VSA International Young Soloists Award Program
Since 1984, the VSA International Young Soloists Program has identified talented musicians who have a disability. The VSA International Young Soloists Competition annually selects up to four outstanding musicians from the United States and the international arena, and supports and encourages them in their pursuit of a career. These emerging musicians receive $2,500, professional development opportunities, and a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Announcing the 2013 VSA International Young Soloists Award Recipients
Percussionist Paul E. Gavin, 21, is from Tampa, FL. He is currently a junior at the University of South Florida double-majoring in Music Education and Jazz Studies. His professional work includes playing regularly with the Southwest Florida Symphony in Ft. Myers, Florida as a substitute percussionist, as well as percussion work for musical theater companies in Naples. Gavin, who has asthma, has been teaching privately since his senior year of high school. He also writes marching percussion cadences, show music and warm ups. Gavin writes regularly for the Sickles percussion section, in addition to schools in Atlanta, Georgia and Ft. Myers, Florida.
Brian Michael Moore, 20, is a tenor from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is pursuing his undergraduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music, studying voice under Mark Oswald. Brian has performed in operas at the Cincinnati Opera Company including Pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Wagner; at the Manhattan School of Music in Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti; and at the New York Opera Exchange in Don Giovanni by Mozart. Brian has performed at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy; the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine under Kent Tritle; as well as in the Cincinnati Pops! Orchestra Summer Park Tour 2010 under Vince Lee. As a child, Brian had cancer twice, which left him without a shoulder joint in his right arm.
Colette Cecile Young is a native Hawai'ian who hails from Washington, D.C. The soprano received a bachelor's degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr and Music from Haverford College. Colette, who is dyslexic, plays the flute and piano, and is a ballet, modern, Hula, and Tahitian dancer and "kumu" (teacher). The "Halau" that she founded at Bryn Mawr has performed Hula for the past three years at National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. She has been a church cantor since her teens, a flutist with the Landon Symphonette Orchestra, and is a founding member of the Young Family Quartet, a chamber ensemble consisting of her mother and siblings.
Born into a family of musicians hailing from the Amritsar gharana, Zohaib Hassan, 24, has established himself among the leading sarangi players in Pakistan. Zohaib's initial training came from his family elders. Later, he became a disciple of Ustad Ghulam Haider Khan of the Qasur gharana. He follows a strict regime of disciplined practice, and his concentration on musical perfection has allowed him the opportunity to perform for audiences in all of the major musical venues in Pakistan. Most sarangi players use only the index, middle, and ring finger, citing that the smallest finger is too weak to produce a note. Zohaib, who had Poliomyelitis as a child, incorporates all four fingers, giving his playing a greater fluidity and variety of note combinations.
The 2013 VSA International Young Soloist Award recipients will perform on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage on June 16 at 6:00 p.m. The performance is free and open to the public, and will be streamed live on the Kennedy Center website. Each musician will also receive $2,500 from VSA to help launch their musical careers.