From the Top to Convene in LA for 3-day Residency Feb 23-25


Pianist Peter Dugan Guest Hosts Studio Recordings 

Producer, Singer and DJ Alex Seaver (MAKO) leads music-making sessions 

Leadership and Community Engagement workshops offer firsthand experience in creative career development

FEBRUARY 23-25, 2019

From the Top (FTT), the nationwide program distributed by NPR that showcases young classically-trained musicians, will host a three-day residency in Los Angeles culminating in two studio recordings of the popular radio show.

Thirteen young musicians, ages 14 – 18 from greater Los Angeles and beyond, will participate in an all-encompassing experience comprised of creative music making, career development, and community engagement designed to enrich both personal and artistic growth.

“From the Top’s L.A. residency will give our participating young musicians an incredible opportunity to engage with the city’s unrivaled arts and culture scene,” said Gretchen Nielsen, From the Top’s Executive Director. “An extension of From the Top’s national effort to support the holistic development of today’s young musicians, this three-day experience brings together artists from varied backgrounds for an enriching learning experience.”

The residency kicks off with the studio recordings, held at Hollywood Scoring Studio and hosted by pianist Peter Dugan, who will collaborate with FTT musicians in their musical performances, and conduct interviews that will showcase their personal stories. The episodes are slated to air the weeks of April 8 and April 22, 2019 on participating stations and by podcast.

FTT musicians will also collaborate in-studio with Alex Seaver, the Juilliard-trained co-founder of the hugely successful EDM project, MAKO. Alex will lead creative music-making sessions that will include lessons on the art of electronic studio production, and the creation of a new track that will combine elements of classical music and EDM techniques. The musicians will also participate in a two-hour masterclass-style workshop covering studio recording and engineering. Studio owners and engineers will offer an introductory session about how to make a recording and choose a studio, how to work with an engineer, and how to make a self-produced recording, including insights into the recording world, from classical to hip-hop.

The Leadership and Community Engagement workshops will be centered around developing tools for self-inquiry and community consciousness that can help students make authentic, confident choices about their careers. Young musicians will experiment with somatic and strengths-based leadership techniques to build personal mission, vision, and value statements. They will also explore creative career paths and experiment with social media strategies in a workshop with flutist and social media guru, Gina Luciani.

The residency will culminate in a session with Street Symphony founder, Vijay Gupta, on the philosophy of Street Symphony and the organization’s approach to social activism through music. FTT’s young musicians will then have the opportunity to participate in a musical exchange and co-creation activity with Street Symphony and one of its partner organizations.

Young musicians selected for the program include:


  • James Poe (violin), 19, from Palo Alto, California, freshman at Yale University and first prize winner of the 2016 Mondavi Center National Young Artists Competition, he produces and performs cover videos on his YouTube channel “Jupiter Poe”


  • Eric J Wang (guitar), 14, from San Jose, California, first prize winner of the 2018 Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition, Junior Division


  • Davis You (cello), 17, from Palo Alto, California, where he is a junior at Palo Alto High School and studies cello with Jonathan Koh.


  • Zachary Potts (horn), 17, from Forsyth, Georgia, recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.


  • Maya Paredes (piano), 18, from Burbank, California, currently studying at CalArts.


  • Josephine Chan (piano), 15, from San Francisco, California, third prize winner in the Virginia Waring International Piano Competition (junior division).


  • Edward Chen (piano), 17, from Plano, Texas, recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.


  • Enrique Rodrigues (violin), 17, from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, regional director of New Jersey’s Back to Bach, a global initiative to bring music and arts education to young children.


  • Shengyu Meng (cello), 16, from Arcadia, California, studies with Clive Greensmith at the Colburn Music Academy.


  • The Bear Quartet of The Gifted Music School in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Bear Quartet’s performance on From the Top is sponsored by ACMP (Associated Chamber Music Players). Musicians include:
    • Rachel Call, 16, violin
    • Ellen Hayashi, 15, violin
    • Abby Smith, 17, viola
    • Benson Marshall, 17, cello


From the Top’s L.A/ residency is supported by the Volgenau Foundation.


About From the Top

Based in Boston, From the Top is an independent non-profit organization that supports, develops, and shares the artistic voices and stories of young classically-trained musicians. Its national platform and leadership programs amplify 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 over a half million listeners on its weekly NPR show; leadership and community engagement preparation; and nearly $3 million in scholarships since 2005.


Broadcast on more than 220 stations nationwide to an audience of nearly half a million listeners, From the Top is the most popular weekly one-hour music program on public radio. Young performers share their passion for classical music, and speak about their non-musical lives, from career goals and family to hidden talents, school, and community life. From the Top appeals to diverse audiences, but is especially suited for ages 7 and up.


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


About Peter Dugan

Peter Dugan appeared on From the Top 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.


About Alex Seaver

Los Angeles-based composer, songwriter, and record producer Alex Seaver has made an immediate mark with a unique and versatile approach spanning genres and influences of music. The Juilliard-trained artist has earned 150-million combined streams to date as frontman for Pop/Electronic project Mako, while contributing music across film, television, video games, radio, and streaming services. As a performer, the 29-year old has toured internationally with artist David Guetta, performed at the Coachella and Lollapalooza music festivals, in addition to headline tours across North America and orchestral appearances at Carnegie Hall. Alex’s work as a pop songwriter has earned him credits with Avicii, Steve Angello, Madison Beer, R3hab, Alan Walker, and Against The Current. His venture into composing for video games can be heard in frequent collaboration with the Riot Games’ hit League Of Legends, most recently evolving into performances at their Worlds events. This included a headlining appearance at the games in South Korea – where the performance gathered a total audience of 100 million people, worldwide. As a commercial composer, Alex has written for international campaigns with Coca-Cola, Dodge, and Fruit Of The Loom, and is published by Sony/ATV.



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