From the Top

From the Top

From NPR

From the Top, hosted by acclaimed concert pianist Christopher O'Riley, showcases the music, stories, and unique humor of America's best young classical musicians.More from From the Top »

Most Recent Episodes

Show 303 | Interlochen MI

This week's From the Top features students studying at one of America's most famous training programs for young musicians—the Interlochen Arts Academy—in rural Michigan. We meet the winners of the Academy's concerto competition, and the mighty Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra performs a world premiere inspired by the story of The Three Musketeers.

Listen1:05:08

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SHOW HL-15 | HIGHLIGHT SHOW

This week's it's From the Top's Annual Highlights show featuring some of the best music and stories from our archives ... including a fiery performance of the music of Alberto Ginastera performed by a teenage pianist from Florida ... and a young violist humorously lists the Top 10 Worst Things You Can Say After A Performance.

Listen59:25

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Show 302 | Denver CO

From Denver, Colorado, this week's episode features a special guest appearance by one of America's finest living film composers, Danny Elfman. Our young musicians perform arrangements of his music from the soundtracks of "Milk" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Mr. Elfman also shares stories from his own colorful teenage years, and a phenomenal 17-year-old from New York performs the music of Lowell Liebermann.

Listen1:05:00

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Show 304 | Wellesley MA

From Wellesley, Massachusetts, this week's From the Top pays tribute to Jewish composers and Jewish music. A precocious 12-year-old violinist performs the music of George Gershwin; a young tenor performs his own composition inspired by the great twentieth century Jewish poet, Hannah Senesh; and the show's finale features the great sound of Klezmer music.

Listen1:02:57

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Show 292 | Salem MA

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.

Listen1:04:17

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Show 279 | Stanford CA

From Stanford University, this week's From the Top features an all-California crew of performers including an extraordinary 12-year-old guitarist from the Bay Area performing the music of Villa-Lobos; the San Francisco Girls Chorus singing a beautiful arrangement of a song from Joni Mitchell's first album; and a funny story about a young pianist who found himself destroying his own piano by practicing too much.

Listen1:02:13

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Show 301 | San Francisco CA

The world-renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz returns to From the Top as the special guest artist of this week's program from the San Francisco Conservatory. With the young performers on the program, Maestro Haimovitz performs a very unusual piece—a children's musical storybook called "Angel Heart"—featuring the internationally best-selling children's author Cornelia Funke as its narrator. And there's still the regular lineup of outstanding young musicians, including a 14-year-old violinist performing one of Sarasate's most spirited show pieces.

Listen1:07:23

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Show 291 | Sidney ME

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.

Listen1:04:26

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Show 280 | Wingate NC

From North Carolina, this week's show features the return appearance of a From the Top alumnus who went on to win a top prize at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition this year. He's the first American to become a medalist in over sixteen years. We'll also meet a teenage bassoonist with a beautifully poetic story about the wilderness of New England and how it has moved his heart and shaped his music. 

Listen1:04:30

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Show 300 | Boston MA

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 etudes.

Listen1:03:56

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