Young Artist Program

Former YAP Fellow Colin Sorgi's 2008 Composition
"Huapango" performed by the 2008 YAP ensemble

And the 2019 YAP Winners are…

Emily Rivera, violin

Emily Seddighzadeh, violin

Riley Bemis, viola

Age 16
MacArthur High School
Student of Craig Sorgi

Age 17
MacArthur High School
Student of Nina Marrinal

Age 16
Harlan High School
Student of Marisa Bushman

Heidi Schuppenhauer, viola

Giuliano Bucheli, cello

Simon Phoa, cello

Age 18
Reagan High School
Student of Marisa Bushman

Age 18
Reagan High School
Student of Holgin Gjoni

Age 18
Brandeis High School
Student of Kenneth Freudigman

Elisabeth Wang, piano

Age 18
Health Careers High School
Student of AJ Collins

Texas Public Radio wrote a very nice article on the YAP program and the 2017 Fellows.
Click the link below for the article and a link to the Black Tie Cacti ensemble's rehearsal of the piece commissioned just for them, The Eternal Return by Icli Zitella, which was performed at the San Antonio concert on Saturday, July 15, 2017.
TPR Article & Video

15 Years of Cultivating Young Artists

and impacting the lives of almost 90 young adults since 2004

As our mission statement declares, Cactus Pear is committed to significantly contributing to the musical education of South Texas young people, not only during the summer festival but throughout the year. Exposing young people to this inspiring musical art form and the intimacy of listening to chamber music—or in making it themselves—has been a primary objective of the CPMF board and its founder since the beginning. We truly believe in passing the torch.


One of our flagship programs is our Young Artist Program Fellowship under the direction of Education Director Craig Sorgi and Artistic Director Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio. Every year, between four and nine young instrumentalists are chosen and awarded FULL-TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS for an intensive 2 1/2 week program. The Young Artists form an ensemble—and ensembles—to study and perform chamber music. The curriculum includes private instruction and chamber music coachings with Festival Artists, lecture classes on aspects of music performance/careers, free admittance to all festival rehearsals & concerts for Fellows and family, and approximately 8 outreach performance opportunities including on the final two San Antonio Festival concerts.


In 2008, Cactus Pear commissioned Colin Sorgi, a former YAP fellow who attended Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, to write a new composition for that year's YAP fellows. What a memorable moment to hear this new work of art by a former YAP fellow performed by our latest group of scholarship fellows. Take a listen to this one-minute excerpt from Colin's composition. This is what we mean by "passing the torch" and helping bring along the next generation of musicians. Listen to Colin's piece as you meet our newest crop of YAP Fellows below.


To watch a video of our 2010 YAP Fellows in performance, click here to go to our Media/PR page.