Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program Recognizes Eleven Outstanding Musicians

From a Yamaha Press Release.

INDIANAPOLIS (June 26, 2019) — The Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) program recognized the 2019 winners during its annual Celebration Weekend, held June 22-25, 2019, at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

The YYPA program was created in 1988 to recognize young, rising stars and provide direction and advice as their careers begin to launch. Each year, hundreds of applicants, between the ages of 18 and 22, are nominated by a university or private teacher, director, professional performer, music dealer or community musical leader. The aspiring young performers then submit applications and recordings, which are evaluated by an expert panel of Yamaha Performing Artists and national celebrity musicians. Many competitions in this realm offer one-time prizes of cash or a performance opportunity. Through the YYPA program, however, Yamaha helps the winners design their future.

xThe 2019 celebration weekend was packed with workshops designed to support the aspiring musicians’ personal development and career goals. Working closely with Yamaha staff members and guest artists, the young artists set goals, developed interview skills and had honest and deep conversations about career paths. The winners also worked closely with Featured Guest Yamaha Performing Artist and renowned international jazz artist, Anders Astrand.

“My time at the YYPA Celebration Weekend was the perfect space and environment for me to launch my professional career. I feel inspired and energized to prioritize my creative vision, while maintaining a practical and sustainable career,” said Cade Gotthardt, 2019 YYPA Trumpet Winner.

The weekend culminated with the prestigious YYPA Celebration Concert during the Music for All Summer Symposium on Monday, June 24, which featured the YYPA Winners and Anders Astrand in solo performance.

“For more than 30 years, the YYPA program has been deeply committed to nurturing and celebrating young musical talent,” said John Wittmann, senior director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “It’s incredibly rewarding to watch the palpable impact made at the celebration weekend, and to witness the careers of these budding musicians flourish from the moment they become a part of our program.”


The 2019 YYPA winners include:

Alejandro Lombo – flute; Miramar, Fla.

Freya Spence – clarinet; London, England

Bhavani Kotha – oboe; Bellevue, Wash.

Eric Zheng – saxophone; Tucson, Ariz.

Cade Gotthardt – trumpet; Long Beach, Calif.

Dave Mosko – trombone; Marlton, N.J.

Connor Rowe – trombone; Lompoc, Calif.

Samuel Vargas – violin; Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela

Austin Keck – percussion; Prosper, Texas

Xinzhu Ma – piano; Shenyang, China

Will Kjeer – piano; Saint Paul, Minn.


With the inclusion of this year’s eleven winners, more than 300 musicians have earned the “YYPA winner” distinction throughout the program’s rich and illustrious history. Many have gone on to highly successful music careers, performing with major jazz groups, playing in top symphony orchestras or teaching at prestigious universities and conservatories. Previous winners include Conrad Jones (2008 YYPA Trumpet Winner), principal trumpet of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Carol Jantsch (2005 YYPA Tuba Winner), principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Kenneth Tse (1994 YYPA Saxophone Winner), professor of saxophone at the University of Iowa; Aaron Parks (2000 YYPA Piano Winner), acclaimed jazz pianist; and Jake Harpster (2010 YYPA Percussion Winner), member of a prominent military ensemble.

“The amount of information I’ve learned not only from the guest artists and staff, but also from listening to the other winners, was very inspiring. Every moment of this experience has been nothing short of incredible,” said Austin Keck, 2019 YYPA Percussion Winner. “I am so honored to enter this legacy with YYPA.”

For instructions on how young musicians can apply for the 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, please visit https://yamaha.io/2JTh8qL. For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists program, please email jgascho@yamaha.com or visit: https://yamaha.io/2BdxRz7

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.