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Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010

IU Jacobs School of Music alumnus wins national competition

Aug. 3, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Jake Harpster, who received a bachelor's degree in percussion performance last May from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, won the Yamaha Young Performing Artists (YYPA) Competition June 19-22 at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. He competed on the marimba.

Harpster received $5,000 in retail credit toward a professional model Yamaha instrument and an opportunity for a New York City performance debut at Yamaha Artist Service, Inc. The invited performance and related interview will be available worldwide on the Yamaha Band & Orchestral podcast subscription.

"It is an honor to be selected as the prize winner of the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition," said Harpster. "It is a very exciting culmination of my time spent at Indiana University, and I am extremely grateful for my professors at the Jacobs School who have educated, mentored and motivated me every step of the way."

"The entire percussion faculty is very proud of Jake's recent accomplishment in the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition," said Professor John Tafoya, chair of the Jacobs Percussion Department. "Jake is an outstanding musician and a terrific person. He now enjoys the privilege of being a Yamaha Performing Artist, an arrangement that many professional musicians seek. The faculty and I are also very grateful to the Yamaha Music Corporation for sponsoring such a worthwhile event."

The YYPA competition, which recognizes outstanding young classical, jazz and contemporary music musicians in the United States, is comprised of two rounds. Applicants must submit a recording to the judging panel, which chooses 10 musicians from all instrument categories to advance to the second round.

The 10 winners are invited to attend an all-expense-paid weekend awards ceremony at the Music for All Summer Symposium. In addition, they participate in workshops and clinics designed to launch a professional music career and receive a recording and photos of the final round performance. They also enjoy many of the privileges of a Yamaha artist, including services and communication with Yamaha's artist relations department.

The second round is a judged live performance at the Summer Symposium, where the contestants perform for thousands and one is selected as the overall winner.

Harpster studied at the Jacobs School with Tafoya, Kevin Bobo, Steve Houghton and Michael Spiro. He was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate.

Harpster also won the 2008 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC)/Avedis Zildjian scholarship and was runner-up in the 2008 PAS Mid-Missouri Percussion Arts Trophy competition. He was a member of the Indianapolis Colts Drum and Bugle Corps Front Ensemble in 2005-06 and the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps Front Ensemble in 2007.

He teaches the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps Front Ensemble. He has taught, consulted and arranged for many high schools in central and southern Indiana.

Harpster will serve as a teaching assistant at the University of North Texas while pursuing a master's degree in percussion performance.

For more information about the Jacobs School of Music, visit