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From the Top

From the Top

By From the Top

NPR's From the Top showcases the music, stories, and unique humor of America's best young classical musicians.


Bach, Bassoon & John Williams

A teen guitarist from Colorado plays a beautiful work by Bach, a cellist plays an emotional Elegy by John Williams, and a pianist performs a piece that draws from the worlds of classical and jazz. We'll also hear from a teenage bassoonist who shares what it's like living with neurodivergence and meet a young clarinetist who left his home in Peru to pursue music in the U.S.
25/09/23·59m 18s

Euphonium Fanatic, Rachmaninoff, & More

We hear Clara Schumann performed on clarinet, a ferocious performance of Rachmaninoff, and a moving new cello work inspired by the pandemic. We also meet an 18-year-old who loves the euphonium so much that he's determined to make it a household name and a young woman who is making an impression on the double bass world.
04/09/23·59m 18s

Four Hands Piano & Atlanta Music Project

Clarinetist Alex Laing joins Peter Dugan at the Atlanta Music Project for a program featuring musicians from Georgia! We hear the fantastic Atlanta Music Project Senior Youth Choir performing a Spiritual. A flutist shares her love for Eastern European Folk music, a percussionist performs Sibelius on marimba, and Peter collaborates on a gorgeous four handed Ravel with an alum.
19/06/23·1h 3m

Magic of the Masters

We're treated to the magical music of Classical masters Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Liszt, and Kreisler. Plus, an 18-year-old soprano finds inspiration in the history of the first African American Opera House in the United States in her hometown of Pittsburgh. And two teens tell us what it's been like to leave their home countries to study music in New York and Los Angeles.
29/05/23·59m 19s

Classical Guitar, Sax Quartet, & More

We meet an award-winning saxophone quartet from Texas. A teen flutist who is also a talented figure skater performs Faure. An impressive 16-year-old performs a piece by a guitarist/composer who inspires him, and a violinist from Hong Kong studying in Los Angeles tells us about how a letter from a stranger impacted his life.
08/05/23·59m 19s

Remarkable Teen Musicians & Iconic Arts Leader Deborah Borda

New York Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda joins Peter Dugan as co-host and shares insights into her iconic career at the helm of the country's leading orchestras. She speaks with an inspiring 16-year-old violist who is an emerging leader in her own right. We also meet an articulate young composer who wants her music to bring people joy and healing, a teen clarinetist who has traveled the world with his musical parents, and a pianist with a passion for acting. They give incredible performances of Prokofiev, Enescu, Kovács, and more.
24/04/23·1h 2m

Chopin, Barber & Bach on Mandolin

We meet young musicians from all over the country, from South Carolina to California. A 17-year-old cellist fulfills a childhood dream to be on From the Top and kicks off the program with a gorgeous Beethoven piece. We also hear a beautiful Chopin Nocturne, a Barber Sonata played by a teen flutist, and a young mandolin player shows off her gorgeous new instrument with a performance of Bach.
10/04/23·59m 18s

Celebrating Musicians with Disabilities

18-year-old violinist and From the Top alum Julia LaGrand co-hosts this special episode dedicated to celebrating the stories and performances of disabled and neurodivergent musicians. Julia, who is blind, also interviews special guest Itzhak Perlman. We meet a 15-year-old double bassist who began studying music when spina bifida made it difficult to keep up with youth sports leagues, a 14-year-old pianist who uses Braille scores to learn his repertoire, a 26-year-old cellist who believes his musical skills are sharpened by his autism, and a 16-year-old pianist with Escobar Syndrome who shares her journey to millions on social media. They perform works by Grieg, Liszt, and more.
27/03/23·1h 1m

Terrific Trumpeter, Award-Winning Trio, & More

This week features young musicians studying at the Colburn School in LA. They range from a 14-year-old cellist with a mature performance of Beethoven to the winners of a major chamber music competition whose secret to success just might be their musical handshake. We also hear from an incredible trumpeter, a globe-trotting teen violinist, and a 15-year-old pianist performing Mendelssohn.
06/03/23·59m 19s

