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Yamaha Picks Young Performing Artists

Talented young artists from across the country were honored recently as Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, announced the winners of the 2004 Yamaha Young Performing Artist (YYPA) program. The program goes hand-in-hand with the Bands of America (BOA) Summer Symposium and serves as its kickoff concert.

This year’s national awards concert was held Monday evening, June 21 at Braden Auditorium on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, IL. Winners were guests of Yamaha for a weekend of rehearsals, master classes, special awards concerts and social events.

The YYPA program is designed to provide early career recognition for outstanding young musicians in the United States. Hundreds of applicants, ages 16-21, apply annually and undergo a rigorous taped audition process for a panel of national celebrity musicians. The 2004 winners join a total of more than 150 others who have earned the distinction since the program’s inception in 1989. Many have received scholarships to prestigious universities and conservatories, or are playing professionally with major jazz groups and top symphony orchestras.

Clarinetist Richard Hawkins, a 1990 winner, has performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra and is currently principal clarinetist in the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra, while 1990 saxophone winner Walter Blanding has recorded an album, performed on The Tonight Show and been hired for Wynton Marsalis’ band. In addition, 1994 saxophone winner Kenneth Tse studied under world-renowned saxophonist Eugene Rousseau, released four critically acclaimed CDs, has been signed as a Yamaha Artist and is a professor of saxophone at the University of Iowa.

The 2004 winners are:

Kris Becker • Piano • Altamont, IL • Graduate, University of Illinois

Adam Bhatia • Trumpet • Long Beach, CA • UCLA

Jasmine Choi • Flute • Philadelphia, PA • The Curtis Institute of Music

Michael Dease • Trombone • Augusta, GA • The Juilliard School

Jack Cozen Harel • Oboe • San Francisco, CA • San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Pamela Harris • Horn • Fairbanks, AK • University of Alaska, Fairbanks

Christopher Hopkins • Cello • Fairbanks, AK • The Juilliard School

Stephen Page • Saxophone • Stuart, FL • University of Minnesota

Matt Prendergast Marimba • Boston, MA • Boston Conservatory

Anna Marie Wytko • Saxophone • Tempe, AZ • Graduate, University of Minnesota

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, write Yamaha Corporation of America, Band & Orchestral Division, 39 West Jackson Place, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46225; call (317) 524-6270; e-mail [email protected]; or visit

Originally Published