VSA Announces Debut of 2011 VSA International Young Soloists at Kennedy Center Concert

Share Article

Three young musicians with disabilities to receive international award, and first VSA Award for Achievement in Instrument Adaptation to be presented

Mandy Harvey, a 2011 VSA International Young Soloist Award recipient

Mandy Harvey, a 2011 VSA International Young Soloist Award recipient

Every individual should have full access to the arts as a career option or for pure enjoyment.

VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, has named Mandy Harvey of Colorado, James Schlender of Montana, and Ráchel Skleničková of the Czech Republic as its three VSA International Young Soloists Award recipients who will make their debut at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on May 5 in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center and being named a recipient of the International Young Soloists Award, each musician will also receive $5,000 from VSA to help launch their musical careers.

“When it came to selecting this year’s artists, these three musicians’ versatility and artistic excellence made them stand out from the nearly 200 artists who applied for this award,” said Elena Widder, VSA vice president of public awareness.

Mandy Harvey, a 23-year-old jazz singer from Denver, Colo., is known for perfect pitch, natural phrasing, and emotional performances. Harvey, who is deaf, has recorded and self-produced two albums, Smile and After You’ve Gone.

A native of Bozeman, Mont., 17-year-old James Schlender is a fiddler and jazz violinist. Born with aortic stenosis, Schlender has won many awards and honors, including several national fiddling championships.

Eighteen-year-old pianist Ráchel Skleničková studies at the Jan Deyl Conservatory and Secondary School for Visually Impaired in Prague, Czech Republic. Skleničková, who is blind, has garnered many accolades in her country and across Europe for her superb technique and musicianship.

Since 1984, the VSA International Young Soloists Award Program annually recognizes emerging young artists under age 30 with disabilities from all over the world who demonstrate exceptional musical talent. Past award recipients include international recording artist Melody Gardot, American Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre, and violin virtuoso Adrian Anantawan.

At the concert, VSA is also pleased to recognize the recipients of the first VSA Award for Achievement in Instrument Adaptation: saxophonist David Nabb and technician Jeff Stelling. Nabb and Stelling are being honored for their pioneering work in adaptation of woodwind instruments for people with disabilities. Since surviving a stroke in 2000, Nabb has worked with Stelling to develop a saxophone that can be played with the right hand only. Nabb, who is a professor of music at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, will perform a short piece on his toggle-key saxophone as part of the May 5 concert. This award is made possible by a grant from the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and presented in conjunction with the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT).

“Every individual should have full access to the arts as a career option or for pure enjoyment,” Widder commented. “Through innovative collaborations like that of David Nabb and Jeff Stelling, there are more options available for musicians of all abilities to express themselves.”

Tickets to the concert are free but reservations are required. Email SoloistRSVP(at)vsarts(dot)org or call 202-628-2800 for reservations. Details are online at http://www.vsarts.org/soloists.

About VSA
VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. With 52 international affiliates and a network of nationwide affiliates, VSA is changing perceptions about people with disabilities around the world. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs, which cover all artistic genres. VSA is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit http://www.vsarts.org.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Laura Broom
VSA
(202) 628-2800
Email >
Visit website