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Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition Winners Perform in Indiana

Mike Lawson • News • July 10, 2017

Last month, the nine winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists competition performed at the 29th annual Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) celebration weekend, which ran from June 24 – 27, 2017 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

The 2017 YYPA winners include:

Victor Hernandez Ramirez – flute; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

He Zhang – clarinet; Harbin, China

Hannah Hickman – classical saxophone; Sheldon, Iowa

Howard Dietz – jazz saxophone; Morgan Hill, Calif.

Michelle Hembree – French horn; Boise, Idaho

Altin Sencalar – jazz trombone; Temple, Texas

Cameron Leach – concert percussion; Hilliard, Ohio

Stephen Morris – drum set; Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Derek Louie – cello; New York, New York

Nathan Ben-Yehuda – piano; Los Angeles, Calif.

The nine winners received an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend, which took place during the Music for All™ Summer Symposium, as well as services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations. On Monday, June 26, the winners finished off the weekend with the annual YYPA Concert at Emens Auditorium.

Featured Yamaha Performing Artist, Jauvon Gilliam, principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra,  also gave a special solo performance during the concert and performed with the nine winners.

“Yamaha is committed to fostering and developing young musical talent,” says John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “The YYPA Program allows us to intersect and spend honest, intentional, one-on-one time with remarkable musicians on the cusp of launching their careers. It’s incredibly rewarding to witness the overpowering impact made at the celebration weekend.”

“What a truly amazing experience [YYPA] was,” said Stephen Morris, 2017 drum set winner. “A simple ‘thank you’ will never sum up the amount of gratitude I have for what Yamaha has done in paying it forward to the next generation of artists. From master classes and workshops, to round table discussions, rehearsals and the concert, it was a blast to hear such inspiring music. I am so thankful for the lessons that I learned.”

Musicians can apply for the 2018 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition here.

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