Yamaha 2019 Young Performing Artists Competition Winners Announced

February 21, 2019

From a Yamaha Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS – Eleven exceptional musicians have been named the winners of the 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition presented by the Band & Orchestral division of Yamaha Corporation of America.

The YYPA Competition recognizes outstanding young musicians studying in the United States who excel in jazz, classical and contemporary genres. In addition to this year’s 11 winners, six individuals were awarded honorable mentions.

“For over 30 years, Yamaha has acknowledged remarkable, young, aspiring musicians and assisted in launching their careers through the YYPA program. We are committed to encouraging these musicians to share their passion with the world and move others with their sound,” said John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “This year’s winners contribute to the legacy that the YYPA program has upheld and we are proud to shine a spotlight on these young men and women for the musical excellence they have accomplished so early in their careers.”

Each applicant submitted an audio/video audition and support materials, which were evaluated by an expert panel of Yamaha Performing Artists and national celebrity musicians. Winners of the competition demonstrated superior technical skill and artistry on brass, winds, strings, percussion instruments and piano.

The 2019 YYPA Winners include:

Alejandro Lombo – flute; Miramar, Florida; Curtis Institute of Music

Freya Spence – clarinet; London, England; Manhattan School of Music

Bhavani Kotha – oboe; Bellevue, Washington; DePaul University

Eric Zheng – saxophone; Tucson, Arizona; Northwestern University

Cade Gotthardt ­– trumpet; Long Beach, California; California State University, Long Beach

Dave Mosko – trombone; Marlton, New Jersey; Rutgers University

Connor Rowe – trombone; Lompoc, California; The Colburn School

Samuel Vargas – violin; Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela; Columbus State University

Austin Keck ­– percussion; Prosper, Texas; University of Rochester

Xinzhu Ma – piano; Shenyang, China; University of Michigan

Will Kjeer – piano; Saint Paul, Minnesota; California Institute of the Arts

The 2019 YYPA winners join over 300 exceptional musicians who have been recognized by the program over the past 31 years. Many have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Conrad Jones, principal trumpet of the Indianapolis Symphony; Leelanee Sterrett, French horn with the New York Philharmonic; Stephen Page, Yamaha performing artist and faculty at the University of Texas at Austin; Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist; and Kyle Price, artistic director and founder of the Caroga Lake Music Festival and Caroga Arts Collective.

The 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 22-25, 2019, which will take place during the Music for All™ Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 22-29, 2019.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow the young artists to perform in front of thousands, receive national press coverage and participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. The 2019 winners will walk away from this experience with services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations and professional audio and video recordings, as well as photography, of their live performance.

The YYPA Celebration Weekend will culminate at the annual YYPA Concert, which will be held on Monday, June 24 at Emens Auditorium. Yamaha Performing Artist Anders Astrand, a renowned international jazz artist, will perform as the Featured Guest Artist with the winners. In previous years, featured guest artists have included Allen Vizzutti, international trumpet soloist and educator; Jauvon Gilliam, principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra; and three-time Grammy® Award winner Jeff Coffin, saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band.

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, email jgascho@yamaha.com or visit https://yamaha.io/YYPA.


About Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement, commercial installation and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and NEXO commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, MusicCast wireless multiroom audio systems, Blu-ray/CD players, earphones, headphones, home-theater-in-a-box systems, sound bars and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, music, professional audio installation and consumer markets.