From the Top Announces 2019–2020 National Tour

Live recording events of popular NPR classical music show will feature special lineup of hosts and co-hosts

Boston, Massachusetts (July 30, 2019) – From the Top, America’s largest platform celebrating the voices and talents of America’s brightest young classical musicians, announced the 2019-2020 tour dates and hosts for its nationally-distributed NPR radio program today.

From the Top will take its live recording events on a 10-city tour with today’s extraordinary young artists who will be joined by notable guest hosts, including piano duo Anderson & Roe, Grammy Award-winning clarinetist and saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, pianist Lara Downes, pianist Peter Dugan, violinist and Street Symphony founder Vijay Gupta, cellist Paul Katz, violinist Tessa Lark, pianist Orli Shaham, composer and bassist Michael Thurber, and violinist Elena Urioste.

“From the Top’s 2019–2020 season welcomes an incredible lineup of special guest hosts who believe in the importance of nurturing and amplifying the tremendous gifts of today’s young musicians,” said Gretchen Nielsen, From the Top’s Executive Director. “The collective depth and expertise of From the Top’s guests hosts will culminate in an engaging new season.”

From the Top’s live concert recordings are just one part of a larger, all-encompassing experience for each of the young musicians, who will also participate in leadership training, community engagement activities and career development workshops designed to enrich both personal and artistic growth.

The 2019–2020 season details:

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Paul Katz | Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 7:00 PM | New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall | Presented by Morningside Music Bridge | Tickets and information | Airs week of October 21, 2019

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Michael Thurber and Tessa Lark | Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 2:00 PM | New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Boston, Massachusetts | Tickets and information | Airs week of November 4, 2019

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Peter Dugan | Saturday, November 2, 2019 at 7:30 PM | The Presbyterian Church in Morristown, New Jersey | Presented by Music in the Somerset Hills | Tickets and information | Airs weeks of December 16, 2019 and January 6, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Orli Shaham | Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 7:00 PM | Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine | Presented by Portland Ovations |Tickets and information | Airs weeks of January 20 and February 3, 2020. Support for this recording of From the Top is made possible by the Onion Foundation, with additional support from Great Diamond Partners, and media sponsor, Maine Public Classical.

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Elena Urioste and Peter Dugan | Sunday, January 19, 2020 at 7:00 PM | Tennessee Williams Theatre, Key West, Florida | Presented by Tennessee Williams Theatre on the Campus of the College of the Florida Keys | Tickets and information | Airs week of February 17, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Peter Dugan | Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 7:00 PM | Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts | Tickets and information | Airs week of March 2, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Paquito D’Rivera and Peter Dugan | Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 2:00 PM | New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall,  Boston, Massachusetts | Tickets and information | Airs week of March 30, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Anderson & Roe | Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 8:00 PM | The Center for the Arts at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia | Presented by Great Performances at MasonTickets and information | Airs weeks of April 20 and May 11, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Vijay Gupta | Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM | Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles, California | Presented by The Wallis | Tickets and information | Airs week of June 1, 2020

NPR’s From the Top | Thursday March 19, 2020 at 7:30 PM | Corson Auditorium, Interlochen, Michigan | Presented by Interlochen Center for the Arts | Tickets and information | Airs week of June 22, 2020

NPR’s From the Top, hosted by Lara Downes, featuring the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra | Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 3:00 PM | Powell Hall, St. Louis, Missouri | Presented by St Louis Symphony Orchestra | Tickets and information | Airs week of September 7, 2020

Additional guest hosts will be announced at a later date.

Artist bios:

Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which, during an international career of 26 years, made more than 2,500 appearances on four continents. Today he is a renowned member of the faculty at New England Conservatory, founder of NEC’s Professional String Quartet Training Program, and the creator of, a website designed to connect cellists of all ages and performance levels. “Talent Has Hunger” is a 2016 documentary about Katz and the mentorship of his cello students. It has been seen in museums and art cinemas nationwide, in Asia, and on more than 200 PBS television stations. Katz has received many honors, including the “Chevalier du Violoncelle,” awarded by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University for distinguished achievements and contributions to the world of cello playing and teaching; The Richard M. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor; an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from Albright College; and the American String Teachers Association “Artist-Teacher of the Year 2003.”

