From the Top

Airs Saturdays at 6 am on WQXR.

Hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley, each one-hour broadcast presents five high-caliber performances along with interviews, sketches and games, revealing the heart and soul behind extraordinary young musicians. Now in its tenth year on air, From the Top is taped before live audiences in concert halls from Boston to Honolulu. Over the years some of the most prominent figures in classical music have appeared alongside young talent on From the Top. These guest artists include Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Bobby McFerrin, Midori, Béla Fleck and many more. Alumni of From the Top are now popping up in the country’s top orchestras and emerging with solo careers.

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Latest Episode / Saturday, April 19, 2014 Edit This

Aspen, Colorado

This week, From the Top comes to you from Harris Concert Hall at the Aspen Music Festival and School. We hear performances from an outstanding array of young musicians who studied here over the summer. Among them, a 16-year-old pianist performing from Préludes, Book II by Claude Debussy; a 14-year-old cellist performing the music of Edouard Lalol; and a 16-year-old violinist performing Tchaikovsky’s playful Waltz-Scherzo.

Highlight Show: Recorded in Studio

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This talent packed annual highlights show features some of the best music and interviews from our past couple of seasons, including one of the most imaginative and musical double bassists we’ve ever encountered, an 11-year-old violinist who’s personality is just irresistible and a very special appearance by the Mother of the Year.

Rochester, New York

Saturday, April 05, 2014

This week, From the Top broadcasts from Eastman School of Music, where special guest Sir James Galway joins us to lead an ensemble of young wind players and to tell us why he’s devoting so much of his time to teaching the next several generations of flutists. You'll also hear from a young violinist who has already written a smartphone app to help teachers and students track practice time.

Beijing, China Part II

Saturday, March 29, 2014

From the Top comes to you this week from Beijing, China, for the second of two shows taped at the Central Conservatory of Music. Among highlights, you'll hear a 13-year-old ehru player perform "Sunshine on Taxkorgan"by Chen Gang and an 11-year-old violinist from Brunei perform Haydn backed by the Great Wall Soloists conducted by Kurt Sassmannshaus.

Beijing, China

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This week, From the Top crosses the world to Beijing, China, with a program from the Central Conservatory of Music, an institution that provides training to many of the best young musicians from all around the country and beyond. You'll meet a 17-year-old violist from Hunan province who performs Brahms, a 16-year-old violinist from Shanghai who performs Wieniawski, and two very young violinists from the United States who perform Bach, backed by the Great Wall Soloists led by Kurt Sassmannshaus.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This week From the Top brings you to Jordan Hall in Boston, Mass., for a series of string performances, and one piano. The program features “The Lark” by Mikhail Glinka brought to life by a wonderfully musical 11-year-old pianist. We'll also enjoy some unaccompanied Bach performed by a very thoughtful Boston-area teenager and a teenage string quartet shares moving stories about the healing power of music in their own lives.

Davis, California

Saturday, March 08, 2014

This week, From the Top comes to you from the Robert and Margaret Mondavi Performing Arts Center at the University of California Davis, where you’ll meet an array of award-winning young musicians, including a 17-year-old guitarist who plays Chopin and a 16-year-old flutist who beatboxes on her flute. You'll also meet a 15-year-old pianist who plays Johann Strauss, a trio who plays Astor Piazzolla, and an 11-year-old violinist who performs Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Saturday, March 01, 2014

From Chattanooga, Tenn., this week From the Top features an uproarious performance of the music of Japanese composer and pianist Hiromi Uehara, performed by a 14-year-old girl from nearby Maryville, Tenn. We'll also hear from a young singer who has raised more than $14,000 for arts programs at the local schools, and a local teenage guitar quartet serenades us with a classical arrangement of an Appalachian folk song.

Highlight Show: Recorded in Studio

Saturday, February 15, 2014

In this week's special highlights episode, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano, violin virtuoso Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, cello master Janos Starker, and the great soprano Dawn Upshaw all share the stage with lucky young musicians.

