Eleven musicians were named winners of the 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition presented by Yamaha Corp. of America.
The YYPA Competition recognizes outstanding young musicians studying in the United States who excel in jazz, classical and contemporary genres. In addition to this year’s 11 winners, seven individuals were awarded honorable mentions.
“At Yamaha, we are committed to encouraging music makers to share their passion with the world and in turn, inspire others to do the same. The YYPA program is a true reflection of that commitment, and for over 30 years, it has played a vital role in launching the careers of young aspiring musicians,” said John Wittmann, senior director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Relations Group Indianapolis. “This year’s winners are fully deserving of this recognition for their musical talent and accomplishments.”
Each applicant submitted an audio/video audition and support materials, which were 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 2020 YYPA winners are:
- Hunter O’Brien – flute; Shepherd, Michigan; New England Conservatory
- Alec Chai – oboe; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Yale University
- Amer Hasan – clarinet; Tinley Park, Illinois; Oberlin Conservatory of Music
- Salvador Flores – saxophone; Houston, Texas; University of Michigan
- Rico Jones – saxophone; Denver, Colorado; Manhattan School of Music
- Jason Donnelly – euphonium; Oviedo, Florida; University of Miami, Frost School of Music
- Euan Leslie – drum set; Dumfries, Scotland, United Kingdom; Berklee College of Music
- Ashley Ridenour – percussion; Denton, Texas; University of North Texas
- Xizhu Liang – piano; Shanghai, China; Mannes School of Music
- Joe Conticello – piano; Burlington, Connecticut; William Paterson University
- Maya Anjali Buchanan – violin; Rapid City, South Dakota; Curtis Institute of Music
The 2020 YYPA winners join more than 300 exceptional musicians who have been recognized by the program over the past 32 years. Many have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ivy Ringel, principal bassoonist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Paul Cornish, keyboardist with Kanye West; Alexa Tarantino, New York saxophonist, composer, band leader and Yamaha Performing Artist; Carol Jantsch, principal tubist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yamaha Performing Artist; and Stephen Page, associate professor of saxophone at the University of Texas at Austin.
The 2020 Yamaha Young Performing Artists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 20-23, which will take place during the Music for All Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 20-27, 2020.