchestra.

"Maybe the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or the National Orchestra," he said.

Lincoln Haggart-Ives, 13, a GTA violinist, is headed to New York to play at Carnegie Hall. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

With files from Natalie Nanowski

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