Program Spotlight: Young Concert Artists

Program Spotlight: Young Concert Artists

For more than sixty years, Young Concert Artists has served as a launchpad for extraordinary young classical music talent and given them a supportive platform to share their talents with a global audience. YCA provides the resources for artists to take an integrated approach to crafting careers that make a significant impact on the classical music world.

This three-year program focuses not only an artists’ performance skills, but also guides them in developing programming as well as opportunities to deepen their connection to education and the community.

Members of the Young Concert Artists’ roster perform debut concerts in New York and Washington DC as well as other top venues throughout the world. YCA also supports each artist’s inventive take on programming which often ranges from the traditional to the newly commissioned.

Joseph Parrish

So, how does one join the roster of Young Concert Artists? The select group of artists come from all the classical music disciplines including instrumental, voice, and chamber ensemble and are selected through the YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions. The criteria to apply includes being a musician at the beginning of their career, singers must be between 20 and 30, who are not under North American Management, although there is flexibility for singers with management who are looking to develop non-operatic engagements.

Aspiring artist hoping to join the YCA roster go through a rigorous audition process. The guidelines to apply require applicants to submit a biography or resume, a high-resolution photograph, two letters of recommendation from professional musicians detailing the artist’s potential for a concert career and the application fee.


The competition includes three live rounds: the preliminaries, semi-finals, and finals. For the first round, vocal artists prepare a stylistically varied 45-minute or longer program that includes three languages with one of the languages being a piece originally written in English. The program must also include a work written after 1960 and at least one operatic aria. The competition encourages artists to craft a well-thought-out program of art songs, opera, oratorio, cabaret, and contemporary music.

For both the preliminary and semi-final rounds, the artist will perform 15-20 minutes of music where they select the first piece, and the jury selects the remaining pieces. If chosen to move onto the finals, the artist will perform an uninterrupted 25-minute recital program. Artists who are selected as winners will perform in the Winners Concert in NYC.

The current roster of YCA vocalists run the gamut from still being in the academic world to training at some of the nation’s most prestigious opera company young artist programs. The common factor they all have is a passion for concert, chamber, and recital work that goes beyond the standard recital program. An example of YCA’s talented roster includes soprano/pianist Chelsea Guo and bass-baritone Joseph Parrish.

Chelsea Guo

Chelsea Guo is a soprano and pianist who is already attracting major international attention. The 2022 YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions winner, released her 2021 debut recording, “Chelsea Guo: Chopin in my Voice,” on the Orchard Classics label ad features the music of Chopin where she plays and accompanies herself in two songs by the composer.

Bass-baritone Joseph Parrish, a winner of the 2022 YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, is currently an artist diploma candidate at The Juilliard School where he has appeared in several roles. And avid concert performer, Joseph has been seen with orchestras and in recital with The Cathedral Church of St. John, Alice Tully Hall, and both Weill and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.


For singers interested up auditioning for YCA, applications for the 2024 auditions are now live. The early deadline to apply is Monday, June 3 (a $65 fee) and the final deadline is August 1 (a $95 fee.) Preliminary auditions will be in NYC for Voice on September 11 and 12 and at The Colburn School in Los Angeles on September 22.

Following the Semi-Finals, artists advancing to the Finals will perform on Sunday, October 27 at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center.

Young Concert Artists search for top-tier emerging talent who are interested in creating imaginative recital and orchestral programming. Through offering performance opportunities at prestigious venues, access to resources, and the space to create, explore and develop programming, roster members of YCA are not only extraordinary artists, but performers who champion YCA’s mission of developing “cultural ambassadors who share musical experiences that reflect the beauty and diversity of the world around them.”

Eric McKeever

Eric McKeever is a New York-based opera singer whose 2022–23 season includes performances with Opera Columbus, On Site Opera, Opera Delaware, the Penn Square Music Festival, and the Casals Festival of Puerto Rico. He is also a passionate arts educator having worked as a teaching artist for the Met Opera Guild and served as the manager of education programs for Kentucky Opera. He holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Ohio State University and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Capital University.