Samuel Vargas selected for the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition

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The talent and abilities of a music student at Columbus State University, shaped in part by deep roots in his native Venezuela, propelled him to a national honor.

Samuel Vargas, a violin student at CSU’s Schwob School of Music, is one of eleven musicians across the country recently selected as the winner of the 2019 Yamaha Young Performing Artist competition. The annual program is led by the band and orchestral division of Yamaha Corporation of America and recognizes outstanding young musicians studying in the United States.

“It is a privilege for me to show the world that Venezuela has a lot of talent and good people and that we can continue to dream and achieve our goals,” said Vargas.

Vargas, 22, said he started performing at age 11 in Venezuela’s El Sistema program, a state-funded music education program founded in 1975.

“(El Sistema) empowers anyone to start making music and increase their opportunities spiritually, musically as a profession, as an art,” said Vargas. “It was this idea that saved the kids from other things and got them involved in something as beautiful as music.”

Vargas, an international student from Acarigua-Araure, Venezuela, studies under the direction of CSU professor Sergiu Schwartz, William B. and Sue Marie Turner chair in violin. Vargas arrived at CSU in 2017 on a Woodruff scholarship from the school.

“He knows how to help each of his students individually and how to make them the best of them because he has a huge heart, is a wonderful violinist and an amazing person,” said Vargas.

Vargas said that without Schwartz’s help and the Woodruff scholarship, social and economic instability in Venezuela could have prevented him from studying at CSU.

“It is currently impossible for a Venezuelan student to afford any payment for a high level education,” said Vargas. “So these kinds of programs like the Woodruff scholarship and many other scholarships in the United States give us the opportunity to go on and reach what I call Heaven.”

Vargas and the other 2019 YYPA winners will gather for a festive event in June at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. The all-expense-paid trip gives winners the chance to perform in front of large audiences, participate in workshops exploring how to launch a professional music career, and possibly gain national media coverage.

“For more than 30 years, the YYPA program has supported music education and helped foster the careers of aspiring young musicians,” said John Wittmann, director of artist relations and education for Yamaha Artist Services in a report. Press release. “We are delighted to honor Samuel for his remarkable talent at this phase of his musical career and to see him build on YYPA’s legacy on the path to a bright future.”

“I think this is an opportunity not only to show what I do as a violinist, as an artist, but also to create a name that in the future will help others, inspire them to go towards the things they want but think they can’t achieve, ”Vargas said.

Vargas said that no matter where he is, he hopes to be a positive representative of a country going through difficult times.

“I just want the people of my country to stay strong, keep dreaming and fight for what they want because there is always a chance, there is always an opportunity,” said Vargas. “No matter what is happening in my country right now, there is light, and there will be a beacon that will guide our path not only to freedom, but also to achieving what we want in life. . “


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