Meet the Gala Performers

 

Jon Batiste and Stay Human (featured band), from New York, New York, is a modern jazz ensemble noted for their world-class music, high energy, and uplifting spirit. The Stay Human band focuses on bringing people together through uplifting music. Led by progressive crossover pianist Jonathan Batiste, Stay Human is creating a unique grassroots movement that encourages accessibility and appreciation in the art of live performance. Members of the band include: Ibanda Ruhumbika, a three-time From the Top alumnus who is quickly becoming one of the most recognized tuba players in the United States; Eddie Barbash, one of the most exciting, sought-after young alto saxophonists of his generation; and Joe Saylor, a dynamic and exciting percussionist, who has performed with jazz legends such as Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Dwayne Dolphin, Steve Wilson, Joe Lovano, Jon Faddis, Slide Hamptom, and Ellis Marsalis.

 

Lauren Chipman Lauren Chipman (emcee/viola), from Los Angeles, California, appeared as a soloist on From the Top in Austin, Texas, in 2001 and again that same year as a member of the Favrile Quartet in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2009, she appeared on the radio show in Granville, Ohio as part of From the Top’s tenth anniversary celebration. She is a member of The Section Quartet as well as musician and songwriter with indie band The Rentals. Lauren performs and records with a host of artists and has appeared on the Grammys, American Music Awards, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and The Tonight Show. In orchestral work, she is Principal Violist of both the New West Symphony and Santa Cecilia Orchestra. Her solo appearances have included performances with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the American Youth Symphony in concert at UCLA Royce Hall as well as the American premiere of Elegia for Viola Solo by Marta Ptaszynska. A laureate in numerous solo competitions over the years, Lauren won the Jack Smith Memorial Award for Most Promising Talent at the 2002 Pasadena Showcase and First Prize in the Chicago Viola Society Competition. Lauren’s chamber music appearances include performing with Midori at Zipper Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Series and the Ysaye Quartet for the Maestro Foundation Chamber Music Series. While only a senior in high school, Lauren’s piano quartet was the youngest ensemble at the time to attend Isaac Stern’s Chamber Workshop in New York. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Lauren received her Bachelors of Music in Viola Performance where she studied with renowned violist Donald McInnes. Originally from the Chicago area, she is currently a member of the faculty of The Colburn School in Los Angeles. She performs and records on an Italian Della Corte viola from 1850, touring with The Section Quartet and The Rentals on an amplified, acoustic replica created for her in 2006 by Chicago string-instrument maker Michael Becker.

 

Tyler Rhodes Tyler Rhodes (guitar), age 19 from Austin, Texas, appeared on From the Top in Carmel, Indiana in 2012. He is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and currently attends the University of Texas at Austin. Tyler began taking guitar lessons at age 8, instructed by Kevin Taylor. At age 12, Tyler won his first competition at Eastfield Community College in Dallas. Around the same time, he joined the Austin Bella Corda, a guitar ensemble of young players. In the five years Tyler has been involved in the group, they have recorded a CD titled Gypsy Teens, and toured many cities from Dallas, Texas to Washington, DC, to Bad Nauheim, Germany. Tyler has also performed solo concerts in Austin, Missoula, and Saint Louis. Tyler has received honors in the Mid-America Guitar Camp competition in St. Louis, Musical Minds Festival in Houston, and the Yamaha Young Performing Artist Competition. Although Tyler is a dedicated guitar player, he maintains other hobbies and interests as well, including singing in his school choir, studying Japanese, and practicing Akido, a Japanese martial art.

 

IbandaIbanda Ruhumbika (emcee/tuba), from New York City, New York, has appeared on From the Top three times, as a member of the Atlanta Youth Symphony in 2006, as a soloist on the radio show in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2007, and with members of the New York Philharmonic Brass Section on From the Top’s Emmy Award-winning PBS television series. A recent graduate of The Juilliard School, he is quickly becoming one of the most recognized tuba players in the United States. Originally from Athens, Georgia, he has won numerous national and international music competitions. Ibanda has been a soloist with "The President's Own" Marine Band. Classically trained, he is well versed in jazz and other styles of music. He is a member of Jonathan Batiste and The Stay Human Band, where he is helping to revolutionize the role of the tuba in the modern-day jazz ensemble.

