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Young Musicians to Compete at Crighton Theatre

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Some of the world’s most talented young musicians will take the stage at Conroe’’s Crighton Theatre to perform the works of the masters of classical music at the Young Texas Artists Music Competition held on March 9 through 11, 2017. Now in its 33rd year, the competition – open to artists aged 18-30 who live in Texas or are students at a Texas college, university or music school – received applications from throughout the U.S., Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Venezuela.

“The goal of Young Texas Artists is to help provide a launching pad for the careers of classical pianists, opera singers and symphony orchestra members by celebrating and supporting future generations of musicians from the Lone Star State,” said Susie Pokorski, YTA chairman. “Over the years, the Young Texas Artists Music Competition has been described as one of the best cultural events in Montgomery County, and that is something of which we’re extremely proud.”

The public is encouraged to attend the preliminary auditions that kick off the three-day competition, which begin at 9 a.m. at the Crighton Theatre, located at 234 North Main St., on each day of the event. The auditions are free to attend and can help provide guidance to future artists.

“”These auditions are fabulous opportunities for budding classical musicians in the Conroe area to see the competition’s process firsthand,”” Pokorski said.

Emelyne Bingham, YTA’s artistic director, agrees. “”You cannot get enough audition experience,”” she said. “”Auditioning is a skill that calls for communicating the very best you can in a high-pressure situation.””

Members of this year’s panel of internationally acclaimed judges include: Miyoko Lotto, faculty member at Manhattan School of Music; William Florescu, general director of Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company; Maria Schleuning, a violinist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Voices of Change; Cynthia Estill, principal bassoonist of the Nashville Symphony (retired); and Elizabeth Buccheri, head of music for the Opera Program at the Aspen Music Festival & School. The panel will select the winners and, in a unique service to the artists, provide performance critiques.

Those attending the Finalists’ Concert & Awards will have an opportunity to get in on the judging action by casting their votes for the Audience Choice Award.

The musicians compete in one 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.

Bingham said she’s very proud of the caliber of judges the competition provides each year. “”Our judges, who draw upon vast experience in their fields, base their decisions on the contestants’ technical ability and artistry,”” she said.

The three-day competition will culminate in a Texas-style Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue gala scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at Martin’s Hall, 219 Simonton St., in downtown Conroe. The event, YTA’s major fundraiser for the year, features Texas barbecue, entertainment and a live auction, and immediately precedes the competition’s Finalists’ Concert and Awards at the nearby Crighton Theatre, which begins at 7:30.

““It’s a fantastic evening,”” Pokorski said. “It’s very unique, very Texas and very elegant in a down-home way.”

Pokorski and Bingham added that they’re grateful for the support of YTA’s talented staff, dedicated volunteers, event sponsors and the community as a whole.

Tickets are available at, and are priced at $28 for adults and $16 for students for the Finalists’ Concert and Awards, and $150 for the gala, which includes the barbecue, concert and after-party.

About the Young Texas Artists Music Competition

An official music competition of the State of Texas, Young Texas Artists, Inc. has, since its founding in 1983, encouraged excellence in young musicians, inspired their audiences and helped provide a launching pad for thousands of classical music careers. It is one of the few competitions in the country that features four divisions: Voice; Piano; Strings; and Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar. This Texas competition for Texas artists has helped produce many distinguished professionals who have gone on to join orchestras, opera companies, universities and music schools around the world. The Young Texas Artists Music Competition is a member of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance.