The Yamaha Corporation of America’s Band & Orchestral Division has honored New Canaan’s own Julia DeRosa, 21, among other young artists under the auspices of the Yamaha Young Performing Artist (YYPA) program.
The annual competition honors students between the ages of 16 and 21 and bestows upon winners an all-expense paid trip to the Music For All (MFA) Summer Symposium and awards ceremony, where they enjoy a weekend of rehearsals, master classes, social events, special awards concerts and workshops focusing on how to establish a career in music.
They also participate in the prestigious YYPA concert at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where they will receive a recording and photos of their performance, along with the benefits of being selected as a Yamaha Young Performing Artist.
DeRosa, who is going into her fourth year at The Juilliard School in New York, attended New Canaan High School and has also won the Juilliard Oboe Concerto Competition and the Aspen Music Festival Woodwind Concerto Competition for the 2010-2011 season.
She also won first prize in the woodwind division of the New Haven Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition in 2007 and she was a featured soloist on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” program.
DeRosa took a few minutes out of her busy schedule in New York to chat with Patch about her success in the music world.
New Canaan Patch: When did you first pick up the Oboe?
Julia DeRosa: When I was ten. There was a lot of music in my house - my mom plays the piano and my dad is a really enthusiastic opera lover - so I decided to play the oboe. I was in the music program in New Canaan throughout high school and then I did the Juilliard pre-college program before enrolling at Juilliard.
New Canaan Patch: You’re 21 now, what made you stick with it so long?
DeRosa: I’ve always just really loved playing and listening to music. I really wanted to be able to create that sound myself and have my own interpretation of the music that I love. Immediately I was very deeply into it and never really wanted to do much else at that age.
Since then it has been my passion and I’ve just really loved to listen to music and play music my whole childhood.
New Canaan Patch: Juilliard is quite the prestigious institution - what is the process like to get into Juilliard?
DeRosa: It has different disciplines - dance, drama and music - and it’s very selective. You go through an audition to get in, which is about five to ten minutes long.
I played for about seven minutes - the Motzart Quartet and the Strauss Oboe Concerto - and was accepted.
For me it was a pretty comfortable experience because I’d done the pre-college program already and I knew the place pretty well. I was very happy to get into the college.
New Canaan Patch: What career do you plan to pursue after Juilliard?
DeRosa: Ideally I would like to go back for my masters, which is a two-year program. After that I’d like to audition to get into orchestras and hopefully become an orchestral musician.
New Canaan Patch: Have any of your teachers or instructors had a particularly strong impact on you?
DeRosa: My main teacher, Elaine Douva, she’s the oboist at the Metropolitan Opera. She’s really great and I studied with her during high school. Also, my teacher at pre-college Juilliard, Scott Cranston, he gave me a lot of skills I needed. Before that was Richard Dallefio - he’s the band teacher at NCHS. He was really helpful and he gave me a lot of musical opportunities at that age.
New Canaan Patch: Being honored under the Yamaha Young Performing Artist program - what does that mean to you?
DeRosa: It’s a really great thing. For the festival, I’m going to play Kalliwoda, which is a piece that I played last summer at the music festival in Aspen. I’ve loved that piece ever since I performed it. It’s great for competitions and other solo performances.
New Canaan Patch: Do you prefer going solo or collaborations?
DeRosa: I like both genres, but my favorite is solo concertos, which I’ve been doing a lot recently. You get to bring your own take to the music and still get to work with an orchestra. Playing the solo, you can shape the music how you want it.
I also really love playing in the orchestra, though, because there are so many great orchestral moments for the oboe.
New Canaan Patch: Who are some of your idols in the music industry, if any?
DeRosa: Definitely me two oboe instructors, they’re my idols.
New Canaan Patch: What are the thoughts and the feelings going on while you’re playing?
DeRosa: While I’m playing, I usually just like to hear the music. I’m playing in my head as I’m going along. I find it a lot easier to play from memory.
I like to relate music to various stories or life experiences. I’ll try to relate to various colors or tastes or sights or smells that can help an audience understand what I’m trying to convey. I try to make it like a conversation, as if I’m actually talking to them. That way, you can really connect to listeners better.
Students from the Royal Academy of Music in London will be joining the Juilliard Orchestra students for a show at Lincoln Center in New York before both groups of students go on tour in London. The orchestras will collaborate will perform at BBC Proms as part of the pre-Olympic events.
Hear DeRosa play the Summer Music for Woodwind Quintet in the attached video! Video quality is not superb, however, the audio is tip-top!