In 2017 artists Ben Kronk, Naoki Toyomura, and Shimon Ohi gathered to perform a recital at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville, GA. Following the recital’s success, the festival was founded in 2018 and has invited more artists each year to perform in North Georgia. In 2022 the organization was incorporated and received its 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

Our mission is to grow the cultural arts community in North Georgia by bringing accessible chamber music performances and educational workshops.

Inviting artists from across the United States, SEYA has performed at the Smithgall Arts Center Pavilion, Historic Ritz Theatre, the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, First Baptist Church of Gainesville as well as other churches, retirement communities and private homes. 

Enthusiastic about the opportunities for music education, SEYA partners with other educational organizations to provide masterclasses and workshops. Recently their partners include RISE, a learning-loss prevention program in Gainesville bringing social-emotional learning through music to at-risk youths and Lakeview Academy. 


Dede Gossage – Board Chairperson

Richard Kronk – Board Treasurer

Barbara Vonderheid – Board Secretary

Rika Ohi – Director

James Wheeler – Director

Dr. Charles Nash – Director

CEO & Founder Ben Kronk

Passionate about chamber music, Ben Kronk founded the SouthEastern Young Artists Inc. (SEYA) in 2018 to bring people together through music. A violinist based in Austin, Ben won the top prize of the Austin Civic Orchestra Competition and the American Opera Society of Chicago Scholarship Competition. As soloist he has appeared with the National Repertory Orchestra performing Prokofiev’s 2nd Violin Concerto under maestro Michael Stern, as well the Austin Civic Orchestra, the Toccoa Symphony, the Caroga Lake Music Festival and the Central Texas Medical Orchestra. 

He is a member of the Iris Collective, and has played with Artosphere, the Austin Symphony, the Chicago Philharmonic Society, the Folks’ Operetta, the Wisconsin Philharmonic, the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. Notably he has performed with celebrated artists including Daniel Ching, Bion Tsang, Sandy Yamamoto, Matthew Lipman, Anna Petrova, Janet Sung, Stephen Balderston, Rose Ambrust Griffin, and Liang-yu Wang.