Brahms, Wieniawski, and a Young Pianist

We hear the first work Brahms wrote for a solo instrument and a stunning Wieniawski Polonaise played by a 13-year-old violinist. We also meet a teenage baritone who has been drawn to community activism since childhood, a guitarist who plays an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's Night in Tunisia, and a young pianist who shares a special tip she got from piano superstar Lang Lang... play like a grandma!
13/02/23·59m 19s

Black History Month Special Encore

In recognition of Black History Month, this highlight program celebrates outstanding performances by Black musicians on From the Top through the years. Hosted by Peter Dugan and David Norville, an alumnus, oboist, and former Assistant Producer at From the Top.
06/02/23·59m 19s

Beethoven, Rocket Science, & Coltrane

A pianist speaks of his passion for rocket science and his work with NASA, a talented teen violinist plays Beethoven and shares how an accident transformed his musicianship, a young composer shares a piece inspired by the loss of a loved one, and a versatile saxophonist plays Coltrane.

Schumann, Haydn, and a Joyful Gospel Choir

Violinist Charles Yang returns as co-host. We meet a bubbly teen violinist, a pianist with a mission to connect with audiences, and a cellist who opens up about mental health. The Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir sing us out with a performance that will have you on your feet and smiling!
09/01/23·1h 9m

Kreisler, Film Scores & More

We meet a teenage pianist with an affinity for horror movie scores, a percussionist who adapts Debussy for marimba, a talented violinist who likes to read books upside down, and an outstanding trio from Utah play Café Music. They all answer the question — why classical music?
12/12/22·59m 19s

Ravel Quartet & Sibling Dynamics

Guest Host Orli Shaham finds common ground with a pair of siblings who remind her of growing up with her brother Gil. A lively quartet from Chicago play Ravel. A teen soprano speaks about representation in classical music and connecting with a composer who shares her heritage. A talented young pianist talks about having pianist parents.
28/11/22·59m 16s

Incredible String Players Shine at the Klein

We'll hear the adrenaline filled performances taking place at the 37th Annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition, meet the players, hear from the jury, and of course, learn who wins. Violinist Tessa Lark and pianist Peter Dugan co-host this portrait of one of our country's top competitions for young players.
07/11/22·59m 18s

11-Year-Old Pianist, Self-Directed Flutist & More

Pianist Orli Shaham guest hosts. We meet a sensational 11-year-old pianist, a self-directed flutist who describes the mouthwatering food he finds in his hometown, a violinist who shares a moving piece inspired by the Holocaust, a young harpist who explores her creativity on her own Youtube Channel, and a thoughtful teenage violinist with a multicultural background.
31/10/22·59m 18s

Sibling Soloists, Fischoff Champions, & More

Brothers from Chicago talk Formula One racing and share performances of Ysaÿe and Kovács, an award-winning chamber group from San Francisco plays a fiery Spanish trio, and a teen violinist talks about his interest in neuroscience and performs Mozart.
17/10/22·59m 18s

Celebration of Sphinx

This special episode is dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the Sphinx Organization. Featuring musical excerpts from a live performance by critically-acclaimed chamber orchestra, the Sphinx Virtuosi, and stories told by the musicians, leaders, and educators whose lives have been changed by Sphinx. It also explores the pivotal role Sphinx has played in expanding diversity in the arts.
03/10/22·59m 37s

Liszt, Strauss & A Fake Horror Movie About Music Camp

In honor of long-time From the Top announcer Joanne Robinson, this program features some of Robinson's superb comedic contributions to From the Top skits and humor segments. It also features performances by young performers personally chosen by Joanne Robinson for their power and joy.
13/09/22·59m 38s

Trombone Siblings, Teenage Composer, & More

A moving and sensitive performance of the music of Dvorak performed by a teenage cellist from Chicago, a young violinist from Washington, D.C. who loves to contemplate dark matter when he's not practicing the music of Bach, a teenage trombone quartet made up of two sets of siblings and more.
05/09/22·59m 35s

Schumann, Rachmaninoff & A Reimagined Clarinet Concerto

The young artists on this week's show bring a range of musical choices to the program, including a Nocturne, a romance, and a piece that chronicles the African diaspora. We also meet a piano duo who act a bit like the odd couple, but they perform with beautiful unity. Clarinetist Alex Laing co-hosts and performs Weber with Host Peter Dugan.

