Texas Young Artists Announce 2024 Music Competition Winners

On March 9, the arts nonprofit Young Texas Artists (YTA) presented another carefully curated evening of Texas hometown flair and A high profile classic concert. and an after-party featuring a live performance by a Texas band, desserts and a champagne toast to the winners.

“The night was filled with many unforgettable moments,” said YTA President and CEO Susie Moore Pokorski. “I love seeing the creative ways our guests take to our ‘jeans to jewelry’ dress code, from cowboy boots and hats to Texas sparkle accessories. It’s great to see people enjoying the music and food , laugh, and most importantly, come together to support emerging classical musicians.

“Then when our finalists performed, they wowed the audience,” Pokolski added. “It’s heartwarming to see the next generation of top classical music talent take their place in the spotlight and demonstrate what they are capable of.”

The 2024 Texas Young Artist Music Competition finalists applaud the grand prize winner and gold medal winner with piano piece Daeun Han (centre, blue dress). Photo by Dave Clements.

The three-day Texas Young Artist Music Competition, led by Artistic Director Dr. Emelyne Bingham, received a record 96 applicants and 70 musicians qualified to participate in the preliminary round. Contestants compete for a $40,000 prize as well as career mentorship and performance opportunities. These artists are ages 18-30 (20-32 in the voice department) and are Texas residents or affiliated with Texas music schools. They compete in one of four performance groups: piano; strings; voice; and winds, brass, percussion; harp and guitar.

The finalists’ concert was held on March 9 at the historic and prestigious Clayton Theater in downtown’s Conroe Cultural District. The show features a lineup of statewide and international artists.


The YTA 2024 Grand Prize winner is Daeun Han, a pianist from South Korea who holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of North Texas and an Artist Diploma from Indiana University. Han was also named the YTA Piano Gold Medalist for his performance of Franz Liszt’s “Totentanz, S. 126.” She won a total of $10,000.

Other gold medal winners include cellist Maximus Gurath, an undergraduate student at Rice University in the string section; saxophonist Rachel Jimenez, wind, brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar Section, Sam Houston State University undergraduate; and Vocal Section soprano Krista Renée Pape, who has a Master of Music degree from the University of Houston.

Rachel Jimenez received Gold Medals for Texas Young Artists in Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar as well as the Audience Choice Award. Photo by Dave Clements.

Gold medal winners will each receive $5,000, with Audience Choice winner Jimenez receiving an additional $3,000.

The silver medal winners are Cui Xin of the piano group, who holds a doctorate in musical arts from the University of North Texas; cellist Claire Druffner, string department, undergraduate student at Rice University; mezzo-soprano Joanne Ivins ( Joanne Evans, vocal section, M.A., Bard College School of the Arts; and tuba player Roberto Gaitan, wind, brass, percussion, harp, and guitar sections, undergraduate, Sam Houston State University.

Silver medalists receive $3,000 each.

The YTA recognized two long-time volunteers at the March 9 event.

Mezzo-soprano Joanne Evans, YTA 2024 Vocal Silver Medalist. Photo by Dave Clements.

YTA 2024 Honors Gala Chair Joyce Musselman was honored with the YTA Inspiring Excellence Award during the Finalist Concert and Awards Program. Lyn Howard, who leads the Bach, Beethoven and BBQ live auction each year, was presented with a special plaque at the gala.

The Bach, Beethoven and BBQ evening raises funds for the nonprofit’s annual music competition and career development programs.

Major 2024 donors include Dr. Douglas Aycock and Carol Aycock; City of Conroe, visitConroe.org; Nancy Dorsey; Carol Fletcher; Annette and Ken Ha Locke; Linda and Dan Cain; Ron and Myra Liston; Texas Arts Council; UBS Financial Services, Sue and Joe Warren, and three anonymous donors .


About Texas Young Artists:

Founded in 1983, Young Texas Artists is a unique nonprofit organization that sponsors music competitions and events, professional development programs and cultural enrichment activities. The nationally acclaimed Texas Young Artist Music Competition and YTA career development program provide professional guidance, mentorship and highly sought-after performance experience. It is the official music competition of the state of Texas and one of the few in the nation with four performance categories: voice, piano; strings; and winds, brass, percussion, harp and Guitar. The YTA competition is open to classical artists ages 18 to 30 (vocal ages 20 to 32) who are Texas residents or attending Texas music schools. Over the years, Texas Young Artists has helped develop many outstanding professionals who have gone on to join orchestras, opera companies, universities and music schools around the world. Please visit youngtexasartists.org for more information.


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