The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

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The first out of a week-long evening concert series, the 2013 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Concert was a powerful, beautiful and magically musical closing to our first day of the full-week Music for All Summer Symposium. Our 1000+ campers filed into BSU's Emens Auditorium, but I'll bet very few, if any, knew exactly what kind of treat was in store.

The Yamaha Young Performing Artists program, known as YYPA (pronounced YIP-pa), began in 1988, with last night's concert marking its 25th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, composer David P. Sartor composed a special trumpet fanfare that was performed by 2013 YYPA winner, Josh Gilbert, and two former YYPA winners, Stephen Bottom (1994) and Chad Winkler (1995).

trumpet-trioPerforming the trumpet fanfare, "Prologue," from left to right: Chad Winkler, Stephen Bottom and Josh Gilbert

YYPA is an annual competitive program designed to recognize outstanding young musicians, ages 16-21, from the world of classical, jazz and contemporary music. Winners are invited to attend an all-expense paid YYPA Celebration Weekend, where they perform in Emens Auditorium with national press coverage, attend an awards ceremony, and participate in professional workshops and clinics designed to launch a professional music career. This year's eleven YYPA winners, listed below, underwent an extensive audition process and were selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants from across the country.

Xue Su, Cincinnati, OH - Flute
Ron Cohen Mann, New York, NY - Oboe
Danny Mui, Kalamazoo, MI - Clarinet
Tsz Kiu Kwok, Iowa City, IA - Saxophone
Alekos Syropoulos, Ann Arbor, MI - Jazz Saxophone
Joshua Gilbert, Lexington, MA - Jazz Trumpet
Markus Osterlund, Honolulu, HI - Horn
Joe LeFevre, Kalamazoo, MI - Tuba
Johnathan Hulett, South Miami, FL - Jazz Drum Set
Addison Frei, Oviedo, FL - Jazz Piano
Kanako Shimasaki, Springfield, OH - Violin

While helping to seat YYPA winners' families in the auditorium, I enjoyed brief conversation with some of them. It was awesome to hear how proud these families felt and how excited they were to see their young musician perform that night.

And for good reason. These performers were, simply put, astonishing. From a drum set jam session and a beautifully soothing clarinet piece to a sassy violin tune and a musical montage of flute, humming and beat-boxing, the concert showcased an array of diverse, naturally talented and well-disciplined emerging artists. I am confident that if each of this year's YYPA winners continue to pursue their craft, they have bright futures ahead of them.

Former YYPA winners have gone on to highly successful careers, becoming faculty at universities, members of prestigious ensembles and recording artists. Many have become Yamaha Performing Artists and Clinicians.

The concert also gave campers a special chance to see some of their Symposium faculty perform, as Sammy K, Jeremy Allen and Luke Gillespie were featured onstage for select jazz numbers.

jazz-with-alekos-syropoulosLuke Gillespie (piano), Jeremy Allen (bass) and Sammy K (drums) performing with YYPA winner Alekos Syropoulos

The evening exemplified the incredible musical talent of our nation's youth, exactly what we strive to create, provide and expand through the Music for All programs. The YYPA concert operates in conjunction with the Summer Symposium, and Music for All is proud to have the program continue in our relationship with Yamaha Corporation of America. A special thank you to our camp participants—you guys were a great audience!

all-onstageAll 2013 YYPA Concert Performers

Ron-Cohen-Mann-with-JohnYYPA winner Ron Cohen Mann pictured with John Wittmann, Director of Artist Relations, Yamaha Corporation of America, at the post-concert reception

For more information about YYPA, follow "Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition" on Facebook.

Think YOU might have what it takes to be a Yamaha Young Performing Artist? Check their website,, to learn more and apply.

-Carolyn T.

Carolyn Tobin is the Marketing Intern at Music for All. Drawn to all that is digital media, she was an award-recipient of the NMU Tube Student Video Contest and was named the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Communications and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University. She is a devout runner, and has also enjoyed blogging about her adventures living in Spain and Argentina. Carolyn is a music, dance and color guard enthusiast, the former color guard section leader of Legends Drum & Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo, and she has served on the guard staff for Legends and for Marian University in Indianapolis.

Published in Stories

oconnor_webMusic for All is proud to announce that Grammy Award-winning violinist/composer/fiddler Mark O'Connor will be guest soloist with the Honor Orchestra of America at the 2011 Music for All National Festival, March 17-19 in Indianapolis. Larry J. Livingston, University of Souther California, will conduct.

MFA has also extended the application/audition deadline for strings for the 2011 Honor Orchestra until October 15.

If you are familiar with O'Connor, then you already know how exciting this is. If not, here's just a sample of what folks say about his performances:

"One of the most spectacular journeys in recent American music." —New York Times

"One of the most talented and imaginative... working in music -- any music -- today." —Los Angeles Times

"Brilliantly original." —Seattle Times

O'Connor is widely recognized as one of the most gifted contemporary composers in America and surely one of the brightest talents of his generation. The Seattle Times writes: "No matter what he plays, when you’re listening to O’Connor, you know you’re listening to genius." Mark O'Connor incorporates many musical styles and genres into a sound that is uniquely his own. As noted by The Los Angeles Times, Mark O’Connor has "crossed over so many boundaries, that his style is purely personal."

The Honor Orchestra of America will perform two shared concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at Hilbert Circle Theatre, March 18 and 19.

Learn more about the orchestra and download the application and audition requirements.

Published in News