Guest Host Michael Thurber

pc: Lauren Desberg

Acclaimed composer and bassist Michael Thurber’s musical career defies categorization. From composing for The Royal Shakespeare Company and co-founding the smash YouTube channel CDZA, to creating his Thurber Theater variety show, teaching at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, composing for symphony orchestras across the country, and performing in the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, as well as in duo with violinist Tessa Lark, Thurber’s musical journey has been remarkably singular.  He is an alumnus of From the Top and serves on From the Top’s Board of Directors.

Guest Host Tessa Lark

pc: Lauren Desberg

Violinist Tessa Lark, recipient of a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Silver Medalist in the 2014 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and winner of the 2012 Naumburg International Violin Competition, is one of the most captivating artistic voices of our time. A budding superstar in the classical realm, she is also a highly acclaimed fiddler in the tradition of her native Kentucky. Since making her concerto debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at sixteen, Ms. Lark has appeared with dozens of orchestras, festivals, and recital venues including Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, San Francisco Performances, Marlboro Music, Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Australia’s Musica Viva Festival. Recent and upcoming highlights include debuts with the Seattle and Indianapolis symphonies and the Buffalo and Rochester philharmonics. In January 2019 she made her debut with the Albany Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of SKY, a bluegrass-inspired violin concerto written for her by Michael Torke, and since then she has performed the work with numerous other orchestras. Ms. Lark is a graduate of New England Conservatory with an Artist Diploma from The Juilliard School. She plays a ca.1600 G.P. Maggini violin on loan from an anonymous donor through the Stradivari Society of Chicago.

Guest Host Peter Dugan

pc: Jacob Blickenstaff

Pianist Peter Dugan served as guest host on six From the Top episodes this past season and first appeared as a musician on the program in 2007 at the age of 18. Over the last 11 years, he’s appeared as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America and abroad. Equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms, Peter has performed in duos and trios with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to Jesse Colin Young and Glenn Close. His debut last year with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was described by the Los Angeles Times as “stunning.” He is a founding creator and the pianist for Operation Superpower, a superhero opera program for children.

Guest Host Orli Shaham

pc: Christian Steiner

The concert pianist Orli Shaham served as guest host on From the Top last season and has an impressive international reputation as one of today’s most gifted pianists. The New York Times called her a “brilliant pianist”, and she is admired worldwide for her interpretations of both standard and modern repertoire. In addition to performing concertos and recitals around the world, she created and hosts a live interactive concert series for young children.  Orli Shaham’s Bach Yard (formerly Baby Got Bach) was founded in 2010, and is recognized by parents, media and the music community as a significant force in music education and entertainment.

pc: Geandy Pavon

NEA Jazz Master Paquito D’Rivera defies categorization. Born in Havana, Cuba, he performed at age 10 with the National Theater Orchestra, studied at the Havana Conservatory of Music and, at 17, became a featured soloist with the Cuban National Symphony. As a founding member of the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna, he directed that group for two years, while at the same time playing both the clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. D’Rivera has garnered fourteen GRAMMY awards, including Best Classical Composition for Merengue, written for cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Paquito D’Rivera’s many accomplishments include: First artist to win Latin GRAMMYs in both Classical and Latin Jazz categories; Founding member/conductor of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra; Former Composer-In-Residence, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s; Artistic Director, DC Jazz Festival; Recipient of the Frankfurter Musikpreis; John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition; National Medal of the Arts, Living Jazz Legend Award-The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Medal of Honor – The National Arts Club; Nelson A. Rockefeller Award; and honorary doctorates/awards from Berklee College of Music, University of Pennsylvania, The Graduate Center, CUNY, Spelman College, and the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Boosey & Hawkes is the exclusive publisher for his works. “He has become the consummate multinational ambassador, creating and promoting a cross-culture of music that moves effortlessly among jazz, Latin, and classical,” The National Endowment for the Arts.

