Alum Noah Lee’s From the Top story

My name is Noah Lee, and I am a high school senior from Oakland, New Jersey, getting ready to start college in Boston in the fall. I was fortunate enough to have been born into a musical family. My mother and sister are both musicians. In fact, my mother was my first teacher. So it is accurate to say that my life has been blessed with the sounds of music from as far back as I can remember!

I was fortunate to have first performed on From the Top in Washington D.C., on October 16, 2011.

As the youngest performer on that show, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

I got to meet producers, staff, and young wonderful musicians from all over the country. From the Top was incredibly inviting and made me feel like part of the From the Top family from the first day.

A young cellist plays with Christopher O'Riley at the piano


However, the fun didn’t stop when the performance was over. There was an arts leadership workshop followed by a presentation at a local elementary school to share our love of music.

As an 11-year-old classically trained cellist, I had always performed in formal settings for much more mature audiences. This, however, was the first time I had performed for children my own age. I had never before experienced such an energetic reaction to a performance. The children loved listening to us and I was excited to show them how much fun it is to play music.

The amazing experiences I had at From the Top led me to develop a project, the Back to Bach Project. This project brings the love of classical music and the importance of hard work and passion to children in schools, libraries, and community centers. I started with two other members in Northern New Jersey and since then, we have expanded to 17 regions across the U.S., Canada, and Taiwan, with over 100 members, presenting our program to tens of thousands of students. Slowly but surely, we are changing children’s views of classical music from unfamiliar and boring to accessible and cool!

Photo courtesy of the Back to Bach Project, 2017.

The transformative power of music is irrefutable, in my opinion, in its power to heal, bring joy, build creativity and self-discipline. We know that even young children can be affected in an incredibly positive way with the transcendental power of music.

From the Top has provided support and confidence to me through amazing performance opportunities as well as important lessons on arts leadership in my community. In their arts leadership workshop, From the Top encouraged me to think dynamically and to be a visionary to inspire the next generation of musicians. I realized that I was not too young to be an arts leader!

I will always be grateful to From the Top for giving me the mindset of a true artist and a confident leader.

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Noah Lee, with his cello, poses next to his fellow musicians in front of a From the Top logo projected on a white wall.Cellist Noah Lee (18), first appeared on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley in 2011 (Show 241). He also appeared on Show 310, recorded in 2015. We’ve got a video of him rehearsing here. Noah also performed at the From the Top Gala in 2017 (pictured at left).

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