From the Top : About

Airs Saturdays at 6 am on WQXR.

➾ From the Top playlist and episode information

Hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley, each program presents five high-caliber performances along with interviews, sketches and games, revealing the heart and soul behind extraordinary young musicians.

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.

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Show Archive

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Latest Stories from From the Top

Show 299 | Montclair NJ

Monday, August 29 2016 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 300 | Boston MA

Monday, August 22 2016 10:00 PM

From our home in Boston, Massachusetts, this week's episode features an 11-year-old who is not only a precocious violinist, but who also happens to be a budding meteorologist—his long-term forecasts on YouTube are impressively accurate. A young cellist performs the gorgeous Andante movement from Rachmaninoff's Sonata in G minor, and we'll meet a pianist who, at the age of 14, has recorded all of the Opus 25 Chopin piano études.

Show 305 | Coral Gables FL

Monday, August 15 2016 10:00 PM

From the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, this week's From the Top features a remarkably bold and confident performance by a 14-year-old violinist from South Florida, a young soprano from New Orleans performing a musical setting of one of Emily Dickinson's poems, and an oboist who, in addition to possessing an enormous library of classical music, is a wonderful teenage spokesperson for the genre.

Show 302 | Denver CO

Monday, August 08 2016 10:00 PM

From Denver, Colorado, this week's episode features a special guest appearance by one of America's finest living film composers, Danny Elfman. Our young musicians perform arrangements of his music from the soundtracks of "Milk" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Mr. Elfman also shares stories from his own colorful teenage years, and a phenomenal 17-year-old from New York performs the music of Lowell Liebermann.

Show 303 | Interlochen MI

Monday, August 01 2016 10:00 PM

This week's From the Top features students studying at one of America's most famous training programs for young musicians—the Interlochen Arts Academy—in rural Michigan. We meet the winners of the Academy's concerto competition, and the mighty Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra performs a world premiere inspired by the story of The Three Musketeers.

Show 317 | Louisville KY

Monday, July 25 2016 10:00 PM

From Louisville, Kentucky, this week's From the Top features a superb 17-year-old pianist from Brooklyn who wants to devote himself to the work of racially diversifying the world of classical music. We'll also hear an entrancing performance of "Over the Rainbow" performed on marimba by the local teen percussionist, and the Louisville Youth Orchestra perform a brand new piece by American composer Christopher Theofanidis.

Show 316 | Rochester NY

Monday, July 18 2016 10:00 PM

This week From the Top celebrates its young musicians with the superb Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and their conductor, Ward Stare. The orchestra performs concerti with three young soloists including a 14-year-old pianist tackling the music of Grieg and a 17-year-old clarinetist playing Mozart. The orchestra also performs the broadcast premiere of a new work by a 16-year-old composer, and we'll learn about that young composer's extraordinary side career as a boy soprano.

Show 315 | Naples FL

Monday, July 11 2016 10:00 PM

From Naples Florida, this week's program features a highly emotional performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor by three teenagers from the Chicago area; a young oboist shares a funny story about how sibling rivalry has fueled his drive for excellence; and the local 14-year-old pianist describes how he raised over twenty-thousand dollars for a nearby children's hospital.

Show HL-24 |

Monday, July 04 2016 10:00 PM

This week's special "Where Are They Now?" episode traces the lives of five different From the Top alums to learn how these young artists are negotiating their lives in their twenties. One alumni guest has just scored the position of Principal Bassoonist for the Chicago Symphony. Another is a lyric soprano working in the opera houses of Germany. One's a touring piano soloist. Each featured alum shares with us a recent musical performance.

Show 325 | El Paso TX

Monday, June 27 2016 10:00 PM

From El Paso, Texas, this week's program opens with a powerhouse performance of the music of Johannes Brahms performed by a 15-year-old violinist from Texas. We'll also hear a lyrical new work by a talented teenage composer featuring the under appreciated brass instrument, the euphonium, and each young musician on the program shares a clip of music that first inspired them to dedicate themselves to musical study.

