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Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program Shines Spotlight on Nine Outstanding Young Musicians

  (July 16, 2014)
Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program Shines Spotlight on Nine Outstanding Young Musicians


The 26th annual Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Program was held June 21-23, 2014 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis, in conjunction with Yamahas Band and Orchestral Division, announced the 2014 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition Winners. Since 1988, the YYPA Program has recognized outstanding young jazz, classical and contemporary musicians.

The 2014 YYPA Winners include:
Annie Wu - Flute - Pleasanton, California
Katsuya Yuasa - Clarinet - San Jose, California
Alexa Tarantino - Jazz Saxophone - West Hartford, Connecticut
Stuart Mack - Jazz Trumpet - Washington, Illinois
Seong Jin Ray Han - Horn - Interlochen, Michigan
Michael Swiren - Tuba - Maple Glen, Pennsylvania
Jake Chapman - Jazz Vibraphone - Los Angeles, California
Mariko Shimasaki - Violin - Springfield, Ohio
Ade Irawan - Jazz Piano - Los Angeles, California

Winners received an all-expense paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend, which included rehearsals, master classes, social events, and workshops focused on how to establish and propel a career in music. Linda Mark, world-class pianist for the event, and Yamaha Saxophone Artist Jeff Rupert offered advice on how to collaborate in performance. John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis, offered the winners a unique and challenging session regarding goals, relationships, and lessons learned from his time in the music industry.

Through YYPA, I was able to acquire an understanding that Yamaha has an unmatched dedication to music education, and offers invaluable insight and advice to the community, said Katsuya Yuasa of his experience. They are willing to share interesting perspectives on the music industry through leadership sessions and give young performing artists the chance to connect, gain exposure, and work side-by-side with professional artists. I learned so many valuable lessons, and I cannot thank Yamaha enough for welcoming me to their family.

Yamaha Performing Artist Dana Leong served as the 2014 featured guest artist. Leong, a New York City-based cellist and trombonist, is known for blending jazz, classical, and pop sounds, developing signature sound that is unique in the realm of contemporary music. He also offered the winners valuable insight into the music industry and joined the 2014 Jazz Winners in a collaborative performance at the end of the 2014 YYPA Concert.

Also during the event, Mark, Leong and nine additional Yamaha Artists gathered with the seven winners present for the weekend festivities for a roundtable discussion, offering stories, advice, and wisdom in connection with a successful career in the music community.

YYPA was a total whirlwind an inspiring and eye-opening experience, said jazz saxophonist, Alexa Tarantino. The biggest thing I will take away from YYPA is that at the end of the day, it all comes down to being a good person.

This years winners join the ranks of more than 200 former YYPA Winners, who have gone on to establish successful music careers since the programs inception. They were chosen from a competitive pool of jazz, classical, and contemporary young musicians, ages 18-22, by a panel of national celebrity musicians and Yamaha Performing Artists. This years YYPA Concert was held on Monday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. in Emens Auditorium on the campus of Ball State University, and served as the kick-off concert for the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.

Supporting young musicians and music education is the core of what we do at Yamaha, said John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. This program has helped recognize, encourage, and steer young musicians toward even greater excellence in their professional careers.

For more information about the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program, email or visit

Photo caption: YYPA Winners who attended the annual event: Back row, left to right: Jake Chapman, Michael Swiren, Katsuya Yuasa; Front row, left to right: Stuart Mack, Alexa Tarantino, Mariko Shimasaki, Ade Irawan


About Yamaha
Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) is one of the largest subsidiaries of Yamaha Corporation, Japan and offers a full line of award-winning musical instruments, sound reinforcement and home entertainment products to the U.S. market. Products include: Yamaha acoustic, digital and hybrid pianos, portable keyboards, guitars, acoustic and electronic drums, band and orchestral instruments, marching percussion products, synthesizers, professional digital and analog audio equipment, Steinberg recording products and Nexo commercial audio products, as well as AV receivers, amplifiers, Blu-ray/CD players, iPod docking systems, home-theater-in-a-box systems, earphones, headphones, sound bars, and its exclusive line of Digital Sound Projectors. YCA markets innovative, finely crafted technology and entertainment products and musical instruments targeted to the hobbyist, education, worship, professional music, installation and consumer markets.

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