YAS! Sunriver Music Festival’s Young Artists Scholarships  

(Photo | Courtesy of Sunriver Music Festival)

In Festival Land, “YAS” stands for “Young Artists Scholarships.” And sometimes we call the virtuosic young recipients “YAS’ers” (when no one’s listening). There’s a little peek behind the scenes for you.

This year marks the 25th season of the Sunriver Music Festival upholding its mission to nurture the next generation of classical musicians thanks to the mighty supporters of the Young Artists Scholarship program. One by one, we’ve been introducing you to 2020’s fine young YAS recipients and also shining the spotlight on some accomplished alumni.


Vietnamese-American violinist Kiarra Saito-Beckman has been a Sunriver Music Festival Young Artists Scholarship recipient since 2010. Ten years a YAS’er and it’s been an honor sharing in her growth as a musician! Currently pursuing her master of music degree at McGill University after receiving her bachelor of music at Cleveland Institute of Music, Saito-Beckman has performed extensively in the United States and abroad.

YAS Alumni Spotlight: SARAH MATTOX

Sarah Mattox was part of our Young Artists Scholarship program starting in 1996 — its very first year! Described as a “honeyish mezzo,” Mattox has sung principal roles with Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Amarillo Opera, Eugene Opera, Tacoma Opera and many others. 

Sarah shares, “Being a member of the inaugural class of Sunriver Music Festival Young Artists came at a pivotal point in my life, and helped encourage me to pursue a full-time career in music. The financial support was helpful, but the mentorship of such an esteemed professional organization was even more meaningful. My own professional career now spans 21 years. I’ve been thrilled to perform the works of the canonical masters in venues across the country, as well as premiere new music by living composers. In recent years, I’ve begun composing more of my own music, including my first chamber opera. But some of my favorite moments on the stage remain those times I’ve returned to Central Oregon to perform with the Festival. I look forward each year to learning about the new class of Young Artists, and seeing how they develop on their own musical journeys. Thank you to all of you for your continued support for the future of classical music!”

In the 25-year history of YAS, over $580,000 has been awarded to these deserving young musicians. One way to support these inspiring YAS’ers is to participate in Festival Faire! All the action will be online at sunrivermusic.org this August; pre-registration perks and auction item previews begin July 3.

Go to sunrivermusic.org/about/education-scholarships  to read more about Saito-Beckman and additional current and alumni YAS recipients.


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