Ed Yim: Good evening. My name is Ed Yim, and I have the pleasure of being the head of WQXR, New York's classical music station. Uh, we're here at Paul Hall, at The Juilliard School, for a very special edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase. The showcase would not be possible without the generous support of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation. And we would not be here without Robert Sherman, former WQXR host who just passed away, sadly, this past summer. He founded Young Artists Showcase in 1978, and for many years he hosted this competition. And in fact, this competition last year was his last public event, uh, before he retired and then sadly passed away.
Um, we're proud to be able to continue his tradition, um, and present this event on WQXR. And I speak for everyone at the station when I say that we still miss him dearly. But tonight, we are here to celebrate the winners of the 2023 Gina Bachauer Competition here at Juilliard, and they are Jack Gao and Ryan Zhu. But before we begin the music, I would like to bring my esteemed colleague and friend, Juilliard President, Damian Woetzel, to the stage for some brief remarks. Thank you, Damian.
Damian Woetzel: Thank you, Ed. And welcome. It's so wonderful to see all of you here as we begin our performance season this month. Uh, it's really all about connection. And we are connecting tonight through these young musicians, through their talents, through this incredible opportunity that WQXR's Young Artists Showcase has provided since 1978, as Ed described. Uh, and really through the largesse of Bob Sherman and, you know, all that he brought, uh, to the field of classical music, but also to the field of connection.
And of all these years, this kind of sense of continuum that's gone on between the artists in this showcase, and through, uh, the young artists who've received the Robert Sherman Award, which is all about citizen artistry and connection, which will also be featured tonight. Uh, and through that legacy of support, uh, through the McGraw Foundation, which has been so pivotal in so many young artists' lives.
Uh, as the president of Juilliard, I cannot be, uh, anything but just, uh, uh, to-to-to give a bow to that kind of commitment to the future of young artists, and really to young arts and what the young arts, you know, brings to our society generation, after generation, after generation. Uh, so with that, I wanna say thank you again for being here. And I'll turn it back to you, Ed. Uh, on behalf of the school, we are grateful for this Gina Bachauer concert, and for the opportunity to share it with the world through WQXR. Thank you very much.
Ed Yim: Thank you, Damian. So, without further ado, to our first competition co-winner. Jack Gao started playing piano at four years old, and he is currently studying under Jerome Lowenthal here at Juilliard. He will be performing Preludes 13-24 by Chopin. Let's welcome Jack Gao.
[MUSIC - Chopin: 24 Preludes, Op. 28, Nos. 13-24]
Ed Yim: It is now my honor to present the Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach. It was created by Terry McGraw, and the McGraw Family Foundation, without whom we would not be able to continue the weekly broadcast of the show you're listening to now, Young Artists Showcase. It was first presented on the 25th anniversary of the showcase in honor of its founding host, Robert Sherman, who as I said before, was a friendly and trusted voice on WQXR for over 68 years. He really was the voice of classical New York.
And he presented this very award year after year, and as I said before, we miss him very much. But his legacy continues, by recognizing the work of talented and compassionate Juilliard students through recent graduates through this award. So, this year's recipient is Shelbie Rassler, and I'm gonna ask her to join me here on stage, we're gonna have a little chat. And as she makes her way up here, I will say that she is a composer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist. She received her master's degree in music composition from Juilliard last year, and served as a teaching fellow. So, uh, we're gonna have a little chat with Shelbie. Shelbie, welcome to Young Artists Showcase.
Shelbie Rassler: Thank you so much. It's such an honor to be here. And thank you all so much for being here as well.
Ed Yim: I've been looking forward to meeting you because, um, you started with two great composers, my friend John Corigliano and my friend Jonathan Bailey Holland, in Boston.
Shelbie Rassler: Oh my goodness. Yes, indeed. Yes, they're both just the most incredible people you'll ever meet. So, it's such an honor. Yes.
Ed Yim: So, um, you're developing a children's music education program for which this award, uh, named in Bob Sherman's honor, I think is recognizing you. Can you tell us a little bit about the project?
Shelbie Rassler: Absolutely. Yes. So, that project specifically sort of started when I was back in middle school. Um, and I wrote a little children's book for a literary competition that, um, was happening at my school. And I, um, wanted to do more with this story that I had written, a cute little story, and ended up turning it into a children's musical in high school. Uh, we performed it for elementary schools and, uh, underserved, uh, areas and communities, um, in South Florida, where I'm originally from. And the story itself, like very briefly, um, it's about this little cartoon elephant who wants to play music with her friends.
And so she goes on this little journey of trying out all of her friends' musical instruments, and they all have to do with the-the characters. So, the giraffe, with the long neck, plays the guitar. And throughout these, uh, characters, the children are learning about the different instruments and the sounds that they create and the music that they make and everything. The way that the story ends up is, the elephant is very sad, and she's crying to her friends that, you know, she just can't find the right instruments. And then she is crying, and blows her nose, and voila, the most beautiful instrument is her trunk after all. Right?
And so it was in her all along. And-and, you know, that thing that she thought made her different, um, or she was jealous of her friends was actually what made her so special. And she discovers that. And so, through this program, I've created, um, three different activity guides that, um, I'm hoping to incorporate into elementary schools, um, hopefully around, uh, the country. And, um, ba-basically, it takes the children through this story, and then it's an entire reflection-based process about helping that student find what makes them special, and what is that, uh, unique quality that they have inside of them, like all of us do.
Ed Yim: Finding your own voice.
Shelbie Rassler: Exactly.
Ed Yim: Wonderful.
Shelbie Rassler: Exactly.
Ed Yim: Well, you are a very charming and inspiring artist-
Shelbie Rassler: Thank you.
Ed Yim: - and really, the definition of something that I know is very important here at Juilliard and to Damian, which is being an artist citizen. So, on behalf of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation, I would like to present you with a certificate and a check for $10,000 to support your inspiring work. Thank you, Shelbie, for everything that you do, and thank you to the foundation for making this possible.
Shelbie Rassler: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Ed Yim: Well, as Damian said at the beginning, it really gives you optimism for the future when you meet someone like that. And with that, we're gonna meet someone else who's about the future, the second co-winner of the Gina Bachauer Competition, Ryan Zhu. He hails from Vancouver, one of my favorite cities. He's pursuing his bachelor's here at Julliard, studying with the great Stephen Hough and the great Robert McDonald. He will play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8, followed by the Fourth Movement of Mendelssohn Sonata in E Major, and then finally, he'll perform Prokofiev's Toccata. Welcome, to Ryan Zhu.
[MUSIC - Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8 in F-sharp Minor]
[MUSIC - Mendelssohn: Sonata in E Major, Op. 6, IV. Molto Allegro e vivace - Allegretto con espressione]
[MUSIC - Prokofiev: Toccata in D Minor, Op. 11]
Ed Yim: Tonight, uh, as a special treat, we are going to get to hear the debut of the Gao-Zhu piano duo. I asked them backstage and they have not played Two Piano before. They will return now, both of them, to the stage for a performance of a movement from Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major.
[MUSIC - Mozart: Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K. 448 III. Molto Allegro]
Ed Yim: Another rousing standing ovation for a thrilling performance of Mozart Sonata for Two Pianos by the Gina Bachauer Competition co-winners, Jack Gao and Ryan Zhu. They seem like they've been playing together for a long time, don't they? Congratulations to them both. And another congratulations to the 2023 Robert Sherman Outreach and Education Award recipient, Shelbie Rassler.
Ed Yim: It's been a great honor for me to be on this stage with these wonderful young artists, and to be carrying on the legacy of Bob Sherman with the generous support of the McGraw Family Foundation. Special thanks to Juilliard President, Damian Woetzel, Chief Audio and Video Engineer, Kevin Boutote, audio mixer, Scott Lee, stage managers, Anne Daley Clark and Andrew Blanke, as well as producer, Annabelle Avenier, and Director of Institutional Relations here at Juilliard, Kim Furano.
We are so grateful for the support of the Harold McGraw, Jr. Family Foundation, and the personal friendship of Terry McGraw. And I'd like to thank Eileen Gabriel, from the foundation, who is here with us tonight with her guests.
Ed Yim: Our WQXR producers are Laura Boyman and Max Fine. I'm Ed Yim, hosting from the world renowned Juilliard School from the stage at Paul Hall. Thank you for being here. Good night.
New York Public Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline, often by contractors. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of New York Public Radio’s programming is the audio record.