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Young Texas Artists Music Competition, March 12-14

Classical music “maverick” Jade Simmons will conduct interviews with the Competition finalists on March 14.

Classical music “maverick” Jade Simmons will conduct interviews with the Competition finalists on March 14.

31st Annual Event Will Fill Crighton Theatre With The Sound Of Music

The 31st annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition (YTA), hosted by the Montgomery County Performing Arts Society, is set for March 12-14 at the Crighton Theatre, 234 N. Main in downtown Conroe.

Susie Pokorski, chair of the Young Texas Artists Music Competition, has announced that renowned classical concert pianist, author, lecturer and arts entrepreneur Jade Simmons will join the competition’s Finalists’ Concert and Awards at the Crighton Theatre.

“We are thrilled to have Jade join us again for the Finalists’ Concert and Awards,” said Pokorski. “She was very popular with the audience at the last competition, and delighted all of us with her entertaining conversations with the finalists.” Simmons, known as “Classical Music’s #1 Maverick,” will conduct on-stage interviews with the finalists at the concert, set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, preceded by the Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue gala.

Simmons said that competitions are often a large part of a young artist’s early career. “What sets YTA apart is that it is a celebration of young talent – not a place for musicians to battle it out,” she said. “What YTA offers is an invaluable bridge to young artists: a chance for them to turn those solitary hours in a practice room into dynamic moments of interaction between themselves and their audience. The YTA stage becomes a place where each artist finds out what it is about their artistry that moves audiences. That’s priceless information for a budding career.”

The musicians compete in their choice of four divisions: Voice; Piano; Strings; and Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar. Professional performance opportunities and $20,000 in monetary prizes will be awarded.

Unique to YTA, a panel of five distinguished judges, all esteemed leaders in their respective disciplines, will provide valuable, written critique to all competitors. Returning judges Becky Brown (artistic director, Da Camera Society of Texas), Roger Pines (dramaturg, Lyric Opera of Chicago) and Daniel Cataneo(pianist, faculty at the Dalcroze Institute at the Juilliard School) will be joined by Larry Hutchinson (bassist, Detroit Symphony Orchestra) and John Ellis (pianist, director of graduate studies in piano pedagogy, University of Michigan).

“Launching a performance career can be daunting. That’s why YTA exists,” said Emelyne Bingham, noted conductor, teacher and YTA artistic director. “YTA is here to provide young artists with a thoughtful critique from experienced judges who are top of their field. We are here to show our support to these students at a pivotal point in their studies and provide them with encouragement. We are here to show how music can forge new connections and unite an entire community.”

“For 31 years, the local music community in Conroe has opened their hearts – and their homes – to these young performers. Last year, nearly half of the competitors actually stayed in the homes of YTA volunteers,” said Susie Pokorski. “Many lasting friendships were started with this simple show of love and support.”

Preliminary rounds, which are free and open to the public, take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 12, 13 and 14). The Finalists’ Concert and Awards ceremony, featuring the top two finalists from each category will take place at the Crighton Theatre Saturday evening, March 14. Gold and Silver Medals will be awarded for each division, and a Grand Prize and Audience Choice award will be presented.

The YTA showcases talented musicians and vocalists, ages 18-32, who are Texas residents or students enrolled in a Texas college, university or music school.

“I would recommend any young musician to take part in YTA,” said Allyson Goodman, 2013 YTA Grand Prize Winner and principal violist for the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. “It helped me on my professional journey by giving me performance experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had. YTA gave me the opportunity to further shape myself into the type of performer I strive to be.”

The fourth annual Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue gala will be held the evening of the Finalists’ Concert and Awards just outside the Crighton Theatre under a Texas-sized tent at 5:30 p.m. Gala tickets are $125 and include preferred seating at the concert. Concert-only tickets are $28. To purchase tickets to the Gala or the YTA event, go to crightontheatre.org. More information on the Music Competition is available at youngtexasartists.org. To inquire about sponsorships, donate or volunteer, contact Susie Pokorski at 936-756-7017 or susiepokorski@gmail.com.

Young Texas Artists Music Competition

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