Browse Topics



For immediate release
December 2, 2005
Susan Bluttman, NPR: | (202) 513-2754


Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA - NPR has acquired exclusive national distribution rights for From the Top, the hit radio showcase for America's best young classical musicians hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley. NPR will begin distribution of the series on January 2, 2006 to nearly 250 radio stations across the country, serving an audience of nearly 750,000 weekly listeners.

According to Gerald Slavet, co-Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of the program, "This new relationship with NPR provides From the Top with outstanding opportunities to continue our phenomenal growth. What began as an interesting radio experiment just over six years ago has exploded into one of the five most popular weekly one-hour radio programs on all of public radio.

"With From the Top's meteoric climb, we knew we had landed on a legitimate approach to building a bridge between kids and classical music, and we began to embark on other channels through which we could connect these worlds," Slavet added. "Together with NPR, we can confidently continue moving in this direction." Slavet's co-Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer is Jennifer Hurley-Wales.

"While talented kids and exquisite music are at the core of From the Top, what gives the show such broad appeal is how it celebrates the role of music in all our lives and the dedication, grace and optimism that go into creating it," noted Margaret Low Smith, Vice President for Programming, NPR. "From the Top is a perfect addition to NPR's extensive slate of music programming. Just as NPR News provides reporting depth and context surrounding world events and issues, NPR's diverse music offerings capture emotional depth and substance. Our listeners have told us how much they value music and we seek to respond to that appetite in every way we can."

Recorded in live concert settings in concert halls around the U.S., From the Top captures the top-notch musicianship, offbeat humor and insights of America's best classical musicians aged nine to 18. High-profile performers such as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Bobby McFerrin have appeared to talk about their musical influences and the development of their careers, and to perform with the young artists. The program has been described by the Chicago Tribune as ""One of the most original programs in the history of public radio," while the Los Angeles Times declared, "From the Top is making classical music wild and fun and crazy!"

The NPR Music brand extends through broadcast, satellite radio, original online content, merchandise and, most recently, NPR Podcasts. NPR's broadcast programming slate has the trend-setting contemporary music series World Café as well as performance series showcasing jazz, classical, opera, symphony and Celtic music. offers the All Songs Considered online-exclusive music discovery program, which, in turn, sparked the hit online-only, live concert series. The NPR Shop offers a wide variety of compilation, themed and holiday CDs, coming from artists showcased on NPR programming.

From the Top is a multi-channel non-profit organization that encourages and celebrates the commitment of young people to music and the arts. Through its unique radio, television, web and in-school programming, From The Top provides a platform for young artists to present themselves, share their passion, and develop into important cultural leaders. From the Top is made possible through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. It also supported through the generous contributions of individuals and foundations as well as radio stations around the country. From the Top radio program is produced in association with WGBH Radio Boston and New England Conservatory of Music, its home and education partner.

EDITORS NOTE: Artwork available upon request.

Contact for From The Top:
David Balsom
(617) 437-0707 ext. 107