Tryouts Being Held Until 3:30 P.M. At Vanderbilt Hall In Grand Central Terminal

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s that time of year again.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is holding its 26th annual “Music Under New York” auditions Monday.

About 70 soloists and groups will be given five minutes to impress a panel of 36 judges for a chance to perform in the New York City transit system. The acts are scored on a series of specific criteria, including measures of variety, appropriateness for the mass transit environment, and metrics related to overall quality.

More than 200 applications came in, and more than 70 performers and groups are vying for 20 positions.

Pianist Jason Cordero, 15, has been performing underground for two years and said one of the biggest challenges in playing near the uptown N, Q and R train stairway is maintaining his focus.

“People come and they start dancing or just trying to attract attention,” Cordero said.

But millions of people use the New York City subway system each day, giving the Queens resident many opportunities to sell his CD to raise money for college.

His advice for auditioning musicians is, “Keep the violin pretty low because if you have it pretty high then the judges they may say they’re going to play too loud, they’re going to be disturbing in the subway.”

Musician Vincent Cross tries out for the "Music Under New York'' program, May 13, 2013. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Musician Vincent Cross tries out for the “Music Under New York” program, May 13, 2013. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Organizers of the event said the subway is the perfect venue for music of all kinds.

“The audience is New Yorkers and visitors and many of our performers will literally stop them in their tracks,” Sandra Bludworth with the MTA’s Arts In Transit told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.

Portia Zwicker with Helvetica Trio said it’s all about reaching hearts, minds and ears.

“Give an unsuspecting audience a taste of music they may not have heard before, or music they think they have to dress up for and pay for expensive tickets,” she told Murnane.

Currently, more than 350 soloists and groups participate in the program, providing over 7,500 annual performances at 30 locations throughout the transit system, according to the MTA’s website.

“The Music Under New York program enlivens the experience of using the transit system,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast. “In New York there is amazing talent almost everywhere you look. Our auditions attract a portion of an enormous talent pool, which enriches the experience for our customers.”

Auditions are being held until 3:30 p.m. at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

Check Out These Other Stories From

Watch & Listen LIVE