Show 314 | Orono ME

Monday, June 20 2016 10:00 PM

From Orono, Maine, this week's program features violinist, educator, and composer Mark O'Connor as a special guest artist, and he brings his signature American fiddle sound to some exciting collaborations with the young performers on the show. We'll also hear the inspirational story of how studying music helped the young cellist on the program overcome major physical coordination challenges.

Show 324| New York NY

Monday, June 13 2016 10:00 PM

From New York City, this week's program features a fiery performance of the music of Argentinian composer, Alberto Ginastera performed by a 16-year-old cellist from New York, a young oboist shares some beautiful thoughts about his Honduran immigrant parents and what they've taught him, and an unusually self motivated teenage piano trio, organized with no coaching or assistance from any adults delivers a wonderfully nuanced performance of Beethoven's Piano Trio in C minor.

Show 313 | Boston MA

Monday, June 06 2016 10:00 PM

From our home in Boston, this week's program features a From the Top alum who's gone on to be the first American pianist since 1966 to win the Silver Medal at the famous International Tchaikovsky Competition. Also we meet a pianist who's just nine years old who not only performs the music of Rachmaninoff with authority, she also happens to have been an international chess champion.

Show 323 | Idyllwild CA

Monday, May 30 2016 10:00 PM

From Idyllwild, California this week's From the Top features the excellent students studying at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. We hear a wonderful young cellist from China perform the music of Schumann, we'll meet a self-described "flute playing country boy" from rural Oklahoma ... and we'll enjoy a brand new piece for string octet commissioned by the Idyllwild Arts Academy on the occasion of the school's 70th anniversary.

Show 312 | Big Sky MT

Monday, May 23 2016 10:00 PM

From Big Sky, Montana, this week's program features a young pianist who conjures up a great seascape through his multi-layered performance of the music of Maurice Ravel, a flashy violin showpiece played by a fearless 14-year-old from Santa Fe, and a local trumpet player who, when she's not practicing scales, is out running marathons across the Montana landscape.

Show 306 | South Bend IN

Monday, May 16 2016 10:00 PM

From the Top comes to you from the premier competition for teenage chamber music in the country this week—The Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. We hear all the adrenaline-filled performances and Christopher O'Riley interviews the young musicians who have made it to the finals as they compete for the gold medal at this amazing gathering.

Show 311 | Atlanta GA

Monday, May 09 2016 10:00 PM

From Atlanta, Georgia, this week's episode features a thrilling performance by a local public school choir, a 14-year-old cellist performs Tchaikovsky's Pezzo capriccioso with tremendous warmth and spirit, and we'll meet a young organist with a great story of how his devotion to musical scholarship got him into a bit of trouble¾his local library once threatened him with over $2000 in fines for keeping so many musical scores out beyond their due date.

Show 322 | Davis CA

Monday, May 02 2016 10:00 PM

From Davis, California, this week's From the Top features a teenage pianist who has already achieved international recognition for her interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach ... we'll enjoy Ravel's "Tzigane" performed by an extraordinary young violinist from Southern California ... and we'll meet a young cellist with a moving story about the sacrifices his whole family has made in support of his musical dreams.

Show 310 - Aspen CO

Monday, April 25 2016 10:00 PM

From the Top returns to the Aspen Music Festival and School to celebrate the young musicians who gather there to study and perform during the summer. A pianist who's just twelve years old performs the music of Robert Schumann, we'll experience a deeply emotional double bass performance by a young man from Seattle, and we'll hear about a wonderful outreach program called "Back to Bach," founded by a 15-year-old cellist on the program.

Show 321 | Lake Jackson TX

Monday, April 18 2016 10:00 PM

From Lake Jackson, Texas, this week's From the Top features an energetic 11-year-old pianist from Texas performing the music of Mendelssohn, we'll hear a brand new work for four cellos written by a brilliant teenage composer from Pennsylvania, and we'll meet a very confident young trumpet player who thrives on the pressure of playing a brass instrument—he loves the challenge that, because the instrument is so loud, everyone can hear any mistake he might make. Not surprisingly, this young player makes very few.

