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Sunday, October 17, 2021

All-star artists to visit Mondavi Center

Former competition winners gather for special reunion concert

The artists performing at the Mondavi Center this Friday might be young, but they will definitely not be lacking in talent. On Feb. 27, the Mondavi Center is presenting a special Young Artists Competition All Stars performance. This reunion performance will feature the 2014 Young Artists Competition winner, pianist Tianpeng Yu, who is now studying at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, as well as previous winners of the competition. Many of the performers have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top” program, a radio program that develops and showcases young classical musicians.

Yu says that he particularly enjoys performing with young musicians because he is able to bond over a passion for music and to help each other develop their talent.

“[Performing with other young musicians] gives me more motivation because we are all in the same process in pursuing the love of music. It gives me much more energy when I play with [young musicians] and talk to them and make friends with them,” Yu said.

Alexi Kenney, a violinist and the 2010 Young Artists Competition Senior Grand Prize winner, shared a similar viewpoint. He said that he always enjoys returning to the Mondavi Center because of the friendly atmosphere and spirit of collaboration.

“To me, music is all about collaboration,” Kenney said. “That’s the beautiful thing about music, that there can be so many different viewpoints and we can all come together and create something greater than the sum of the parts.”

Daren Jackson, a bass baritone opera singer and the 2013 Young Artists Founders Prize winner and winner of an award in the 2014 Southeast Regional Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, agrees with Yu and Kenney.

“The good thing is that you see the next generation coming up and it’s not just you because a lot of opera music, it’s very centered on an older generation. Competitions like these show you other people are trying to do this too, so there can be this new generation of people working in art,” Jackson said.

The all-star performers believe that competitions like the Young Artists Competition are important because they foster the development of budding musicians. Jackson said that it is often for young performers to gain the encouragement that they need and the Mondavi Center does a great job in providing that encouragement.

“When you’re a young person who’s talented, you might not get a lot of [financial] encouragement from other people so competitions like this are really cool in showcasing talent because it shows that there are people who are willing to support artists,” Jackson said.

Kenney, a native of Palo Alto, also enjoys returning to the Mondavi Center for Young Artists performances because he began his music career in Northern California.

“It’s always so nice to perform in a community when you know so many of the people there and everyone’s seen you grown up and it’s really special,” Kenney said. “It’s special that Mondavi has invited me back time and time again and it’s very important in today’s world to have this sort of connection with community.”

The Young Artists Competition All Stars performance will take place in the Vanderhoef Studio Theater Feb. 27. General admission tickets will be $47, with discounts for students.

Photo Courtesy by Mondavi Center. 

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