Summer Scouting

We’ll be visiting music camps around the country this summer to find some new, amazing talent for our next season of programming.

Interlochen Arts Camp

Interlochen Arts Camp

Stops include:

Sphinx Performance Academy at Walnut Hill School Natick, MA – July 7

Boston University Tanglewood Institute Boston, MA – July 17

Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Arts Camp Interlochen, MI – July 23-24

Aspen Music Festival and School Aspen, CO – August 3

Camp administrators will be posting details about From the Top’s visit at each location. So keep your ears and eyes peeled for information.

If you (or a talented musician you know) is interested in auditioning but will not be attending one of these camps this summer, never fear, From the Top always welcomes mailed applications.

Read more about the audition process here


Patrick McGuire Returns from Tanzania and Shares His Amazing Experience

The Whole Crew

Patrick McGuire is back from Tanzania! The 19-year-old cellist and From the Top alum has completed the two-week arts program for young adults called the “Arusha Arts Initiative” that he designed with five of his peers at Juilliard. (If you want the backstory, we blogged it! Here‘s an interview we did with Patrick when he was just getting started, and here‘s an update from when he was gaining steam).

It sounds like the Arusha Arts Initiative was an incredible experience. Patrick sent us an update recently through Facebook with the details of his trip where he met an amazing group of Tanzanian students. At the end of the two-week program, the Juilliard and Umoja students worked collaboratively to create a performance that ultimately raised enough money to cover all the costs of running the Umoja Youth Empowerment Center for a month!

Read his update and see more photos after the jump. (Hang in there – the update is long, but it’s interesting and very much worth the read). Thanks Patrick for sharing your experience with us! Continue reading

Amazing Matching Gift Response

Stefan Cohen-WGBH6

Chad Hoopes - Courtesy of Stefan Cohen/WGBH

If you subscribe to our e-newsletter, you may have already heard that we recently received news of a $25,000 matching challenge grant from our leadership donors Liz and Phill Gross of Boston, MA. Since we announced this challenge two weeks ago, we have raised 85% of our matching goal. Incredible!

We’d thought we’d send a big internet thank you to everyone who has supported From the Top this fiscal year, especially to those that have stepped up to meet this challenge. It’s people like you that make our program possible.

Our fiscal year ends June 30, so there is still time to make a gift to From the Top and help us make our match. We’ll keep you posted on our progress…

Click here to donate now.

Links We Like: Pianos for the Public

Photo by Luke Jerram

Photo by Luke Jerram

Pianos: they’re not just for inside anymore. Luke Jerram, an English artist, put 30 pianos in public places around London for the summer as part of his artwork called “Play Me, I’m Yours.” The idea is to bring people together in public places, like a train station, when they wouldn’t normally talk to one another. What an awesome idea! I always feel awkward ignoring people I sit next to on the bus for half an hour – why can’t we acknowledge each other a little more? Now, Londoners have an excuse to break the ice. It seems to be working, judging by this article in The Guardian. The best part is that the pianos are donated to community groups after the installation is over.
From Clef Notes. Continue reading

Primitive Instrument Discovered

What could be one of the world’s first musical instruments was discovered in Germany recently, according to the Boston Globe. A flute, carved from bone and ivory, is estimated at approximately 35,000 years old.

(Daniel Maurer/ Associated Press)

(Daniel Maurer/ Associated Press)

The Globe reports: “The find suggests just how integral artistic expression may be to human existence: Music apparently flourished even in prehistoric days when mere survival was a full-time endeavor.”

Edward Hagen, an anthropologist at Washington State University in Vancouver who was not involved in the research says, “To see this early in the archeological record suggests it might be a fundamental aspect of human nature. . . . It does at least hint that music lies close to our foundation of common humanity.’’

Classical Music for $0-$20: New England Edition

SunflowerWhen you’re a student, it’s hard to see classical music. You have to find a concert that fits your schedule, sometimes on short notice, persuade someone to come with you, (if you don’t have a lot of friends who love classical music), and, hardest of all, keep the whole night inside your budget.