Costa Mesa, California

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Presented by the Pacific Symphony, this week's From the Top comes to you from Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif. Among highlights, you'll hear the beautiful andante from the Rachmoninoff Cello Sonata in G minor performed by a 16-year-old from San Francisco, and enjoy a Buxtehude praeludium played by a teenage organist. Also, an award-winning choir sings pieces by Samuel Barber and Eric Whitacre, and a 14-year-old pianist plays Stravinsky.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This week From the Top is at its home base, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston, where you'll hear a 13-year-old cellist perform Tchaikovsky and a 9-year-old violinist perform a lively showpiece by Pablo de Sarasate. Also, an accomplished recorder player will break you of any stereotype you may have about this versatile instrument.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Recorded at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, this special edition of From the Top celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The fantastic Boston Children's Chorus performs a variety of inspirational pieces, a teenage quartet perform the music of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and a talented 17-year-old flutist performs "Summerland" by William Grant Still.

Troy, New York

Saturday, January 11, 2014

In this week's cello-centric episode, one of the master cellists of our time, Matt Haimovitz, performs with our teenage musicians. Among the highlights, you'll hear a performance of David Popper's Requiem played by Haimovitz, Christopher O'Riley and two teenage cellists. And in a grand finale, all of the cellists on today's show come together to perform "Open Country Joy" by John McLaughlin.

Highlight Show: Recorded in Studio

Saturday, December 28, 2013

This week, host Christopher O'Riley catches up with some of From the Top's most illustrious alumni in our annual "Where Are They Now Show." You'll enjoy the extraordinary music these young pros are making in their early careers and hear their stories of triumph and struggle as they work to define their own creative space in the world. Featured alumni include a brilliant young composer who is about to have a concert of his work performed by the Shanghai Philharmonic, a touring violinist who's just released a CD of all unaccompanied pieces, and a French horn player who has founded a free music school in his home town.

Wingate, North Carolina

Saturday, December 21, 2013

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 more than 16 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.

El Paso, Texas

Saturday, December 14, 2013

This week, From the Top comes to you from the historic Plaza Theater in El Paso, Texas, where you'll hear an extraordinary 13-year-old clarinetist performing Concertino, Op.26 by Carl Maria von Weber and meet a charming 11-year-old harpist who will play the music of Reinhold Gliere. Also, a 19-year-old organist treats us to a performance on the Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.

Stanford, California

Saturday, December 07, 2013

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.

Princeton, New Jersey

Saturday, November 30, 2013

This week's From the Top, from Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University, celebrates the 75th anniversary of the American Boychoir. You'll hear them perform all show long and also meet two outstanding teenage strings players, who will perform Gabriel Fauré and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Additionally, four members of the American Boychoir join forces to sing "I Love That Old Barbershop Style" by Einar Pederson.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, November 23, 2013

From our broadcast home in Boston, this week’s From the Top features a pianist who, at the age of 9, was the youngest performer ever to sign with the recording label EMI. Also, a phenomenal 16-year-old violinist tackles one of the most difficult and dazzling pieces for unaccompanied violin, and we’ll meet a 17-year-old who, having grown up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in San Francisco, has emerged to become a formidable young mezzo-soprano.

New Albany, Ohio

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This week, From the Top is at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany, Ohio, where you'll hear the Concert Paraphrase on “Rigoletto” by Franz Liszt and the fanciful Capriccio by Lucas Foss performed by a 16-year-old cellist. Also, a talented 17-year-old percussionist performs "Scirocco" for solo marimba by Michael Burritt.

Bowling Green, Ohio

Saturday, November 09, 2013

From Bowling Green, Ohio, this week's show features one of the country's strongest teenage string quartets performing the music of Edvard Grieg and a young composer who's written an adventuresome piece with four movements inspired by the four ancient elements: earth, water, air and fire. You'll also hear a 15-year-old pianist who, in his spare time, invented a new chemical solution for protecting the public monuments of his home city, Houston.