HL-22 Podcast

Monday, April 11 2016 10:00 PM

It's our annual Highlights show featuring some of the best performances we've featured over the past couple of seasons. We'll meet one of the most imaginative young composers in the country, we'll hear an unforgettable performance by a public school choir from Oklahoma...and the youngest trumpet player we've ever featured at 10-years-old performs the virtuosic Carnival of Venice.

Show 320 | Lubbock TX

Monday, April 04 2016 10:00 PM

From Lubbock Texas, this week's From the Top features a 16-year-old pianist who is one of the few lucky students able to take lessons with the internationally renowned concert pianist, Jean Yves Thibaudet. We'll hear from Maestro Thibaudet and enjoy the young pianist's superb performance. We'll also meet a young violinist from the city of Lubbock itself who performs the music of Spanish composer Manuel De Falla, and a teen cellist shares a moving story about nearly giving up his instrument and the mindset that brought him back to music.

Show 309 | Vail CO

Monday, March 28 2016 10:00 PM

From the Bravo! Vail Festival in Vail, Colorado, this week's From the Top features one of the top training orchestras in the United States: The National Repertory Orchestra. We'll enjoy the youthful energy of this ensemble in performances of the music of Falla and Poulenc. Also, a gifted teenage violinist from Washington State shares the moving story of how music transformed her from a completely emotionally shut-down child to a vivacious leader in her youth orchestra.

Show 319 | San Jose CA

Monday, March 21 2016 10:00 PM

From San Jose, California, this week's From the Top is an all-Californian show featuring young musicians exclusively from The Golden State. A multi-competition-winning choir from Northern California performs a traditional spiritual; a 16-year-old pianist performs a powerfully evocative piece by a Turkish composer; and we meet a teenage guitarist from San Francisco who, with very little resources, began in music by teaching himself through YouTube videos and has since emerged to become a very original composer.

Show 308 \ Chautauqua NY

Monday, March 14 2016 10:00 PM

From the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, today's show features a virtuosic teenage recorder player (a rare breed in this country) who is not only an amazing musician, but also a formidable researcher of the Baroque era. Also, a 16-year-old pianist performs a Chopin favorite, and a young violinist shares a humorous tale of teenage romance.

Show 318 | Boston MA

Monday, March 07 2016 10:00 PM

Back at our home in Jordan Hall in Boston, this week's From the Top features a wonderful diversity of young musicians, including a teenage cellist who's making her way on her own in America after moving here from Belarus; a boy from Nashville, Tennessee, who's carrying on the great guitar tradition of that city; and a pianist from the Boston area who's just eleven years old.

Show 296 | Washington DC

Monday, February 29 2016 10:00 PM

From Washington, D.C., this week's program includes one of the youngest performers From the Top has ever featured: an 8-year-old Bolivian American pianist. He performs the music of Haydn with a delightfully infectious sense of freedom and joy. Also, an all-female percussion quartet brings us a mesmerizing piece written by a contemporary composer, and the show concludes with the sheer inspiration of a youth gospel choir.

Show 317 | Louisville KY

Monday, February 22 2016 10:00 PM

From Louisville, Kentucky, this week's From the Top features a superb 17-year-old pianist from Brooklyn who wants to devote himself to the work of racially diversifying the world of classical music. We'll also hear an entrancing performance of "Over the Rainbow" performed on marimba by the local teen percussionist, and the Louisville Youth Orchestra perform a brand new piece by American composer Christopher Theofanidis.

Show 307 | Boston MA

Monday, February 15 2016 10:00 PM

In the contemporary spirit of performance trends like Groupmuse in which young performers organize impromptu house concerts to play chamber music, From the Top presents its first "House Concert" from Boston, Massachusetts, and it has a decidedly more intimate feel. A cellist who's just 11 years old performs the music of David Popper, and we meet a teenage classical guitarist who's also a poet, a neuroscience nerd, and a serious skateboarder.

