Eighteen-year-old Liam Wilt of La Crescenta was honored with the Merit Award for Music from the National YoungArts Foundation in 2014. The tenor trombonist was awarded a $500 prize and spent five days attending workshops, master classes and live performances, as well as performing, during Los Angeles National YoungArts week.
According to its website, the National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) was established in 1981 to identify and support the next generation of artists and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Applicants are artists 15-18 years old (or grades 10-12) and from these approximately 700 winners are selected who are eligible to participate in programs across the nation.
Liam Wilt was chosen from over 11,000 applicants to join a group of 687 winners of various awards who were able to participate in regional National YoungArts weeks throughout the country for their respective arts disciplines.
“It was a week where I could focus on my instrument and a sneak peek into conservatory life,” Wilt said of the experience. “National YoungArts is a great experience for high school students. You really wanted to practice because you only had one week to work something up.”
“Everyone really wanted to be there and was passionate about their art,” he continued. “It was definitely worth the time it took to apply. From listening to others in master classes, going to performances or just practicing, it was an immersive experience where I connected with others my age that care about music.”
Wilt and his family credit the work of Glendale Unified School District music teacher Dr. Kay Ladanyi with encouraging and growing Wilt’s continuing interest in trombone performance.
“[She] was instrumental in sparking Liam’s interest in music and keeping him motivated,” said Allison Wilt, Liam’s mother. “She has done a wonderful job in our area keeping kids interested in music.”
Wilt is currently a freshman pursuing a dual degree in trombone performance and computer science at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester in New York. He attended Monte Vista Elementary and Rosemont Middle School in La Crescenta and graduated from Polytechnic High School in Pasadena earlier this year.
The young trombonist played in the Pasadena Youth Musicians Orchestra and several groups at the Colburn School of Performing Arts, including wind ensemble, youth orchestra and honors brass ensemble. He also spent multiple years in all-state and Southern California honors groups. Wilt is also an Eagle Scout from La Crescenta Troop 288.
A performance Wilt gave at the end of his YoungArts week can be seen online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nPm8G_o4VE.
The YoungArts program is open to young musicians ages 15 – 18. The Foundation provides access to top professionals in the various arts disciplines, including cinematic arts, dance, design arts, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice and writing.
Wilt’s mother points to a master class led by international recording artist Josh Groban for YoungArts week as “a really inspiring example of what happens when you put kids with masters in their fields.”
“That is what makes the National YoungArts program so special,” she continued. “These kids are getting access to mentors that are top in their artistic field.”
The Groban master class for YoungArts is available on HBO Go to http://www.hbogo.com/?camp=GoG829#documentaries/video&assetID=GOROSTGP41798?videoMode=infopagePreview/.