On the Air this Week: Show 198 Listening Guide

Bin Park, Elisabeth Shafer, Ben Fuller, Christopher O'Riley, Shundeena Beard, and Schlagwerk 4 (

Bihn Park, Elisabeth Shafer, Ben Fuller, Christopher O’Riley, Shundeena Beard, and Schlagwerk 4 (Michael Garret, Ryan Logan, Christian Schmidt & Ben Paulson)

This week’s From the Top episode, taped at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska, features a variety of instruments and repertoire- from a trombone solo to a marimba quartet. Read what the performers have to say about the music.

Sangbin “Bihn” Park, 12, cello
I. Adagio and III Allegro di molto from Divertimento by Franz Joseph Haydn

“Frankly speaking, I did not have much time to practice this piece but I learned so much in just the month of April. In that short time alone, I broke my ankle two days before my Philadelphia Orchestra debut and in a competition the lights went completely out, leaving me nearly blind. I couldn’t see my own fingers, let alone my bow. However, I held my head high and played straight toward the end.”

Shundeena Beard, 17, viola
III. Rasch from Marchenbilder (Fairytales) OP. 113 by Robert Schumann

“This piece I will play is very dramatic, and makes me take on an operatic role. The suspense and essence of surprise is very exciting for me…. It is one of the few ‘show-off’ pieces for viola.”

Benjamin Fuller, 18, piano
III. Fast and VI. Moderately Fast from Six Preludes, Op. 38 by Paul Creston

“Paul Creston has to be my favorite composer. His music is evocative, creative, but also structured and tonal. His music is also very rhythmically driven…. This is especially true of the Op. 38 etudes; in fact, they were meant as rhythmic etudes, not even necessarily as performance pieces! This music always reminds me of reaching a stage in my life where I started becoming independent.”

Elisabeth Shafer, 18, trombone
Sonata “Vox Gabrieli” by Stjepan Sulek

“My favorite part is at the end when the climax goes up to a high B flat and it feels like you’ve come to the end of your desperation. Funny story: my teacher gave me the advice of practicing with a recording to prepare for playing with a live piano. So, I listened to the piece and practiced it. I knew what it sounded like, but something about playing with the accompaniment for the first time, having it turned up as loud as it would go in my basement was so overwhelming that at the climax at the end, I was playing and just started to cry…. Since there aren’t a lot of pieces written for the trombone and not transcribed, it was really cool to get to do this piece, which was written for the trombone… It’s just cool that Sulek wrote it for trombone, but it still contains a lot of influences from earlier music.”

Schlagwerk 4, Percussion Ensemble, Sarah Barnes – Ensemble Coach
Omphalo Centric Lecture by Nigel Westlake

  • Michael Garrett, 17, percussion “This piece is unique because there are some weird instruments. There is a shaker, splash cymbal, and log drum…. This piece is fun because it is really fast.”
  • Ryan Logan, 18, percussion “”Prior to this past year, I had never been in a smaller percussion ensemble before, and as a result had never played a marimba quartet. The sound of the instruments interacting with one another throughout the piece is very interesting: a constant flow that sort of cascades as the piece progresses. I don’t think the work conveys a message so much as it creates a feeling of meditative reflection.”
  • Ben Paulson, 17, percussion “It is a sweet jam. It was written by my former teacher and it was written to be performed with dancers. It is just a lot of fun to play.”
  • Christian Schmidt, 17, percussion “After doing some research, my private teacher told me that ‘omphalo-centric’ means ‘centered around the belly button.’ As in doing meditative breathing. For a while, we took this idea and added it to the piece in the form of rhythmic breathing.”