Boston Conservatory at Berklee Student He Zhang Named 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artist

April 21, 2017

Conservatory student He Zhang (B.M. '17, clarinet) has been named a winner of the 2017 Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition. The YYPA program has honored promising 18- to 22-year-old artists every year since it began in 1988.

A resident of Harbin, China, Zhang received a full scholarship to attend the Conservatory, and is studying with Michael Norsworthy, chair of woodwinds. Zhang began his music education at the Shenyang Conservatory, where his primary teacher was Professor Dejun Dong. He played regularly in master classes for clarinetists from around the world, including Reiner Wehle, Eli Eban, Gabor Varga, and Robert Spring. In 2010, he won the solo first prize in the Eighth China International Clarinet Arts Festival and in 2011, he won third prize in the Clarinet Major Competition of the Beijing Central Conservatory as the youngest competitor. In 2016, Zhang achieved honorable mention in the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition. That same year, he was accepted by the Asian Youth Orchestra to play clarinet and perform throughout Asia. He won the Boston Conservatory’s Orchestra Competition at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in 2013. He also played with the New England Philharmonic Orchestra in Tsai Performance Center at Boston University. In 2016, Zhang played with the Asian Youth Orchestra in several performances at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, Beijing National Centre for Performing Arts, Tianjin Grand Theatre, Singapore Esplanade Concert and Conference Hall, Hanoi National Academy Concert Hall, Taipei National Concert Hall, Chiayi City Cultural Center, Nagoya Aichi Prefecture Arts Center, Ayase Bunka Kaikan, and Tokyo Ueno Bunka Kaikan.

“The YYPA Program is a significant opportunity for young musicians who are embarking on careers as professionals, and one of the most visible and distinctive ways that Yamaha offers valuable support for music education,” said John Wittmann, director of education and artist relations, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. “We are pleased to honor He at this pivotal stage in his career.”

Winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend June 24-27, 2017, which will take place during the Music for All™ Summer Symposium, to be held at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, from June 24-July 1, 2017. There, the winners will receive a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity in front of thousands, national press coverage, and will participate in workshops designed to launch a professional music career. The concert will be memorialized with a professional recording and photography, and winners will enjoy many other privileges, including services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations. The 2017 YYPA Guest Artist is Yamaha Performing Artist and principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra, Jauvon Gilliam, who will also give a special solo performance at the concert.

The 2017 YYPA winners join a distinguished company of more than 250 talented musicians who have been recognized since the program’s inception. Many have established successful music careers, both as performers and educators, including Ricardo Morales, principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Alex Han, saxophonist with Marcus Miller; Otis Murphy, professor, Indiana University; Conrad Jones, principal trumpeter with the Indianapolis Symphony; and Aaron Parks, acclaimed jazz pianist.