 

Lauren Chipman Ray Ushikubo (piano), age 11 from Riverside, California, appeared on From the Top in Monterey, California in 2011. He is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, has appeared onstage with world-renowned pianist Lang Lang at Orange County’s Segerstrom Concert Hall, and performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In March 2013, he won the Young Artists Prize in the Piano Division (ages 10-16) at the 2013 Mondavi Young Artists Competition. In January 2012, Ray made his orchestral solo debut as a featured soloist in the Young Musicians’ Foundation Gala Concert at Los Angeles’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where he performed the last movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. In May 2012, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performing excerpts from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 5, K. 175. Ray is a recipient of the 2012 Colburn Academy Steinway Prize, awarded for the best performance of a Beethoven Sonata. In 2011, Ray was a featured speaker at TEDxRedmond. In 2010, he won First Prize in the International Russian Music Piano Competition in San Jose, California. Ray was also named a gold prize-winner in the 2009 American Association for Development of the Gifted and Talented International Music Competition for piano and violin, which resulted in his Carnegie Hall debut. Since 2010, Ray Ushikubo has been a student at The Colburn Academy in Los Angeles, where he studies piano with Ory Shihor and violin with Robert Lipsett and Danielle Belen. Ray’s other interests include math and wakeboarding.

 

Lauren ChipmanAdé Williams (violin), age 15 from Chicago, Illinois, appeared on From the Top in Potsdam, New York in 2012 as a member of Quartet Al Dente and returned as a soloist in Mesa, Arizona in 2013. She is a recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. She was the first place laureate of the Junior Division of the 2012 Sphinx Competition. She has also received honors in the 2012 Vivaldi Seasons Competition, the 2011 DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, 2010 Sejong Cultural Society’s Music Competition, among others. Adé’s made her orchestral debut at age 6 with the Chicago Sinfonietta, and has sinced gone on to perform with numerous orchestras. From 2009–2011, Adé played with the Okemo String Quartet, winner of the 2011 Jules M. Laser Chamber Music Competition presented by the Society of American Musicians and Music in the Loft, semi-finalist of the 2011 St. Paul String Quartet Competition, and youngest ever semi-finalist in 2011 and quarter-finalist in 2010 of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. In 2004, Adé founded SugarStrings, a string trio of cousins known for exhilarating performances and outreach efforts, which has been featured on WFMT, CNN/Essence, and Nightly News with Brian Williams. Adé is a Betsey and John Puth Fellow and a William Warfield Scholar at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy program for gifted pre-college musicians where she studies violin privately with Almita and Roland Vamos. She is also a Bauder Fellow, a Links Fellow, and an Alexandra and John Nichols Scholar. A charter member of the Junior Division of the Chicago Music Association, Adé enjoys spending her free time with friends and family, especially her little brother, cellist Jonathan.

 

Christopher O’Riley (host/piano) has redefined the possibilities of classical music through media, contemporary music, and innovative programming. In addition to hosting From the Top’s radio and television programs and appearing with top orchestras and festivals around the world, O’Riley is also an interpreter of some of the most important contemporary popular music of our time. He lives by the Duke Ellington adage, “there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad.” O’Riley has performed two-piano arrangements of Astor Piazzolla’s tangos with Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler and collaborated with choreographer Martha Clarke in a work which sets the staged stories of Anton Chekhov to the piano works of Alexander Scriabin. He has recorded two discs of his own re-imaginings of Radiohead songs, as well as that of singer/songwriter Nick Drake, and a tribute to Elliot Smith. In 2009 he drew from the works of Nirvana, REM, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Tori Amos, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, and Portishead among others in Out of My Hands. In 2011, O’Riley teamed up with cellist Matt Haimovitz on Shuffle.Play.Listen., a collaboration that plumbs the virtuosic possibilities of their instruments and blurs the boundaries between classical and pop music. O’Riley is a recipient of top prizes and awards from the Van Cliburn Competition and the Avery Fisher Career Grants. He is a graduate of New England Conservatory in Boston.

 

Thank you to our generous gala sponsors: