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Category: Behind the Scenes

  • Prologue: My name is Chad Lilley, and I’m a classical saxophonist and Washington DC area native. I appeared on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley in the fall of my junior year: October 5, 2013, in the near acoustically (and aesthetically) perfect Jordan Hall at The New England Conservatory. In the summer after […]

  • Oh Chautauqua, how I miss you already! I’m home in Boston now, but just days ago I was at the Chautauqua Institution in Southwestern New York, where we recorded an episode of our radio show. If you haven’t heard of Chautauqua, let me paint a quick picture for you: imagine a huge, private summer resort completely […]

  • This outreach event took place during the weekend of Show 305 in Miami, Florida. A shy boy with a mop of dark hair sits quietly on the side of the classroom at Pine Villa Elementary School in Miami, Florida. When Antonio Urrutia, one of the performers on From the Top’s recent residency in the area, […]

  • This is a special look into Show 305. To listen, click here. When 14-year-old Matthew Hakkarainen pulled the bow across the strings of his violin and the last note of the Kreisler Praeludium and Allegro rang out through Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, the audience erupted in applause. […]

  • This is pianist Anna Boonyanit reflecting on her journey to performing on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley, Show 281. She was 14 years old at the time.  My Home – February 9, 2014 7:19 pm My name had just been announced through my antiquated JVC radio propped on the floor of my bedroom. I had […]

  • To everyone who supported From the Top this past year, we want to express our thanks by sharing some of our favorite moments from 2014. Let’s take it From the Top. 1. In May, violinist Yuki Beppu, who performed most recently on Show 292, appeared on Good Morning America to reenact her viral rendition of a Lady […]

  • Backstage at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 8-year-old pianist Oscar Paz-Suaznabar has his head bent over a cell phone, launching angry birds at stubborn pigs, and From the Top alum Clifton Williams reaches over to show him a trick. Clifton has recently graduated college and moved to Los Angeles to build a career composing and […]

  • On a cool, crisp November day last fall, as the leaves completed their yearly makeover of the New England hills, painting them in swaths of red and orange, a rainstorm was brewing INSIDE of Boston’s Symphony Hall. Some of the area’s best musicians had gathered on stage of the historic music venue along with From […]

  • On July 16, we recorded a show with the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYOUSA). Our friends at Carnegie Hall bring this orchestra of amazing young musicians together each summer, and the result is pretty incredible. (You can listen to the show here, if you’d like. We highly recommend it!) The next day, From […]

  • Notes from Aspen
    Aug 3, 2014

    Well, there’s no doubt that being in a place as gorgeous as Aspen gets the creative juices flowing. I mean, really, how can you not feel inspired when this is your view? Tonight (8/3/14), we’ll record a show of From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley. We’ll feature a host of incredibly talented musicians who […]

  • NAME: Mira Williams AGE: 16 HOMETOWN: Chicago, Illinois INSTRUMENT: Viola PERFORMED ON: Shows 277 and 287 Mira Williams is a dedicated and passionate young musician with strong beliefs and a firm commitment to improving her music. In April, she stepped up to the microphone at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida, and stunned […]

  • NAME: Gregorio Lopes AGE: 18 HOMETOWN: Bloomington, Indiana INSTRUMENT: Violin and viola PERFORMED ON: Show 283 “My favorite part about playing music has come to be its healing quality,” says 18-year-old violinist/violist Gregorio Lopes. When his ensemble, the Violin Virtuosi, traveled to Brazil, Gregorio remembers playing for children who lived in shanty towns and being […]

  • How Music Heals
    Mar 10, 2014

    The healing power of music. This is a phrase we hear a lot these days. Throughout history, music has been a source of inspiration, comfort, and support in many circumstances. We are always amazed at the poise and achievement of our young performers on From the Top. The dedication, hard work, and passion that they […]

  • What do you think audiences enjoy the most about From the Top? The kids on From the Top are inspirational musicians who share wonderful performances and they also share their passions for all kinds of pursuits that make them outstanding human beings. That is very captivating for listeners across the country. How did you first […]

  • By Jon Corin, 18-year-old saxophone player from Sarasota, Florida When I first heard From the Top on the radio, I was in awe of the musicians who were just around my age. My favorite part of the show is how real it makes its performers, bringing them down to earth for the listener and giving […]

  • Maya Buchanan, 13 , violin Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major Op. 24, “Spring” By Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) The 1st and 4th movements are my favorites. I worked on this piece this summer while at Aspen Music Festival and playing it there reminds me a lot of Aspen’s natural setting. When I play […]

  • It’s 7:30 AM on a Monday morning at the Columbia Campus of Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Kids grades K-8 have filed into the gymnasium for their usual morning meeting. Sitting in rows with backpacks and coats still on, they suddenly hear a saxophone above them play, “Oh When the Saints, […]

  • As the thunder subsided and the rainclouds parted high above the Aspen Music Festival grounds on August 4, a phenomenal double rainbow appeared over Harris Concert Hall, just as the last ticket-buyers were hurrying in to the hall to see From the Top’s live taping. Thanks to generous support from the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, […]

  • By Jingxuan Zhang Since this is my first blog post upon the esteemed pages of the Green Room Blog, I thought it fitting to write about, well, writing. I hated it. There you go, the end… except not really: That was just a hook. I learned that particular technique in an SAT class, in addition […]

  • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that From the Top is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. From the Top is recommended for two grants totaling $105,000 to support production of From the Top’s weekly radio show and From the Top’s education and outreach programs. […]