Young Texas Artists Explores Contemporary Classical Music

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – September 10, 2021 – Followers of the fine arts organization Young Texas Artists (YTA), best known for the YTA Music competition, will have an opportunity to experience and better understand the energy and creativity of contemporary classical music when YTA presents the third episode of its free video series, YTA Insights—A Journey Into the World of Classical Music, this month.

Episode 3, Understanding Contemporary Classical Music, will be available to watch at 7 p.m. CDT Sunday, Sept. 19, on YTA’s Facebook page,

“Contemporary classical music can be exhilarating, thought-provoking and moving,” said Susie Moore Pokorski, President/CEO of Young Texas Artists. “Music lovers sometimes shy away from contemporary music, possibly because it doesn’t always adhere to the form and structure listeners have come to expect from traditional classical works — and even other music genres. But contemporary works also breathe new life and ideas into classical music. They help audiences connect with powerful emotions. Many will find they’re truly worth experiencing.”

Understanding Contemporary Classical Music includes interviews with:

  • Houston-based composer Mark Buller, who has received commissions from such ensembles as the Houston Chamber Choir, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO), Houston Grand Opera and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; and
  • Alecia Lawyer, the founder, artistic director, and principal oboist of ROCO, which has commissioned 118 new works in its 16-year existence.

Performances during the video include:

  • ROCO presenting its commissioned composition by Buller: “Whirligig;”
  • The Houston Chamber Choir performing Buller’s setting of “O Magnum Mysterium;” and
  • Marimba player Justin Douté, YTA’s 2018 Grand Prize winner and Gold Medalist in Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar, presenting “Prism Rhapsody” by contemporary Japanese composer Keiko Abe.

Throughout the video’s Sept. 19 debut on Facebook, viewers are invited to share thoughts and questions for series producer and host St. John Flynn, who will be monitoring the video post’s comments and responding.

Flynn, former Arts and Culture Director for Houston Public Media, currently is a writer, speaker, and arts and culture consultant.

“There is this perception that contemporary classical music is wild and crazy with people banging on things and screaming,” Flynn said. “One of the things that I hope this episode of YTA Insights will do is let people see that contemporary composers are very much working within the same traditions of classical music that composers have been working in for hundreds of years.

“Well-known composers like Mozart and Beethoven were contemporary classical composers in their day,” Flynn added. “Beethoven was influenced by the music he was hearing in the same way that composers today are influenced by the music they hear around them whether it’s classical music, jazz, the blues, or non-Western forms of music.”

YTA Insights has been made possible by a grant from the City of Conroe.

The series will continue this November with its fourth and final episode.

About Young Texas Artists:

Young Texas Artists, founded in 1983, is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit presenter of music competitions and events, career development programs and cultural enrichment outreach. The nationally acclaimed Young Texas Artists Music Competition and the YTA Career Development Program provide professional guidance, mentoring and highly sought performance experience. An Official Music Competition of the State of Texas, it is one of the few competitions in the nation with four performance divisions: Voice; Piano; Strings; and Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar. The YTA contest is open to classical artists, ages 18-32 (20-32 for Voice), who are Texas residents or affiliated with a Texas music school.  Over the years, Young 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, the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Cultural Trust and Texas for the Arts.

Young Texas Artists, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded and headquartered in Conroe, Montgomery County.


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