International Panel of Judges Selected for 2019 Young Texas Artists Music Competition

CONROE, Texas – Dec. 17, 2018 – An elite panel of judges has been selected for the 2019 Young Texas Artists Music Competition, scheduled for March 7-9, 2019,  at the Crighton Theatre, 234 North Main St., in Downtown Conroe.

The competition features musicians between the ages of 18 and 32 who are Texas residents or those attending or affiliated with a Texas college, university or music school. The musicians compete in their choice 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.

“The search for a panel is a very exciting and busy time for us,” said Emelyne Bingham, YTA artistic director. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to meet and interact with some of the best of the best in classical music, it also allows us the chance to meet new artists and renew old friendships with longtime colleagues in this incredible profession.”

Returning to the panel is Eric Mitchko, general director of North Carolina Opera, a young company that collaborates with many arts organizations including Carolina Ballet, Burning Coal Theatre and the UNC Arts and Ideas Seminar. Formerly director of Artistic Administration for The Atlanta Opera and vice president of Columbia Artists Management in New York, Mitchko studied politics and philosophy at both Princeton University and Columbia University. Presently a lecturer on opera, Mitchko has hosted programs on classical radio and provided written music analysis.

Diane Schultz, professor of flute at the School of Music at The University of Alabama, joins the panel in 2019. Formerly a member of the faculty departments of Stephen F. Austin University and Eastern Illinois University, the award-winning flutist and piccoloist’s solo and chamber performances have taken her to the international locales of Austria, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Romania and Russia. A Rotary International Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Schultz has shared her expertise through masterclasses and clinics across the United States as well as in England, Quebec, the Bahamas and Cuba.

Kay Stern, concertmaster of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and professor of Violin and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, returns to provide guidance to the competition’s finalists in 2019. Stern received full scholarships for her Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degree programs at Juilliard School, where she had the honor of studying with Dorothy DeLay, an award-winning violin educator. A teacher and coach at music festivals around the world, Stern has been featured on television and radio, and contributed several articles to Chamber Music America.

Conductor of the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, Kirk Trevor, has agreed to join the panel for the competition’s 35th year. Trevor trained at London’s Guildhall School of Music, graduating cum laude in cello performance and conducting before continuing his studies in France and the United States. A renowned educator and cellist, he has served as director of orchestral studies at the University of Tennessee, as guest teacher at various universities and conservatories around the world, and has been the director of the International Workshop for Conductors held annually in the Czech Republic.

San Antonio native, William Wellborn, pianist, teacher and lecturer, is another panel veteran who returns to the competition to share his knowledge with some of the state’s top classical music performers. A faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1989, he teaches piano in the Pre-College division, and Piano Pedagogy in the Collegiate division. Wellborn earned his Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in performance and Bachelor’s in piano pedagogy from The University of Texas.

“It’s always such a pleasure to meet and interact with the musicians and experts the Young Texas Artists Music Competition brings to Conroe,” Susie Pokorski, president of YTA, said. “Whether a panelist, musician or competition volunteer, we all share one common goal throughout: to promote and support a new generation of classical musicians.”

Applications for the competition must be received by Dec. 31, 2018, and can be found with the accompanying forms and eligibility requirements at The Young Texas Artists Music Competition can be reached or 713-574-9820.

To help sponsor or volunteer for the event contact Pokorski at 936-756-7017 or

About Young Texas Artists
An official music competition of the State of Texas, Young Texas Artists Music Competition is a program of Young Texas Artists, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since its founding in 1983, YTA has encouraged excellence in young musicians, inspired their audiences and helped further the careers of thousands of classical musicians. 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. Young Texas Artists is a member of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance and the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce.

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