Ten Exceptional Musicians Prevail in 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition

INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2017) — Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis, in conjunction with the Band & Orchestral division of Yamaha Corporation of America, has named the winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. Underscoring the company's commitment to music education, the annual YYPA program recognizes exceptional and emerging musicians in the jazz, classical and contemporary genres. In addition to the 10 winners, the judges also selected five honorable mention recipients.
Contestants from across the United States submitted audio and video auditions, as well as support materials, which were evaluated by an expert panel of Yamaha Performing Artists and national celebrity musicians. The winning musicians demonstrated technical skill and artistry on brass, winds, strings and percussion instruments, as well as piano.
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 — 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 2017 Honorable Mentions:
Randy Fultz – bassoon; Rochester, New York
Kei Matsumaru – saxophone; Boston, Mass.
Dylan Rye – trumpet; Fairfax, Virginia
Tanner Jackson – trombone; Rochester, New York
Man-Ling Bai – piano; Fullerton, Calif.
The 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, which will take place during the Music for All™ Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 24-July 1, 2017.
There, the winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage, and will participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. The young artists will also enjoy many other privileges, including services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations. Their experience will be memorialized with a professional recording, as well as photography, of their live performance.
The celebration weekend culminates with the annual YYPA Concert, to be held Monday, June 26, at 8 p.m. at Emens Auditorium. The 2017 YYPA Guest Artist is Yamaha Performing Artist and principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra, Jauvon Gilliam, who will give a special solo performance during the concert. In previous years, featured guest artists have included Dana Leong, trombonist, cellist, and prolific composer; 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.
The 2017 YYPA Winners will join the distinguished company of more than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program's inception. Many have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ricardo Morales, principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alex Han, saxophonist with Marcus Miller; Otis Murphy, professor of saxophone, Indiana University; Conrad Jones, principal trumpet with the Indianapolis Symphony; and Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist.
For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, email jgascho@yamaha.com or visit http://4wrd.it/YYPA.