Young Texas Artists Announces Schedule Changes, Expanded Programming for 2021-2022

Young Texas Artists (YTA) will re-focus 2021 activities on providing free cultural programs; securing important performance opportunities, increased cash awards and career development for winners of the Young Texas Artists Music Competition; enhancing awareness of YTA across the state; and planning a major YTA arts weekend for March 2022.

Performance Series in 2021

Keynoting the 2021 YTA season will be a series of free performances and lectures geared to heightening enjoyment of the fine arts, especially classical music. These cultural enrichment programs will be presented quarterly in virtual streaming formats and, as possible, before live audiences. The series is enabled by a generous grant from the City of Conroe.

“We are also delighted and grateful that the series will be professionally produced and directed by arts and culture consultant St. John Flynn, former Arts and Culture Director of Houston Public Media, and will also feature interviews with leading arts professionals, performers and personalities,” said Susie Moore Pokorski, President/CEO of Young Texas Artists.

In March 2022, YTA will resume its normal schedule and present the 37th Annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition along with its Finalists’ Concert & Awards and the benefit gala, Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue. These popular events will highlight the YTA Arts Weekend.

Career Development

Also planned for 2021 and 2022 are YTA Career Development Seminars for emerging artists in all disciplines and music appreciation programs presented by YTA Circle, the nonprofit’s cultural outreach group.

Pokorski attributed the 2021 schedule changes to continuing COVID-19 concerns and the need for more cultural opportunities for the community and emerging artists at this time.

“We were grateful to complete the 2020 music competition but so disappointed that the pandemic required the cancellation of the onstage 2020 Finalist’s Concert & Awards and our gala,” said Pokorski. “For competing artists, the positive energy and response from a live audience are vital to their growth and confidence as professional musicians. So we want to use available time now to secure more live performance opportunities with Texas orchestras and operas as additional prizes for the 2020 finalists and future medalists.”

Accomplished grand opera baritone Michael Mayes, a 2004 YTA Gold Medalist, described the initial performance opportunities provided by YTA’s three-day competition and finalists’ concert as invaluable.

“It was really affirming to me as a young artist and coming from Cut and Shoot, Texas, where I grew up singing country, bluegrass, folk music and Southern gospel, to be able to come back and say, ‘Well, this is what I’ve evolved into’ and have my community embrace me. It was a real feeling of, I’m on the right track; I’m doing the right thing.’ That was, I think, the most profound effect, getting a real seal of approval from the community.”

Committed to Mission

To thank supporters of this year’s canceled 2020 gala and finalist’s concert, YTA recently presented a virtual concert evening for them featuring top performances by Competition finalists from 2020 and past years.  In addition, special watch-party dinners were delivered to donors’ residences.

“YTA is excited about the next two years and committed to our mission and vision as a statewide performing arts and career development organization,” said Pokorski. “We urge our treasured supporters to stay positive, be safe and seek the calm and comfort of beautiful music. And we’ll see y’all soon—either virtually or in person. Prepare to be dazzled!”

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