Following the Fortunes of Musical Teens

Ji-Yong i i

Concert pianist Ji-Yong had professional management when he was ten years old. From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top
Ji-Yong

Concert pianist Ji-Yong had professional management when he was ten years old.

From the Top
Matthew Muckey i i

Matthew Muckey became Associate Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic when he was 21. From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top
Matthew Muckey

Matthew Muckey became Associate Principal Trumpet of the New York Philharmonic when he was 21.

From the Top
Matthew Muckey and Jasper i i

As a young trumpet player Matthew Muckey was known both for his musical expertise and his unusual pet — a shaggy donkey named Jasper, who lives on the family's five acres. "He doesn't pull a plow or anything," Muckey says, "he just basically stands out there." From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top
Matthew Muckey and Jasper

As a young trumpet player Matthew Muckey was known both for his musical expertise and his unusual pet — a shaggy donkey named Jasper, who lives on the family's five acres. "He doesn't pull a plow or anything," Muckey says, "he just basically stands out there."

From the Top
Elena Urioste i i

Elena Urioste was 17 years old when she performed on From the Top. From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top
Elena Urioste

Elena Urioste was 17 years old when she performed on From the Top.

From the Top
Carol Jantsch, dressed in bumble bee attire, plays the tuba i i

Carol Jantsch enjoys making her audience smile by performing Flight of the Bumble Bee in an appropriate costume. She's now Principal Tuba in the Philadelphia Orchestra. From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top
Carol Jantsch, dressed in bumble bee attire, plays the tuba

Carol Jantsch enjoys making her audience smile by performing Flight of the Bumble Bee in an appropriate costume. She's now Principal Tuba in the Philadelphia Orchestra.

From the Top

In the Fifth Annual "Where Are They Now?" highlights program, From the Top catches up with a few of the brightest stars from past shows. Focusing on four young musicians who have risen to professional status, host Christopher O'Riley revisits their past radio performances and interviews them about their more recent musical adventures.

Twenty-two-year-old Carol Jantsch appeared on the show almost six years ago. Now she holds the principal tuba position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has recently been appointed to the teaching staff at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. But six years ago, Jantsch enjoyed recounting the story of her talents as a young tuba tosser.

"It was at a tuba players' conference in Finland," Jantsch explained. "All of the competing tuba players stood at the end of a dock and took turns tossing a beat up old tuba into a lake, and then reeling it back in." Jantsch figured out that the best way to optimize her throw would involve landing in the lake herself. "Since I was the only female willing to subject myself to the cold water, I threw it the farthest and won the women's division!" she recalled.

As much as she loves hurling the tuba, Jantsch loves playing it even more, and has been at it since the seventh grade. She says she chose the tuba because she wanted to be different.

Jantsch's humor and talent shone through in her From the Top appearance taped at Interlochen School for the Arts, where she performed Manuel Ponce's Estrellita. (After the show, she thrilled the audience with an encore performance of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee — dressed in full bumble bee attire.)

At age ten, Ji-Yong became the youngest pianist ever to win the New York Philharmonic Young Artists Competition. He was immediately signed by one of the biggest artist management companies in the world—IMG Artists.

"I'd never signed anything before and my hand was shaking," Ji-Yong recalled. "Dealing with the people at IMG, being among some of the top artists of today, is the greatest honor I could have."

Three years ago when Ji-Yong was 14, he played "Etude No. 3: Fifths to Thirds" from John Corigliano's Etude Fantasy on From the Top, with the composer present at the performance.

Not many musicians get to play The Carnival of Venice in the actual city of Venice, but trumpeter Matthew Muckey did just that — aboard a gondola, while crowds of people gathered along the waterway to watch and listen.

"I performed with two other trumpet players as a trio," he recalled. "It was so cool. The bridges were packed when we went under them. People really appreciate the arts in Italy."

That was five years ago when Muckey was seventeen and a guest on From the Top. Now, in his early 20s, he's the associate principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic.

From the From the Top archives, Muckey plays The Carnival of Venice by Jean-Baptiste Arban.

When Elena Urioste was younger, she would carry a banana with her whenever she performed. It was part of a good luck ritual invented by her first violin teacher.

"Before I went onstage for a recital or audition my teacher would recite a 'magical' blessing over a banana which was supposed to bring me good luck," recalled Urioste. "I was usually too nervous to eat the banana following the blessing so I'd just hold onto it and place it beside my case when I played. I would get some pretty weird looks!"

Urioste is quick to say that she no longer relies on the magical powers of fruit to get her through a performance, but she does fondly recall the creativity of her first teacher.

Perhaps the banana ritual paid off. Urioste has graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music and at age 22, is heading to graduate school at Juilliard. She has already been a featured soloist with major American orchestras such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Atlanta.

From her last performance on From the Top five years ago, Urioste performs Pablo de Sarasate's Carmen Suite.

This program originally aired on June 4, 2008

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