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, September 27, 2014 Edit This

Salem, Massachusetts

Each performer on this week's show chose a piece of art from the Peabody Essex Museum's collection that they felt connected with their music in some way.

Highlight Show: Recorded in Studio

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This week, host Christopher O'Riley catches up with some of From the Top's most illustrious alumni in the "Where Are They Now Show."

Sidney, Maine

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Meet a harpist who shares some wonderful stories about growing up studying music on rugged and rural Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Rochester, New York

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Special guest Sir James Galway joins From the Top this week to lead an ensemble of young wind players.

San Marcos, Texas

Saturday, August 30, 2014

This week's From the Top comes to you from Evans Auditorium at the Texas State University in San Marcos, the site of the Texas State International Piano Festival.

Princeton, New Jersey

Saturday, August 23, 2014

This week's From the Top, from Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University, celebrates the 75th anniversary of the American Boychoir.

New Albany, Ohio

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This week, From the Top is at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany, Ohio.

El Paso, Texas

Saturday, August 09, 2014

This week, From the Top comes to you from the historic Plaza Theater in El Paso, Texas.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, August 02, 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.

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

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.