A classical competiton
Three-day event in Conroe showcases young musicians from around the state
Young classical musicians from across the state will converge on downtown Conroe through Saturday for the annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition.
The three-day event started Thursday morning with preliminary auditions at the Crighton Theatre and builds up to the conclusion of the event, a finalists’ concert at the Crighton Theatre on Saturday night.
Here are five things to know about the competition as it kicks off.
About the competition
The Young Texas Artists Music Competition, founded in 1983, in Conroe is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit presenter of music competitions and events, career development programs and cultural enrichment outreach. The event has been designated “An Official Music Competition of the State of Texas.”
It is one of the few competitions in the nation with four performance divisions including voice, piano, strings and winds, brass, percussion, harp and guitar. The contest is open to classical artists, ages 18-30 (ages 20-32 for voice), who are Texas residents or affiliated with a Texas music school. While they may be studying at a Texas school, the artists often come from all corners of the world.
Anyone can attend
Attendance for the preliminary rounds is free. The lineup includes strings division preliminaries at 8:30 a.m. Thursday; winds, brass, percussion, harp and guitar at 8:30 a.m. Friday; voice at 2 p.m. and piano at 8 a.m. Saturday. These rounds will all take place at the Crighton Theatre.
Bach, Beethoven and barbecue
This “jeans to jewels” celebration held on Saturday evening supports the annual event and the career development program for emerging artists. “We see
Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue, in many ways, as a two-act production,” said YTA President/CEO Susie Moore Pokorski. “Act 1 is pure Texas with a big party with barbecue, dancing and a live auction. Act 2, our competition’s Finalists’ Concert & Awards, features tremendously talented young musicians vying for a portion of $40,000 in cash prizes. You have breathtaking performances, the suspense of waiting for decisions from our judges and the drama of the awards presentations. All-in-all, it’s an unforgettable night.”
The gala will take place in a tent on Main Street in front of the Crighton Theatre. The concert will take place inside the theater.
The gala begins at 5 p.m. with a barbecue dinner with all of the trimmings, dancing to classic country music by Bill Mock and His 105 Band, and the live auction led by Lyn Howard. The finalists’ concert follows the gala at 7:30 p.m.
The 2023 Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue is nearly sold out. To make reservations immediately, visit https://www.ytamc.com. For more information, call 936-756-7017.
Tickets to the concert may also be purchased at ytamc.com.
A return grand-prize winner
Audience members this year will also experience a performance by guest of honor Anastasia Markina, Dallas Symphony pianist and YTA’s 2007 Grand Prize winner. Markina, born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has performed solo, orchestral and chamber music works in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Russia.
Serving as the concert’s master of ceremonies will be St. John Flynn, former Arts and Culture Director for Houston Public Media. Flynn currently is a writer, speaker and arts and culture consultant.
Celebrating the event
Since 1998, Susie Moore Pokorski, of Conroe, has chaired the three-day competition. This year’s festivities will celebrate her 25year tenure.
“I fell head over heels in love,” Pokorski said when she chaired her first competition. “I thought this was the most fun thing.”
And even after 25 years of leading the competition, Susie Pokorski said she still feels that magic.
“There’s something so inspiring about seeing a young person who is so passionate and so excellent in performance,” she said. “They’ve polished their performances and they want to give to the audience. They want to share the beauty that they’ve found in the music with others.”
Visit ytamc.com for full details on the event.