CalArts student wins national competition

California Institute of the Arts Student Will Kjeer was recently selected as a winner of the 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artist (YYPA) Competition.

The annual program seeks to honor outstanding young musicians studying in the United States who excel in jazz, classical and contemporary genres, according to a news release. The prestigious event is conducted by Yamaha, the world’s largest musical instrument manufacturer.

Kjeer is one of only 11 musicians selected nationwide to earn the distinction of a YYPA award winner.

“For more than 30 years, the YYPA program has supported music education and helped foster the careers of young, aspiring musicians,” said John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education, Yamaha Artist Services. “We are thrilled to honor Will for his remarkable talent at this phase of his music career and watch as he builds upon the YYPA legacy in his path to a promising future.”

Kjeer is a pianist and composer based in California who has performed at venues throughout North America, including the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal, Quebec.

The Minnesota native was the winner of the 2018 Angel City Jazz Festival Young Artist Competition, and plans to graduate from CalArts in May.

As a result of their awards, Kjeer and the other 2019 YYPA winners each receives an all-expense-paid trip to the YYPA Celebration Weekend from June 22-25.

“This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will allow the young artists to perform in front of thousands, receive national press coverage and participate in workshops designed to help them launch a professional music career,” according to the news release.

The 2019 winners will also perform with renowned international jazz artist Anders Astrand at the annual YYPA Concert on Monday, June 24, meaning Kjeer and other awardees will walk away from the experience with services and support from Yamaha Artist Relations and professional audio and video recordings, as well as photography of their live performance.

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About the author

Brennon Dixson

Brennon Dixson

Brennon Dixson covers education for the Signal. He comes to Santa Clarita from Long Beach, where he was previously employed by the Press Telegram in Long Beach and the Daily Breeze in Torrance.