Juneteenth Special

Special guest Kevin Olusola co-hosts this commemoration of Juneteenth featuring outstanding young Black musicians performing works by Florence Price, Coleridge-Taylor, Sam Cooke and more.

Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, & an Award-Winning Sax Quartet

A tenor from coastal Maine who helps out with his Dad's lobster fishing business, a talented teenage violinist who got his start following YouTube tutorials, an award-winning teenage sax quartet, and a pianist who is passionate about music history all share their music on this week's episode.
30/05/22·59m 34s

Fiery Double Bass, Exciting Chamber Music, & More

Genre-bending violinist Charles Yang returns as co-host, collaborating with some incredible teen musicians from Texas. And don't miss the outstanding double-bassist who gives a fiery performance.
09/05/22·59m 35s

A Paganini Caprice on the Guitar

This FTT Mini features guitarist Jiyeon Kim who appeared on From the Top back in 2011. Check out how she blew us away with her virtuosic performance of Paganini's Caprice No. 24 on the guitar.
02/05/22·6m 44s

Debussy and Childhood Revenge

This FTT Mini celebrates pianist Jennifer Tu's appearance on our program back in 2010. She performs Claude Debussy's L'Isle Joyeuse and tells a funny story of how a desire for revenge first motivated her to begin in music.
25/04/22·8m 9s

Carmen Fantasy, Chopin Polonaise, & More

A 14-year-old violinist plays the wonderful Carmen Fantasy, a teen cellist plays an exciting Chopin Polonaise, a pianist recalls a childhood fear of Mickey Mouse, a violist shows off her talent for songwriting, and an inspiring teenage composer shares a new work.
18/04/22·59m 36s

Sensational Percussion Ensemble

FTT Alum, Marcelina Suchocka went on to become a founding member of Excelsis Percussion Ensemble, a group of amazing women percussionists. They tel their story and then perform "Threads" by Paul Lansky.
11/04/22·9m 45s

A teenage organist, Bach and a spooky cathedral

Back in 2004, the brilliant young organist, Keenan Boswell performed a movement of the Trio Sonata No. 1 in E Flat by J.S. Bach. In this FTT Mini, we revisit that and hear his funny story about being spooked in a cathedral at night.
04/04/22·6m 27s

Rodgers & Hammerstein, Bach, & More

A teenage mezzo soprano sings from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma" and shares stories about her Hawaiian background. We also meet a fantastic 13-year-old pianist who performs Chopin, a violist who aims to become tri-lingual social venture capitalist, and two young violinists tackle Bach and Wieniawski.
28/03/22·59m 30s

Wind Ensemble and Baseball

In this short form FTT Mini, we revisit Mostly Winds, an ensemble at the Interlochen Arts Academy. They play the music of Antonin Dvorak and we learn just how little arts students on the campus know about baseball.
22/03/22·6m 41s

Harp Performance and Pet Peeve

This week's FTT Mini features 17-year-old harpist, Kerry Watson's performance of "Contemplation" by Henriette Renié. Also, Kerry shares a humorous pet peeve regarding people's reaction to her instrument.
14/03/22·5m 47s

Sibling String Duo, Harpsichord, and More

We are treated to a rare performance by a brilliant teenage harpsichordist. We also meet a flutist who's helping connect kids with free music lessons, a trumpet player who's a leader in her student government, and a sibling duo who bring musical joy to their local children's hospital.
07/03/22·59m 31s

Story of a Young Ukrainian Pianist

This FTT Mini episode features Dasha Bukhartseva, a young pianist from Ukraine who came on our program in 2007. We hear from two American tourists who arranged for her to study here and Dasha performs two Ukrainian pieces.
28/02/22·10m 24s

