From the Top : About

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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Last updated: Thursday, January 29 2015 04:17 PM

Show 299 | Montclair NJ

Monday, January 26 2015 10:00 PM

From Montclair, New Jersey, this week’s From the Top features the world-renowned Shanghai String Quartet making a special guest appearance. Two lucky teenage performers get the privilege of joining the quartet in a thrilling performance of the music of Johannes Brahms. We’ll also listen to the music a young cellist has chosen to populate his playlists on Spotify—playlists cleverly designed to persuade his high school friends to become fans of classical music. 

Show 293 | NYOUSA Purchase NY

Monday, January 19 2015 10:13 PM

From the campus of SUNY Purchase, New York, this week’s From the Top features Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. We’ll hear this tremendous young ensemble perform works by Bernstein and Gershwin as well as a new piece by Samuel Adams (son of composer John Adams). We’ll also hear a young oboist perform the music of Saint-Saëns, and three members of the orchestra join host Christopher O’Riley to perform a movement of Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor.


Show 243 | MLK Special II

Monday, January 12 2015 10:13 PM

This special episode of From the Top honors the legacy of Dr. King with a wonderful lineup of music and young people who reflect his ideals and his hope for a better world. The program includes four powerful performances by the extraordinary Boston Children’s Chorus and a discussion of the social issues facing its young members today.


Show 290 | Norfolk VA

Monday, January 05 2015 10:13 PM

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


Show 289 | Seattle WA

Monday, December 29 2014 11:03 PM

From Seattle, Washington, this week's program features a teenage violinist local to the "Emerald City" delivering an emotional performance of the music of Ernest Bloch … teenagers from Chicago perform a thrilling wild and fun work for sax quartet … and we'll 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.”


SHow 298 | Greenville SC

Monday, December 22 2014 11:05 PM

From Greenville, South Carolina, this week’s episode features one of the strongest youth choirs in the “Palmetto State” performing a moving new work by a local South Carolina composer. We’ll also meet a euphonium player who performs with the speed and dexterity of a flutist, and we’ll enjoy Bach performed by the 13-year-old winner of the Tureck International Bach Competition.


Show 288 | Tacoma WA

Monday, December 15 2014 10:13 PM

From Tacoma, Washington, 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.


Show HL-16

Monday, December 08 2014 10:43 PM

This week’s From the Top Highlight Show centers around “The Big Story,” featuring not only superb musical performances by young people, but stories from each of these kids that are unusually compelling. A French horn player who has overcome the tragedy of teenage gang warfare to thrive in classical music ... a 14-year-old pianist with an amazing tale of American generosity ... and more.


Show 297 | Storrs, CT

Monday, December 01 2014 10:23 PM

From the University of Connecticut, this week’s From the Top includes an emotional performance of Rachmaninoff’s Elegie in E-flat minor performed by a young pianist from southern Connecticut, a twelve-year-old violinist brings to life all of the quixotic mood changes in Prokofiev’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, and we’ll get a dose of teenage musical philosophy from a philosophical sixteen-year-old cellist.


Show 287 | Miami FL

Monday, November 24 2014 10:23 PM

From Miami Beach, Florida, this week’s From the Top features an expressive 13-year-old violinist performing one of Pablo de Sarasate’s Spanish Dances, a From the Top alumnus who has gone on to become Principal Flute for Miami Beach’s New World Symphony, and a brilliant teenage soprano from Florida who is carrying on the tradition of opera for her family—her mother had a fantastic career performing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and beyond.