Big Break Winner & Runners-Up Announced

From the Top and Carnegie Hall are pleased to announce the results of the Big Break – our first online competition for America’s young classical musicians!

Selected by popular vote, our Grand Prize Winner is 17-year-old percussionist Marcelina Suchocka from Chicago, Illinois.

Ms. Suchocka is a student at Chicago’s Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and is also a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Percussion Scholarship Program. She was selected from a pool of hundreds of classical musicians who submitted videos to the Big Break contest between October 18 and November 18.  All classical musicians, the contestants ranged in age from 8-18 and participated on a variety of solo instruments including piano, bassoon, harp, voice, violin, cello, bass, marimba, and recorder. On November 29, Ms. Suchocka and 14 other finalists were selected by From the Top and Carnegie Hall to be part of a public vote between November 29 and December 14.  Her winning performance of an excerpt from Anders Koppel’s Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra can be viewed below or at

As Big Break’s grand-prize winner, Ms. Suchocka will appear on a national radio broadcast this spring of NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Christopher O’Riley. The episode will be taped on Sunday, April 10 before a studio audience at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the multiplatform, acoustically superb performance venue of Classical 105.9 FM WQXR, New York City’s sole dedicated classical music station. The previous day, on Saturday, April 9, she will perform at a Carnegie Hall Family Concert in Zankel Hall, produced in partnership with From the Top and hosted by Mr. O’Riley.

As we were so impressed by the high performance level of all the Big Break finalists, three runners-up have also been selected to appear on the From The Top national broadcast and Carnegie Hall Family Concert.

The three runners-up are (in alphabetical order):

16-year-old pianist Gideon Broshy (New York, NY);

Gideon Broshy

16-year-old cellist Brannon Cho (Short Hills, NJ)

Brannon Cho

14-year-old harpist Helen Gerhold (Lansdale, PA).  

The special episode of From The Top’s weekly series, featuring Big Break’s Grand Prize Winner and runners-up, will air on participating NPR stations later in the spring.

Congratulations to all!