Guest Hosts Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

pc: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Anderson & Roe, Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. Hailed as “the most dynamic duo of this generation” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “rock stars of the classical music world” (Miami Herald), the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo has appeared on PBS and MTV, recorded Billboard chart-topping albums, toured worldwide as recitalists and orchestral soloists, and released Emmy-nominated, self-produced music videos viewed by millions. Greg Anderson is an alumnus of From the Top.

Guest Host Vijay GuptaVijay Gupta is an esteemed violinist, communicator, and citizen-artist. A leading advocate for the role of the arts and music to heal, inspire, provoke change and foster social connection, Gupta is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Symphony, a non-profit organization providing musical engagement, dialogue and teaching artistry for homeless and incarcerated communities in Los Angeles. Recognized for his “dedication to bringing beauty, respite, and purpose to those all too often ignored by society while demonstrating the capacity of music to validate our shared humanity,” Vijay Gupta is a 2018 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. An acclaimed violinist and seasoned international performing artist since the age of 8, Gupta made his solo debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta at age 11. In 2007, at 19, Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and served as a member of the First Violin section through 2018. Gupta is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2017 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award from the Longy School of Music. Gupta is a 2017 Citizen Artist Fellow with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a 2011 TED Senior Fellow. Vijay Gupta made his From the Top debut as guest host during the 2018-2019 season.

pc: Shervin Lainez

Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of American music for diverse audiences. She joined From the Top as a guest host last season. A trailblazer on and off-stage, she follows a musical roadmap that seeks inspiration from legacies of history, family, and collective memory. Downes’s playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine; “luscious, moody and dreamy” by the New York Times; and “addicting – Downes plays with an open, honest heart;” by the Huffington Post. 2019-2020 season highlights include two solo album releases: For Love Of You and Some Of These Days; collaborations with artists including Rhiannon Giddens, Judy Collins and Thomas Hampson; commissions from composers Paola Prestini, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Clarice Assad; and concerto appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, and other major orchestras and festivals.

pc: Sophie Zhai

Violinist Elena Urioste, hailed by The Washington Post as “a drop-dead beauty who plays with equal parts passion, sensuality, brains and humor,” is a first prize winner in the Sphinx and Sion International Violin competitions and was recently selected as a BBC New Generation Artist. In addition to recital and chamber music appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, and the Marlboro, Moab, and Sarasota music festivals, she has performed with such major U.S. orchestras as the Boston Pops, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and American Composers Orchestra; the New York, Los Angeles, and Buffalo philharmonics; and the Chicago, San Francisco, National, Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Pittsburgh symphonies. Ms. Urioste has appeared in the U.K. with the Hallé Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, among others, and in France and Hungary with the Orchestre National de Lille, Orchestra Dohnányi Budafok, and MAV Orchestra. She has performed extensively in recital with pianists Michael Brown and Tom Poster; with the latter she recorded her most recent album, Estrellita, released in 2018 on the BIS label. Her 2019-20 season includes engagements with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and the Rogue Valley, San Diego, and Virginia symphonies. Ms. Urioste is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and completed graduate studies at The Juilliard School.


About From the Top

From the Top is an independent non-profit organization that supports, develops, and shares the artistic voices and stories of young classically-trained musicians. Through its primary platform, a weekly one-hour NPR radio broadcast, and nationally-recognized arts leadership programs, From the Top amplifies the hope, passion, and discipline of today’s extraordinary young musicians.

From the Top provides young musicians with live performance opportunities in premier concert venues across the country; national exposure to nearly half a million listeners on its weekly NPR show; leadership and community engagement preparation; and more than $3 million in scholarships since 2005.

From the Top’s programs are made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts, a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, generous contributions from individuals and institutions, and partnerships with radio stations nationwide.

Learn more at


Lisa Bellamore

Crescent Communications



Erin MacCurtain

National Tour Marketing Manager

617-437-0707 x103

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