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2020 Masterclasses

Interactive masterclasses will be held online weekly on Fridays at 3pm EST and will feature outstanding professional musicians from around the country. 

Our first masterclass will be on Friday, June 5, at 3pm EST with Michael Lowenstern, a Conn-Selmer Artist and Vandoren Artist, and music technology pioneer. He is also an incredible clarinetist and bass clarinetist. You may have seen some of his recent videos: Gershwin Prelude #1 for Clarinet Quartet, Earth Wind & Fire for Bass Clarinet Quartet, and his hilarious instructional videos like this one, The Easiest Way to sound 100% better on the clarinet… maybe even 110% better.

Our second masterclass will be on Friday, June 12, at 3pm EST with Benjamin Taylor, the composer of the Full Orchestra’s commission piece, Snitchin’ in the Kitchen, and the well-known composer of Techno Blade, who also happens to be an incredible Dixieland trumpeter. Ben will take us through his compositional process, share links to his works, discuss the compositional software that he uses and how he got into composing, and answer student’s questions. 

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SYO is excited to welcome conductor and pianist, Jeri Lynn Johnson, to present our third masterclass on Friday, June 19 at 3pm EST! In 2008 she established her own orchestra in Philadelphia, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, with some of the top musicians in the country from diverse cultures and ethnicities as a model for the 21st-century orchestra. Through Black Pearl, she pioneered a fresh new approach to community engagement that has been imitated and adopted by orchestras across the country. The world-class quality of her concert performances have earned Black Pearl numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Saxophonist and educator, Rahsaan Barber, will be presenting a masterclass to SYO students on Friday, June 26, at 3pm EST. Rahsaan Barber has achieved a singular path of excellence in performance, composition, education and entrepreneurship. Barber enjoys a career that encompasses a range of styles including his “first love” - jazz - as well as blues, funk, classical, soul, Latin and World music.  Barber's approach to music-making has garnered professional appearances both “in studio” and onstage with a staggering list of performers including Kelly Clarkson, Lauren Daigle, The Temptations, Idina Menzel, Delfeayeo Marsalis, Brian Blade, Meghan Trainor, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Kirk Franklin, and the Wooten Brothers. The saxophonist has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious stages for music including The Ryman, The Village Vanguard, Birdland, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the National Museum of African American History. In addition, he has built a reputation as a standout jazz producer with the work of his record label, Jazz Music City, founded in August of 2011. The label launched with the release of the Barber’s album Everyday Magic, featuring nine of the saxophonist’s original compositions. The album was awarded selection as an Editor’s Pick by Downbeat Magazine along with receiving high praise from both critics and audiences alike. In Fall of 2020, Barber begins a new chapter of his educational career as Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina. Barber remains an in-demand clinician, having presented master classes at numerous institutions including Lipscomb University, the Nashville Jazz Workshop, the University of Louisville, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke and Lee University. Rahsaan is a Yamaha Performing Artist and plays Yamaha saxophones exclusively.

On Friday, July 3, at 3pm EST, Joanna Hersey will join us for a masterclass. A native Vermonter, tuba and euphonium soloist Joanna Ross Hersey has produced two solo albums, O quam mirabilis and Zigzags, featuring music by composers including Hildegard von Bingen and Libby Larson in combination with her own compositions. Joanna is President of the International Women’s Brass Conference, Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and a Yamaha and Parker Mouthpiece Performing Artist. In collaboration with Parker Mouthpieces, Joanna has debuted the Hersey Artist Model Tuba Mouthpiece, featuring a three component stainless steel design.


Beginning her career as Principal Tubist with the United States Coast Guard Band, Joanna performed throughout the country as a soloist and clinician after winning the position at the age of nineteen. Joanna has played for three U.S. Presidents, performed at numerous state functions for visiting dignitaries, and has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America. In her freelance career she has performed with artists including Placido Domingo, Roberta Flack, Marilyn Horne, Arlo Guthrie, Michael Bolton, Lee Greenwood, Arturo Sandoval and Jack Nicholson. As a composer, her work is published on her own website as well as with Cimarron Music Press, including her arrangements of music of diverse composers.

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Our last masterclass will be on Friday, July 10, at 3pm EST and will feature hornist Larry Williams. Larry has distinguished himself as a multifaceted performing and recording artist, professor, coach, collaborator, innovator, and administrator. Williams is currently Artistic Director and Solo Horn of American Studio Orchestra, Principal Horn of: Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, and Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and a member of The Lyric Brass Quintet.  Larry is a Yamaha Performing Artist & Clinician, and performs exclusively on Yamaha Custom Horns.

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