Over the last 10 years, From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have worked hard to ensure that financial need does not keep extraordinary young people from realizing their dreams. More than $2 million in scholarships have been awarded to more than 200 young musicians through the From the Top Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. The two non-profit organizations (who also happen to be celebrating their 15th anniversaries) are marking this remarkable milestone with a special recording of NPR’s hit radio show, From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley, in Washington, DC, at the Lisner Auditorium on October 24.
As Harold Levy, Executive Director for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, explains, “Every time a gifted child is unable to realize his or her full potential because the family lacks the means for support, a little bit of the American dream dies.”
The $10,000 Young Artist Award helps musicians and their families bridge the gap in paying for instruments, private music lessons, and summer camp tuition. In addition, recipients perform on From the Top’s national radio show and receive arts leadership training, designed to inspire young musicians to use their gifts to improve their own communities. Each Young Artist also completes an arts leadership project in their home community and reports back to From the Top to document their progress.
While the Award provides a very tangible financial benefit, many of the recipients share that the award gives them something less concrete, but equally powerful: the encouragement to pursue their goals. 18-year-old soprano Olivia Cosio received the award in 2014. She said:
The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award allowed me to reach goals that would have been otherwise unattainable. I was reminded that someone believed in my abilities and the abilities of many other young musicians.
On October 24, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will sponsor a special recording of From the Top, presented by Washington Performing Arts at GW Lisner Auditorium. This exciting concert recording will showcase and celebrate Young Artist Award recipients:
- 8-year-old pianist Oscar Paz-Suaznabar from Alexandria, Virginia
- 15-year-old violinist Kiarra Saito-Beckman from Bend, Oregon
- 16-year-old flutist Taiga Ultan originally from New York City and currently studying at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.
- Marcelina Suchoka, an alumna of From the Top and a previous recipient of the Young Artist Award, will appear with her percussion ensemble, Excelsis.
- The Washington Performing Arts’ Children of the Gospel choir, which is supported, in part, by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
The October 24 recording of From the Top is presented by Washington Performing Arts and sponsored by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. For tickets and information, visit http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org.