Show 316 | Rochester NY

Monday, February 08 2016 10:00 PM

This week From the Top celebrates its young musicians with the superb Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and their conductor, Ward Stare. The orchestra performs concerti with three young soloists including a 14-year-old pianist tackling the music of Grieg and a 17-year-old clarinetist playing Mozart. The orchestra also performs the broadcast premiere of a new work by a 16-year-old composer, and we'll learn about that young composer's extraordinary side career as a boy soprano.

Show 295 | Boston MA

Monday, February 01 2016 10:00 PM

From our home in Boston, this week's program features a 13-year-old violinist whose performance of the music of Robert Schumann beautifully conveys the composer's romantic fervor; we also meet an internationally award-winning young pianist; and a teenage boy shares the humorous story of studying and then rejecting about five different instruments before finally discovering his lifelong soulmate: the French horn.

Show 301 | San Francisco CA

Monday, January 25 2016 10:00 PM

The world-renowned cellist Matt Haimovitz returns to From the Top as the special guest artist of this week's program from the San Francisco Conservatory. With the young performers on the program, Maestro Haimovitz performs a very unusual piece—a children's musical storybook called "Angel Heart"—featuring the internationally best-selling children's author Cornelia Funke as its narrator. And there's still the regular lineup of outstanding young musicians, including a 14-year-old violinist performing one of Sarasate's most spirited show pieces.

Show HL-24

Monday, January 18 2016 10:00 PM

This week's special "Where Are They Now?" episode traces the lives of five different From the Top alums to learn how these young artists are negotiating their lives in their twenties. One alumni guest has just scored the position of Principal Bassoonist for the Chicago Symphony. Another is a lyric soprano working in the opera houses of Germany. One's a touring piano soloist. Each featured alum shares with us a recent musical performance.

Show 208 | Boston MA

Monday, January 11 2016 10:00 PM

From the Top is teaming up with the Boston Children's Chorus to present a special celebration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Join host Christopher O'Riley, young musicians from around the country and the Boston Children's Chorus for an hour of music and personal stories that would make Dr. King smile with pride.

Show 315 | Naples FL

Monday, January 04 2016 10:00 PM

From Naples Florida, this week's program features a highly emotional performance of Rachmaninoff's Piano Trio No. 1 in G minor by three teenagers from the Chicago area; a young oboist shares a funny story about how sibling rivalry has fueled his drive for excellence; and the local 14-year-old pianist describes how he raised over twenty-thousand dollars for a nearby children's hospital.

Show 298 | Greenville SC

Monday, December 28 2015 10:00 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 306 | South Bend IN

Monday, December 21 2015 10:00 PM

From the Top comes to you from the premier competition for teenage chamber music in the country this week—The Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. We hear all the adrenaline-filled performances and Christopher O'Riley interviews the young musicians who have made it to the finals as they compete for the gold medal at this amazing gathering.

Show 314 | Orono ME

Monday, December 14 2015 10:00 PM

From Orono, Maine, this week's program features violinist, educator, and composer Mark O'Connor as a special guest artist, and he brings his signature American fiddle sound to some exciting collaborations with the young performers on the show. We'll also hear the inspirational story of how studying music helped the young cellist on the program overcome major physical coordination challenges.

Show HL-23

Monday, December 07 2015 10:00 PM

Featuring nearly twice as much music as From the Top's regular episodes, this "Mostly Music" highlights program celebrates some of the best performances by young people From the Top has presented over the past couple of seasons. We meet a wonderfully quirky 14-year-old cellist, enjoy Mozart performed by a teenager from New York State, and we hear perhaps the strongest teenage baritone From the Top has ever encountered sing the music of Schubert.

Show 313 | Boston MA

Monday, November 30 2015 10:00 PM

From our home in Boston, this week's program features a From the Top alum who's gone on to be the first American pianist since 1966 to win the Silver Medal at the famous International Tchaikovsky Competition. Also we meet a pianist who's just nine years old who not only performs the music of Rachmaninoff with authority¾she also happens to have been an international chess champion.

