It’s amazing to think that a group of students so young and diverse could accomplish so much. As I sat in the audience in total awe of each performer and each of their performances, I couldn’t help becoming inspired.

Throughout the evening, inspiration was never in short supply as each young artist on their respective instrument made each single note, each run, each breath of air effortless and crystal clear. It would be foolish though to think that this level of excellence happened overnight. It was the hours of practice that each student put in that enabled the result that came out. What stuck out to me the most was the total finger and breath control each musician had over each note. Because of this, each note felt placed and intentional and not sloppy and frantic.

It seemed as though everyone in the audience was just as mesmerized as me. After each set, every single performer received a standing ovation from the audience. The best part to me though was the look of joy on the young performer’s face, knowing that what they just did was phenomenal, and all those hours of hard work paid off as their talent became acknowledged by their peers of their talent.

2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists

Victor Hernandez Ramirez, Flute – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
He Zhang, Clarinet – Harbin, China
Hannah Hickman, Classical Saxophone – Sheldon, IA
Howard Dietz, Jazz Saxophone – Morgan Hill, CA
Michelle Hembree, Horn – Boise, ID Horn
Altin Sencalar, Jazz Trombone – Temple, TX
Cameron Leach, Concert Percussion – Hilliard, OH
Stephen Morris, Jazz Drum Set – Aliso Viejo, CA
Derek Louie, Cello – New York, NY
Nathan Ben-Yehuda, Classical – Los Angeles, CA

Special Guest
Jauvon Gilliam, Timpani

The Yamaha Young Performing Artists Program (YYPA) recognizes outstanding young musicians from the world of classical, jazz, and contemporary music. Winners of this competition are invited to attend a weekend at the Music for All Summer Symposium, receive a once in a lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage, receive a recording and photos of the live performance, and participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. Winners also enjoy many of the privileges of a Yamaha Artist, including services and communication with Yamaha’s Artist Relations department. Learn more: