Yamaha Names Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition Winners

Mike Lawson • News • March 29, 2018

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Eleven young musicians have been named the winners of the 2018 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition, presented by the Band & Orchestral division of Yamaha Corporation of America.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the YYPA Competition recognizes music students studying in the United States who excel in jazz, classical and contemporary genres. In addition to this year’s 11 winners, 11 individuals were awarded with honorable mentions.

“For three decades, Yamaha has been recognizing the extraordinary talents of young aspiring musicians, many of whom have gone on to promising careers,” said John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “This year’s winners will build upon this legacy and we are proud to highlight these young men and women for the musical excellence they have achieved in the early stages of their professional lives.”

Each contestant submitted an audio/video audition and support material that was 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 2018 YYPA Winners include: Abby Easterling (flute, Grapevine, Texas), Sara Han (clarinet, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Eder Rivera (oboe, San Pedro Sula, Honduras), Eric Nakanishi (saxophone, Pleasant Hill, California), Joseph Tkach (trumpet, Leander, Texas), Ian Kaufman (trombone, San Diego, California), Joshua Brown (violin, Gurnee, Illinois), Cole Davis (upright bass, New York, New York), Chin-Li Sophia Lo (percussion, Fremont, California), Carles Pereira (drum set, Barcelona, Spain), and Angie Zhang  (piano, Princeton, New Jersey).

The 2018 YYPA winners join 300 musicians who have been recognized by the program over the past 30 years. The 2018 Yamaha Young Performing Artists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 23 to 26, 2018, which will take place during the Music for All Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 25 to 30, 2018.

This 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 YYPA Celebration Weekend will culminate at the annual YYPA Concert, which will be held on Monday, June 25 at Emens Auditorium. Allen Vizzutti, international trumpet soloist, educator and longtime Yamaha Performing Artist, will perform as the Featured Guest Artist with the winners. In previous years, featured guest artists have included Jauvon Gilliam, principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra; Joe Burgstaller, world-renowned soloist and distinguished faculty at The Peabody Institute; and three-time Grammy Award winner Jeff Coffin, saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band.

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