Good news: I’ve been scouring the internet looking for deals in the Northeast – and there are a lot of them. In New England, with summer music festival season upon us, concerts are more informal, and generally, cheaper. There are plenty of ways to see some classical music for $20 or less. Here are some ideas to get you started.
-Lily Kaiser

Continue reading

CEO Addresses National Gathering of Music Teachers

Music in Education Week Rally in Washington

Music Education Week Rally in Washington

On Monday, From the Top co-founder and co-CEO Gerald Slavet addressed music teachers from across the country who had all convened in Washington for MENC’s Music Education Week. Jerry spoke about the importance of music education and thanked the educators for their role in the artistic and creative development of our nation’s children.  “Without invested music teachers like all of you, none of this is possible [From the Top]. And we take very seriously our responsibility to support your work, and create resources that can help you stimulate an interest in the arts in your students.”

from left to right: MENC Executive Director John Mahlmann, MENC President Barbara Geer, and From the Top Co-CEO Gerald Slavet

from left to right: MENC Executive Director John Mahlmann, MENC President Barbara Geer, and From the Top Co-CEO Gerald Slavet

In addition to describing From the Top’s peer leadership and in-school programs, Jerry announced that From the Top is working on creating a Teacher’s Kit with media from our television and radio show along with classroom activities to help more teachers ignite interest  in classical music in their students. The kit will be available on our web site beginning this fall.

Read more about MENC’s Music in Education Rally.

“Musical Connections” at Carnegie Hall Calls for Artists

Ann Gregg, from Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (and From the Top’s former education director!) brings us news of a great opportunity for musicians in the New York area who are college-aged and older, and want to give back to their communities.

Carnegie Hall Musical Connections

Carnegie Hall Musical Connections

According to Carnegie Hall, the new community program, called “Musical Connections,” will  work with artists to provide performances and workshops for people in senior centers, shelters, prisons, and hospitals, during the 2009-10 season. Musicians involved in the program will also have access to professional development opportunities through the Weill Music Institute.

Interested artists should fill out a mail-in application from Carnegie Hall’s website by June 30, 2009. Selected applicants will be invited to do a live interview in New York City during the first week of August.

A Little Tweetybird Told Me

Great five-minute procrastination break: Steve Hicken’s “twitterpieces,” musical compositions so short Hicken can “tweet” them, complete with all performance instructions. The inspiration for “twitterpieces” came from a fellow blogger. And good news – Hicken takes commissions!

Here are a few of my favorites:
For String Quartet

For Flute and CelloFor Trombone and Piano

No word yet on whether any of Hicken’s “twitterpieces” have been performed. You could be the first! Send a link to your YouTube video page to and we’ll highlight them here!

-Lily Kaiser

IFCP’s June Concert Series is under way

IFCP 2009

If you’ll be in New York any time from now until June 24, check out the Institute and Festival For Contemporary Performance’s sixth annual June Concert Series at Mannes College: The New  School for Music. Through the weeklong smorgasbord of concerts, workshops, master classes lectures, and symposiums, IFCP participants will push the boundaries of contemporary classical music while acknowledging its connections to the past and to other genres.

Who’s on the program? Renowned musicians Joel Krosnick (cello), Rolf Schulte (violin), Marc Ponthus (IFCP founder and pianist), and chamber ensemble Speculum Musicae are performing, as well as IFCP students, whose performances are free.

There are workshops for flute, clarinet, strings, piano and percussion with some big names, like Joel Lester, dean of Mannes, and pianist Aleck Karis.

The series also features prominent contemporary classical composers, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Richard Wernick, Gunther Schuller, Donald Martino, Roger Sessions, Gyorgy Kurtag, Earl Kim, George Crumb, Anton Webern, David Sanford, Peter Lieberson, Maio Davidovsky, and David Rakowski.
Didn’t make plans to attend the series ahead of time? Don’t worry. Tickets are available at the door starting one hour before each performance.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers

%d bloggers like this: