In April, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis and Yamaha Band & Orchestral Division named the winners of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. The musicians were selected on their technical skill and artistry as demonstrated in submitted audio and video auditions. Emphasizing Yamaha’s commitment to music education, the competition recognizes exceptional emerging musicians in the jazz, classical, and contemporary genres.
The 10 2017 YYPA Winners include: Victor Hernandez Ramirez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (flute); He Zhang of Harbin, China (clarinet); Hannah Hickman of Sheldon, Iowa (classical saxophone); Howard Dietz of Morgan Hill, California (jazz saxophone); Michelle Hembree of Boise, Idaho (horn); Altin Sencalar of Temple, Texas (jazz trombone); Cameron Leach of Hilliard, Ohio (concert percussion); Stephen Morris of Aliso Viejo, California (drum set); Derek Louie of New York, New York (cello); and Nathan Ben-Yehuda of Los Angeles, California (piano).
Winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, during the Music for All Summer Symposium, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, June 24-July 1. There, they will perform at a YYPA Concert and participate in workshops to help them toward their professional careers. Other privileges include services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations and professional recordings, as well as photography, of their live performance.
This year’s YYPA Guest Artist is Yamaha Performing Artist and principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra Jauvon Gilliam. He will give a special solo performance during the concert. In previous years, featured guest artists included Dana Leong, trombonist, cellist, and prolific composer; Joe Burgstaller, world-renowned soloist and at The Peabody Institute; and three-time Grammy Award winner Jeff Coffin, saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band.
More than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program’s inception. Many of them have already established successful music careers, 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.