From Calderwood Hall at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, this week's From the Top celebrates grassroots community music schools — these are the kind of programs that reach out to kids who otherwise might not have any access to musical training. We'll hear an expressive 17-year-old cellist from the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts perform the music of Shostakovich. And we'll meet a phenomenal teenage trombone quartet from one of the greatest urban community music schools in the country - the Merit School of Music in Chicago.
This week's program was recorded at The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and given the show's art museum venue, each young performer discusses a connection between the music they're performing and a work of visual art in the museum's collection. We hear an award-winning string quartet from Chicago perform the music of Bartok, and a teenager from Maryland performs an epic piece on the traditional Chinese instrument, the guzheng.
From the campus of SUNY Purchase, New York, this week's From the Top features Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. We'll hear this tremendous young ensemble perform works by Bernstein and Gershwin as well as a new piece by Samuel Adams (son of composer John Adams). We'll also hear a young oboist perform the music of Saint-Saëns, and three members of the orchestra join host Christopher O'Riley to perform a movement of Fauré's Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor.
From the Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney, Maine, this week's From the Top features one of the strongest teenage oboists From the Top has encountered in the past few years performing a gorgeous Élégie by Francis Poulenc; a 14-year-old violinist performs Vieuxtemp's virtuosic showpiece, the Yankee Doodle Variations; and we meet a harpist who shares some wonderful stories about growing up studying music on rugged and rural Mount Desert Island, Maine.
From Norfolk, Virginia, this week's episode features a violin-cello duo local made up of two wonderfully talented brothers. Their unusually generous and easygoing humor with each other is not only charming, but it also makes for a seamless musical collaboration. We'll also hear a spirited performance from Mozart's Sonata No. 12 by a pianist who's just 11 years old, and we'll meet a 15-year-old violinist who happens to have some success as an actress: she recently landed a guest role in the new NBC series "Believe."
From Seattle, Washington, this week's program features a teenage violinist local to the "Emerald City" delivering an emotional performance of the music of Ernest Bloch ... teenagers from Chicago perform a thrilling wild and fun work for sax quartet ... and we'll enjoy the broadcast premiere of a new composition written by an 18-year-old from New York City—an intriguing and ethereal piece titled "Tropholingua," which means "language of plants."
From Tacoma, Washington, this episode features Prokofiev's Toccata performed with a level of energy that can only be described as diabolically teenage (the performer is a totally brilliant, risk-taking 15-year-old), we'll hear a young violinist perform a lush and lyrical piece written for her by her father, and we'll enjoy music from a film by the great Japanese animator Hiyao Miyazaki sumptuously arranged for four cellos by one of the young performers on the program.
From Corbett Auditorium in Cincinnati, Ohio, this week's program features one of the strongest pre-collegiate music programs in the country: The Cincinnati Starling Project. Host Christopher O'Riley joins Starling's flagship orchestra to play Mozart; we'll hear a 12-year-old violinist and one of the program's most talented young soloists perform the music of Edward Elgar; and three From the Top alumni return to share their stories of mega success on YouTube and to perform a wonderfully schmaltzy comedic violin trio.
From Miami Beach, Florida, this week's From the Top features an expressive 13-year-old violinist performing one of Pablo de Sarasate's Spanish Dances, a From the Top alumnus who has gone on to become Principal Flute for Miami Beach's New World Symphony, and a brilliant teenage soprano from Florida who is carrying on the tradition of opera for her family—her mother had a fantastic career performing at New York's Metropolitan Opera and beyond.
From our home in Boston, Massachusetts, this week's episode features an 11-year-old who is not only a precocious violinist, but who also happens to be a budding meteorologist—his long-term forecasts on YouTube are impressively accurate. A young cellist performs the gorgeous Andante movement from Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G minor, and we'll meet a pianist who, at the age of 14, has recorded all of the Opus 25 Chopin piano études.