Yamaha Graduates (United States)
Earning Critical Acclaim in the Music Community
Giving the Gift of Music
When a child experiences a happy, positive introduction to the world of music, the stage is set for a lifetime of music participation. As performers, composers, conductors, teachers and music advocates, Yamaha Music Education System graduates continue to give the gift of music to others.
Max Levinson, now an accomplished pianist and recording artist, remembers, "It was in the Primary Course [Yamaha Junior Music Course] that I learned that music was fun, and this I have kept my whole life." Levinson, who completed graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, won first prize at the 1997 Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition, the first American to achieve this distinction. He now travels the world performing with renowned symphonies and conductors.
Jeremy Siskind, award-winning composer, jazz pianist and Yamaha graduate writes, "No other program teaches improvisation, composition, and ear-training with such success from and early age, and most programs don't even try. As a Yamaha graduate, I've had a leg up in the musical world - from elementary school to the music conservatory and on into the professional sphere."
YMES graduate, the late Linda Martinez developed into a gifted jazz pianist, performing both with Destiny's Child and regularly on a popular late night television show. YMES's emphasis on creativity influenced her desire to devote her energies to composition. After graduating from YMES, she earned a degree in music composition from the University of Southern California, where she was named Outstanding Graduate of the School of Music. In 2004, she won the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition, beating a for-midable field of 500 competitors.
The career of Jennifer Lin is yet to be determined. However, her advanced YMES musical training has already led to recognition. Lin was invited to give a presentation on "creative flow" at the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference in 2004. After speaking about creativity, she improvised a piece based on five notes chosen at random by an audience member, actress Goldie Hawn. The performance prompted ABC News to name Jennifer Lin "Person of the Week."
Kevin Noe, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, relates his early impressions of Yamaha music lessons: "Yamaha classes gave me a special interest that was mine alone to care about and take seriously. The Yamaha classes also taught me self-discipline. If you don't practice, you won't be able to do the work." Noe is a tireless supporter and promoter of composers, performers and the arts, constantly commissioning and premiering new works for ensembles and orchestras.
Yamaha music lessons can have a profound and lasting influence on students even when they don't pursue music as a career. To USC medical student Katherine Chiu, "playing music is a lifelong activity"-an activity that Chiu wants all children to experience. Concerned that inner-city children did not have the opportunity to take music lessons, she spearheaded a pilot pro-gram in which they could receive lessons given by USC music students in general music, keyboard and choir. The outreach program, now called USC Thornton Music in Education, received overwhelmingly positive response from children and parents and support from the USC community.