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, July 26, 2014 Edit This

The National Youth Orchestra of the USA in Purchase, New York

This week, From the Top is broadcasting from SUNY Purchase where the National Youth Orchestra of the USA has been in residence for two weeks, preparing for its national tour.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Saturday, July 12, 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.

Costa Mesa, California

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Presented by the Pacific Symphony, this week's From the Top comes to you from Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Calif. Among the 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.

Norfolk, Virginia

Saturday, June 28, 2014

From Norfolk, Va., this week’s episode features a violin-cello duo 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.”

Seattle, Washington

Saturday, June 21, 2014

From Seattle, Wash., this week's program features a local teenage violinist delivering an emotional performance of the music of Ernest Bloch and teenagers from Chicago perform a thrilling wild and fun work for sax quartet. We'll also 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."

Wingate, North Carolina

Saturday, June 14, 2014

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.

Tacoma, Washington

Saturday, June 07, 2014

From Tacoma, Wash., 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.

Miami, Florida

Saturday, May 31, 2014

This week From the Top comes to you from New World Center in beautiful Miami Beach, Fla. Among the featured performers, you'll meet a 13-year-old violinist who’s studying with a New World Symphony fellow, a 16-year-old violist who is an outspoken champion of the viola, and a 17-year-old soprano who is taught by her Grammy Award-winning mom. Also, you'll hear a movement of the Brahms Piano Quintet performed by current New World Symphony fellows who just happen to be alums of our show.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, May 24, 2014

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.

Bowling Green, Ohio

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Saturday, May 10, 2014

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.

This South Dakota Rancher Plays a Mean Fiddle

Saturday, May 03, 2014

This week, From the Top is on the campus of the University of South Dakota at the National Music Museum, where you'll hear some of the amazing historical instruments in their collection.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This week's From the Top is broadcast from Calderwood Hall at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as part of the Massachusetts' Cultural Council's National Summit on Creative Youth Development. You'll meet a guitarist who’s an expert on roller coasters and a teenage cellist from New Orleans whose family is French-American but who loves all things Korean. Performances on this show range from a Chopin piano favorite to the wild ride of a trombone quartet.

Aspen, Colorado

Saturday, April 19, 2014

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.