Black History Month Special

In recognition of Black History Month, this highlight program celebrates outstanding performances by Black musicians on From the Top through the years. Co-hosted by pianist Peter Dugan and producer/oboist David Norville, an alumnus of From the Top.
21/02/22·59m 38s

Adventurous Music and a Clarinet Bromance

Teenagers studying at the famous Colburn School in Los Angeles perform adventuresome music including an emotional violin piece by Filipino composer, Abelardo, and a virtuosic clarinet duo performed by two BFFs.
14/02/22·59m 31s

Powerhouse Teen Quartet Performs Debussy

Back in 2007, the Newman String Quartet brought the house down with their performance Debussy's String Quartet in G minor. This FTT Mini revisits that amazing moment and we learn what makes this group tick.
07/02/22·8m 21s

An Incredible Family Trio performs Kodály

In 2003, the Ottava Trio, made up members of the Link Family graced the stage of From the Top and performed with such unity and precision we've never forgotten it. Check out their performance of the third movement of Serenade by Zoltán Kodály on this FTT Mini
31/01/22·9m 1s

All Alumni Show - with music by Mozart, William Grant Still and more

On From the Top's annual "Where Are They Now Show" host Peter Dugan meets up with alumni of the program to discover the exciting creative projects they're doing now that they're in their 20s. We hear the music of Mozart, Bernard Hermann, John Adams and more.
24/01/22·59m 33s

A Heartfelt Narration and Devilish Prokofiev

In this week's FTT Mini, 14-year-old pianist Evan Ritter narrates a moving story about his life and the role of piano in it, and then delivers ferocious performance of Sergei Prokofiev's Suggestion Diabolique.
17/01/22·8m 11s

A Thrilling Teenage Percussion Ensemble

9 teenagers from Chicago's legendary Percussion Scholarship Group brought the house down when they performed the high energy piece, "Marimba Spiritual" on From the Top back in 2009. Check out this treasure from our archive.
10/01/22·10m 6s

Bach, Brahms and the Red Violin Caprices

A teenage violist with a talent for astronomy performs the music of Brahms ... a fiery violinist performs music from "The Red Violin" and shares his perspectives growing up with Aspeger's syndrome and a teenage pianist who's already touring the world as a pro performs Chopin.
03/01/22·59m 34s

Beautiful Seattle Rain Shared Through Music

Composer Joshua Deutsch wrote his evocative composition, Shades of Rain for woodwinds and cello as a teenager and we featured it way back in 2000. Featuring several short movements, it explores the differing moods of rain in Seattle, Washington.
27/12/21·7m 50s

Wild Paganini on Piano

Teenage pianists David Allakhverdov,and Weiyin Chen,17, tear up the keyboard in a performance of Variations on a Theme by Paganini by Witold Lutoslawski
20/12/21·7m 16s

Anthony McGill, Clarinet Quintet and More!

Clarinetist Anthony McGill makes a guest appearance performing Brahms with a 14-year-old cellist, bonding with a teenage clarinet quintet over their shared instrument, and recalling stories from his childhood.
13/12/21·59m 35s

Erhu Experienced?

17-year-old Erhu player narrates a colorful multilayered audio introduction to this traditional Chinese instrument and then performs a medley to two contrasting Erhu pieces.
06/12/21·9m 24s

Brahms, Debussy, and Marimba

A 16-year-old violist plays one of Brahms' most beautiful sonatas, a young percussionist shares an experience that inspired him to connect with his Mexican-American heritage, and a teen violinist recalls his "bucket list" performance at the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama.
29/11/21·59m 37s

Teen Saxophonist and the Cincinnati Pops

Corey Dundee, who is now a member of the award winning Kenari Quartet, appeared on From the Top as a teenager. Here his teen performance of Russell Peck's "The Upward Stream" with the Cincinnati Pops under the direction of Erich Kunzel
22/11/21·10m 17s

Beethoven to Bluegrass

This week we hear a mambo for harp, one of Debussy's earliest works, a Spiritual arranged by composer Margaret Bonds, and a fiddle finale with a 12-year-old national champion. Violinist Tessa Lark joins as co-host.
15/11/21·59m 36s
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