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Young Concert Artists Announces 60th Anniversary Programming for Fall 2020

October 15, 2020 | By Andrew Ousley
Unison Media

The season opens with a livestreamed performance from Merkin Hall on October 21, featuring three YCA alums and five current YCA artists, including the first-ever saxophonist on YCA’s roster

YCA’s Final Auditions will be livestreamed November 8, and the Winners Concert will be livestreamed on November 9

On December 9, pianist Aristo Sham will have his YCA debut concert livestreamed from Merkin Hall

The Fall season follows a highly successful virtual gala, an impactful panel discussion of the Black experience in classical music, and an organizational rebrand around the vision of new President Daniel Kellogg

New York, NY – For Immediate Release – Young Concert Artists (YCA)

Young Concert Artists (YCA) is proud to announce its Fall 2020 season of programming, that both reaffirms its core commitment to discovering and launching the careers of exceptional young musicians, while also offering an array of creative solutions towards managing and presenting artists amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 60th Anniversary Season programming opens with an October 21 livestreamed performance from Merkin Hall, featuring current YCA artists, alums, and a world premiere. YCA’s world-renowned artist auditions will continue with a Final Round on November 8, and a Winners Concert on November 9—both livestreamed on YCA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Later in the season, on December 9, pianist Aristo Sham will have his YCA debut concert livestreamed from Merkin Hall.

The 60th-Anniversary Season will open on October 21 with a performance livestreamed from the Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Hall, featuring three YCA alums and five current YCA artists, including the first-ever saxophonist on the YCA roster. The program includes solo Bach and chamber works by Ravel, Handel, Higdon, and more, as well as the world premiere of Partita for solo violin by YCA composer Chris Rogerson. 

YCA’s famously rigorous auditions process continues in the Fall with a final round taking place on November 8 and a Winners Concert on November 9. Both events will be livestreamed. The jury of this final round represents a cross-section of industry luminaries, confirmed as of October 14, 2020 to include YCA President and Jury Chair Daniel Kellogg, cellist Wolfram Koessel, violinist Jennifer Koh, conductor Rossen Milanov, flutist Tara O’Connor, pianist Orli Shaham, San Francisco Performances President Melanie Smith, trombonist Weston Sprott, conductor Michael Stern, MetLiveArts General Manager Limor Tomer, and YCA founder Susan Wadsworth. 

YCA has continued to find creative opportunities to support its artists throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the spring, YCA was able to redirect a portion of its budget to provide emergency relief grants to artists. With the creation of the Keep Our Artists Working Fund in June, YCA expanded its services to support the next wave of innovative music-making as its artists break ground with new collaborations, models for interactive educational residencies, virtual performances, and more. YCA exceeded its $150,000 fundraising goal in August, which has so far enabled Keep Our Artists Working to provide grants, mentorship, technology support, and studio time to 10 new projects. Further demonstrating the support and ongoing enthusiasm of YCA’s community, a generous board member gave $500,000 in August to help YCA fulfill its mission during these turbulent times.

In June, YCA hosted “Learning To Listen”, a roundtable discussion organized by three BIPOC artists on YCA’s roster that created space for conversation around the nuances of the Black experience in classical music and beyond. Additionally, violinist Randall Goosby was recently signed to Decca Classics, and will release his debut album celebrating African-American composers in Spring 2021. YCA composer Katherine Balch also recently won the Rome Prize as well as a Dallas Symphony Career Advancement Award.

Under the new leadership of Daniel Kellogg, who took over as President following founder Susan Wadsworth’s retirement in 2019, the organization entered its next chapter with a new logo, website, and vision. In anticipation of the 60th Anniversary Season, YCA reimagined its postponed May 2020 Gala as a Virtual Celebration of the Annaliese Soros Educational Residency Program. Held in September 2020, the evening featured intimate musical performances and video tributes from around the world. This celebratory season will conclude with a May 9, 2021 Gala honoring YCA founder Susan Wadsworth.

Listing Information

October 21 at 7:30pm ET

60th Anniversary Season Opening Night

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Livestreamed on YCA Facebook and YouTube & The Violin Channel Facebook


SooBeen Lee, violin winner of the 2014 auditions

Jonathan Swensen, cello winner of the 2018 auditions

Xavier Foley, cello winner of the 2016 auditions

Ben Beilman, violin winner of the 2010 auditions

Albert Cano Smit, piano winner of the 2019 auditions

Steven Banks, saxophone winner of the 2019 auditions

Ursula Oppens, piano winner of the 1968 auditions

Susan Rotholz, flute winner of the 1988 auditions


November 8 at 10:00am ET

2020 YCA International Auditions - Final Round

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Livestreamed on YCA Facebook and YouTube & The Violin Channel Facebook


November 9 at 7:00pm ET

2020 YCA International Auditions - Winners Concert

Cary Hall at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music

Livestreamed on YCA Facebook and YouTube & The Violin Channel Facebook


December 9 at 7:30pm ET

Aristo Sham, piano (YCA debut)

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Livestreamed on YCA Facebook and YouTube & The Violin Channel Facebook


About Young Concert Artists

Each year, through a rigorous audition process, Young Concert Artists chooses a new group of exceptional young musicians to add to its roster with the promise of debuts in both New York City and Washington, D.C. followed by at least three years of career management. This includes providing performance opportunities, promotional and marketing services, travel arrangements, educational residency experience, and extensive professional development. 

Founded in 1961 by Susan Wadsworth, Young Concert Artists has presented nearly 300 artist debut concerts, has commissioned more than 30 compositions from YCA composers, and has facilitated thousands of residencies through the Annaliese Soros Educational Residency Program.


About YCA President Daniel Kellogg

Daniel Kellogg steps into the leadership role of Young Concert Artists with the unique perspective of an alumnus of Young Concert Artists, one of the extraordinary musicians whose careers were discovered and launched to prominence by this innovative non-profit organization. Chosen as YCA Composer-in-Residence in 2002, Daniel Kellogg was a member of the Young Concert Artists roster for ten years. His compositions have been premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, at the Aspen Music Festival, and by the Takacs Quartet and eighth blackbird. He holds degrees in music composition from the Curtis Institute of Music and the Yale School of Music, and served as the Head of Composition at the University of Colorado, College of Music from 2005 to 2019. He has also served as Composer-in-Residence for the South Dakota Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, and Lexington Philharmonic.




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