Show 312 | Big Sky MT

Monday, November 23 2015 10:00 PM

From Big Sky, Montana, this week's program features a young pianist who conjures up a great seascape through his multi-layered performance of the music of Maurice Ravel, a flashy violin showpiece played by a fearless 14-year-old from Santa Fe, and a local trumpet player who¾when she's not practicing scales¾is out running marathons across the Montana landscape.

HL-19 | Podcast

Monday, November 16 2015 10:00 PM

This highlight episode features the favorite pieces of renowned musician Gunther Schuller, performed by From the Top alumni. The show includes the world premiere of a piece Gunther wrote when he was just 19 years old.

Show 311 | Atlanta GA

Monday, November 09 2015 10:00 PM

From Atlanta, Georgia, this week's episode features a thrilling performance by a local public school choir, a 14-year-old cellist performs Tchaikovsky's Pezzo capriccioso with tremendous warmth and spirit, and we'll meet a young organist with a great story of how his devotion to musical scholarship got him into a bit of trouble¾his local library once threatened him with over $2000 in fines for keeping so many musical scores out beyond their due date.

Show 305 | Coral Gables FL

Monday, November 02 2015 10:00 PM

From the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, this week's From the Top features a remarkably bold and confident performance by a 14-year-old violinist from South Florida, a young soprano from New Orleans performing a musical setting of one of Emily Dickinson's poems, and an oboist who, in addition to possessing an enormous library of classical music, is a wonderful teenage spokesperson for the genre.

Show 310 | Aspen CO

Monday, October 26 2015 10:00 PM

From the Top returns to the Aspen Music Festival and School to celebrate the young musicians who gather there to study and perform during the summer. A pianist who's just twelve years old performs the music of Robert Schumann, we'll experience a deeply emotional double bass performance by a young man from Seattle, and we'll hear about a wonderful outreach program called "Back to Bach," founded by a 15-year-old cellist on the program.

Show HL-25

Monday, October 19 2015 10:00 PM

Featuring nearly twice as much music as From the Top's regular episodes, this highlights program celebrates some of the best performances by young people From the Top has presented over the past couple of seasons. An irresistibly charming 11-year-old violinist performs the music of Claude Debussy, a teenage soprano describes her charmed meeting with the great opera diva Renee Fleming, and we'll hear one of the greatest young trumpet players we've ever had on the program perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Shoe 303 | Interlochen MI

Monday, October 12 2015 10:00 PM

This week's From the Top features students studying at one of America's most famous training programs for young musicians—the Interlochen Arts Academy—in rural Michigan. We meet the winners of the Academy's concerto competition, and the mighty Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra performs a world premiere inspired by the story of The Three Musketeers.

Show 309 | Vail CO

Monday, October 05 2015 10:00 PM

From the Bravo! Vail Festival in Vail, Colorado, this week's From the Top features one of the top training orchestras in the United States: The National Repertory Orchestra. We'll enjoy the youthful energy of this ensemble in performances of the music of Falla and Poulenc. Also, a gifted teenage violinist from Washington State shares the moving story of how music transformed her from a completely emotionally shut-down child to a vivacious leader in her youth orchestra.

Show 302 | Denver CO

Monday, September 28 2015 10:00 PM

From Denver, Colorado, this week's episode features a special guest appearance by one of America's finest living film composers, Danny Elfman. Our young musicians perform arrangements of his music from the soundtracks of "Milk" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Mr. Elfman also shares stories from his own colorful teenage years, and a phenomenal 17-year-old from New York performs the music of Lowell Liebermann.

Show 308 | Chataqua NY

Monday, September 21 2015 10:00 PM

From the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, today's show features a virtuosic teenage recorder player (a rare breed in this country) who is not only an amazing musician, but also a formidable researcher of the Baroque era. Also, a 16-year-old pianist performs a Chopin favorite, and a young violinist shares a humorous tale of teenage romance.