Alumni News: Premieres, Summer Programs, Solo Performances & More

If you are a From the Top alum with news to share, send us a message at!

Clifton Williams on From the Top in March 2009.

Clifton Williams

Clifton Williams (Show #195), a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist from Washington, D.C. captured the hearts of millions of listeners with his moving story on our radio show last spring. Clifton’s appearance on From the Top also inspired a feature story in the Washington Post. “After the article, so many strangers reached out to me. It felt really great that so many people care about young artists like me.” The feedback was overwhelming. Clifton, who had never owned a piano of his own, was offered a total of 15 pianos, some of which he had donated to his school (the Duke Ellington School for the Arts) and his church. This summer, with the help of his Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, Clifton attended summer music camps at Indiana University and Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was also invited to attend “Adventures of the Mind” at Princeton University, along with some of the country’s best high school students. ” It’s been a crazy, mind-blowing experience. Having this great summer just shows me what life has in store and keeps me on edge!”

Nine-year-old flutist Emma Resmini (Show #196) will be performing with the National Symphony Orchestra at their Holiday Concerts, December 10 -13, 2009 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Marvin Hamlisch conducting.

Jessica Pearlman, oboe, (Show #63) wrote in with an update on her life. “I recently won the position of principal oboe with the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California. I understand from the Symphony’s president, John Forsyte, that Christopher O’Riley used to run the chamber music program there, and I thought that was a pretty cool connection. Also ironic is that so much of my particular episode was dedicated to the fact that I would be leaving the beach (in Half Moon Bay) when going to college, and now, for my first job out of school (I finished my Masters at Juilliard last May), I am returning to the West coast and to many many beautiful beaches!”

Roberto Granados and Executive Producer Laurie Donnelly at the Emmys with the award for "From the Top at Carnegie Hall"

Roberto Granados and Laurie Donnelly with the Emmy for "From the Top at Carnegie Hall"

Roberto Granados (Show #186) recently auditioned for Barry Jekowsky, Music Director for the California Symphony. The audition must have gone well because Roberto’s father reported that he will be playing Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo with the symphony in 2010.

Another Californian, Clark Pang (TV #101) will be performing the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the California Symphony on October 24 during the Symphony’s Gala Fundraiser.

In early October, Anna Lee (Show #152 & 174 and TV#201), performed Wieniawsk’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 22 with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony.

In September, George Li (Show # 44, TV #104) had a concert tour in three Swedish cities with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra of Sweden. On October 4, George performed with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Benjamin Zander. In both events George performed Saint Saens Piano Concerto #2.

A choral work by Stephen Feigenbaum, 20, (Show #152), commissioned by the Terezin Chamber Music Foundation, will be performed at a benefit concert  at Symphony Hall in Boston on November 1. The November performance is the Boston premiere of “Songs of Sorrow and Hope” which is based on three texts: a poem written by Hanus Hachenburg, a boy from Prague who was deported to Terezin and died at 14 at Auschwitz; a poem by Mary Kimani, a modern African writer who was a witness to the Rwandan genocide; and an excerpt from a book written by Donna Rubinstein, one of Stephen’s relatives, who escaped the mass murder of her Jewish community in the Ukraine when she was a teenager. Stephen’s piece was first performed by the Vancouver Chamber Choir when it was a finalist in their 2009 Young Composers’ Competition. It was also performed by the Quincy Choral Society at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague this summer.

Congratulations to Ansel Norris (Show #191) and Kyla Moskovich (Show #168 and TV# 212), who are both recent winners of the International Trumpet Guild’s Young Artist Award.

Karen Cueva

Karen Cueva

Karen Cueva (Show #187) was thrilled to be able to put her Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Scholarship towards a new violin last year. Thanks to the generosity of violin maker Doug Cox of Brattleboro, Vermont, Karen was able to get twice the violin with her scholarship money. To help Karen get the most out of her award, Cox Violins offered her a scholarship credit towards her dream violin! Learn more Cox Violin’s scholarship program.

Brandon Garbot (Show #181) performed with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra in Olympia, Washington earlier this month.

Cellist Aaron Wolff (Show #195) is receiving rave reviews on his debut role as “Danny Gopnik” in the feature film, “A Serious Man.” Congrats Aaron!

We were delighted to hear from Melanie Sierra (Show #s 114 & 187) with this fun video of her amazing vocal talents.

This is a periodic update compiled through submission, staff and online news sources. If you are a From the Top alum with news to share, send us a message at!