ECU student Zachary Grass, shown above with his instrument, was recognized with an award from the 2015 Yamaha Young Performing Artists competition. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU student tuba player wins Yamaha international performance award

June 1, 2015

By Harley Dartt
ECU School of Music

An East Carolina University School of Music graduate student is one of nine winners in the 2015 Yamaha Young Performing Artists competition.

Zachary Grass of Greenville, who plays the tuba, is the only low brass instrumentalist selected as a YYPA winner for 2015. Other winners were from South Korea, Japan and the United States, and included flute, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, drum set, cello and piano.

Grass is a student of ECU tuba and euphonium professor Tom McCaslin, a Yamaha Performing Artist.

“I am humbled by this opportunity,” Grass said. “Past winners of this competition include Carol Jantsch, the principal tubist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Stephen Dumaine, principal tubist of the National Symphony Orchestra, to name only two of many who have gone on to successful music careers."

The annual YYPA Program, which underscores Yamaha’s commitment to music education, recognizes exceptional emerging jazz, classical and contemporary music instrumentalists. Winners are chosen after submitting recordings and supporting materials, which are evaluated by a panel of Yamaha Performing Artists and other celebrity musicians.

“I am just happy to be able to represent my instrument and the hard work of my professors and influences at ECU and abroad who have gotten me to this point,” Grass said.

Grass joins the ranks of more than 200 competition winners since the program’s inception. This year’s honorees receive an all-expense paid trip to the YYPA celebration weekend, set for June 20-23, which includes rehearsals, master classes, social events and workshops focused on how to establish and maintain a career in music.

“The Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for young performing musicians in the United States,” said McCaslin. “For Zack to be included as one of the 2015 winners is a recognition of his talents, work ethic and dedication to improving himself as a performer. I am extremely proud of Zack and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young man.”

Grass grew up in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.