Alums Performing with California Symphony This Sunday!

12-year-old guitarist Roberto Granados and 16-year-old pianist Rieko Tsuchida are both performing at the California Symphony season finale this Sunday, May 1 at 4pm. Roberto will play “Concierto de Aranjuez” and Rieko will perform the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. The program also features Shostakovich Symphony No.5 in D minor.

Robert has appeared on two From the Top episodes: Show 186 in Lubbock, TX, and on the upcoming Show 230 in Monterey, CA, which is airing next week (May 2). Check broadcast times here.

Roberto and ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro on Show 230

Rieko has also appeared on two From the Top episodes: Show 161 in San Francisco, CA and Show 211 in Santa Barbara, CA.

Rieko on Show 161

There is more information about the concert here.

Good luck Roberto and Rieko!

Arts Leadership in Carmel, IN

This week From the Top traveled to Carmel, IN to tape a radio show at The Palladium – the gorgeous concert hall of The Center for the Performing Arts. The show featured seven extraordinary young artists, as well as a guest appearance by singer and pianist Michael Feinstein! The morning after, our performers joined us for the Arts Leadership Orientation to discover the infinite ways music can make a difference and create positive change.

Our young artists concluded that “Arts Leadership Is…”

  1. our responsibility
  2. taking time to help others realize their dreams and potential
  3. showing others the power of music

Our performers named themselves the “From the Top Fizzing Whizzbies!” – a name celebrating their camaraderie and teamwork, and acknowledging that they had the exact number of participants required for a Quidditch team (the sport of choice from the famous Harry Potter series).

They created this fun video to introduce themselves, their “Quidditch” roles, as well as their definition of arts leadership. Check it out below!

Be sure to tune in the week of June 13th to hear their show! Broadcast times can be found here.

Alum Partners with Red Cross to Release Benefit Album for Japan

To help sustain awareness of the recent devastation in Japan and raise money for relief efforts, From the Top alum and violist Lauren Chipman and her band The Rentals have teamed up with the Red Cross Los Angeles Region and Ernest Jenning Record Co. to release ‘Resilience,’ an album featuring 18 orchestral compositions that will be available on May 3. All profits from the sale of this album will go directly to the disaster relief efforts in Japan.

Lauren told us, “I wrote, performed and produced all of the music on the record along with Matt Sharp and am very proud of every second of music that we made.”

Lauren on From The Top at in Granville, Ohio, November 2009. (Photo by Timothy E. Black)

“Resilience’ will be available for purchase through iTunes or as a CD or a 180 gram vinyl record. You can pre-order it now on the band’s official website.

Lauren shared some additional information with us about this special album:

The album was originally recorded as part of Songs About Time, a photography, film, and music project that brought together a large group of accomplished artists who devoted themselves for 365 continuous days to create what the Germans call Gesamtkunstwerk—a total work of art. Originally titled Tokyo Blues, the album is a collection of eighteen original scores that were composed for the films of Songs About Time.

The original title of the album was inspired by Japanese author Haruki Murakami’s fifth novel, ‘Norwegian Wood’, which was re-titled ‘Tokio Blues’ for the Spanish translation. And now, appropriately enough, what was once Tokyo Blues has become Resilience.

The change of title is appropriate in more ways than one: The music collected has a touch of melancholy but ultimately, when one listens attentively, it expresses hope and a quiet countenance. With its orchestral gestures, delicate piano and poetic interludes, the music paints a fitting tribute to the character and resilience of the Japanese people.

Guests contributors on the album include Portuguese actress Dalila Carmo, Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes, Rodrigo Amarante of Little Joy/Los Hermanos, French musician Emilie Simon, Gorka Urbizu of Berri Txarrak, and renowned violinist Danielle Belen.

Michael Ferri Gives Students in Cleveland a Taste for Classical Music

15-year-old violinist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Michael Ferri appeared on Show #220 in Davenport, IA this past October. Not long after, Michael visited two schools in his hometown of Cleveland, and performed for a wide range of students. He first visited the Marion-Sterling Elementary School, then traveled to the E-Prep School with Cleveland Orchestra violinist Isabel Trautwein.

“It confirmed the idea that it is never too early to expose children to classical music, and that the musical experience at large is an extremely important component of anyone’s education. I also learned that someone my age can often have a greater impact on young kids than an ‘adult.’”

Read more about Michael’s school visit on our Arts Leadership Map!

Alum Umi Garrett’s Benefit Concert for Japan – Photos!

Weeks ago we posted about how From the Top alum and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Umi Garrett was planning a benefit concert for Japan. The event was a great success and raised $3,400, all of which was donated to the Red Cross! Below are pictures from the concert and the repertoire list.

Yoshie Akimoto, Steinway Artist and Steinway & Sons present:
Help Japan Classical Piano Charity Concert
Steinway Piano Gallery, 501 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut
Friday April 8th, 2011 7:30pm

Umi Garrett
Japanese National Anthem

Christine Xu
E.Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 – III.Allegro moderato molto e marcato

Umi Garrett
W. Mozart Piano Concerto No.23 In A Major, K 488 – II. Adagio and III.Presto

Alex Beyer
S. Rachmaninoff Etude-tableaux Op.33 No.3 in C minor

Christine Xu
F. Chopin Nocturne in c minor Op. 48 No. 1

Umi Garrett
F. Chopin Waltz in A flat major Op.42 No.5

Alex Beyer
S. Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op.30 II. Adagio and III. Alla breve

Yoshie Akimoto
F. Chopin Etude Op.25 No.1 A flat Major (A Little Shepherd)

Center for the Development of Arts Leaders: Team RadioWAVES

For the past few months, From the Top has been hard at work launching our Center for the Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL)! This blog is the third in a series written by Linda Gerstle, Director of Education and Community Partnerships, chronicling the pilot year of this program. You can read the first post here and the second post here.

The Roland Hayes School of Music is a Boston public school offering individual and ensemble music to students grades 7-12. It bears the name of the first African American male concert artist to receive wide international acclaim.. Born in Georgia to former slaves, Roland Hayes (1887-1977) was a lyric tenor and an important presence in Boston, having secured professional management with the Boston Symphony Orchestra Concert Company.

The school shares a campus in Roxbury, MA with the John D. O’Bryant School for Mathematics and Science and the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. Roland Hayes is an under-utilized resource for Boston schools, which provides a unique entry point for a team of young arts leaders. RadioWAVES, the CDAL team partnered with the school, has committed itself to furthering the school’s mission of community outreach to support aspiring musicians and integrate music as a part of all students’ curriculum.

Left to Right: Greg Gazzola (from Roland Hayes), Yun-Jae Lee, Carson Lloyd, Eric Ortiz (Mentor), Shiya Wang, Clifton Williams, Brian Eisert (from Roland Hayes)

Under the leadership of CDAL mentor Eric Ortiz, RadioWAVES, has designed a multi-pronged approach to increasing the visibility of the school and its services. This includes promoting the school’s annual concerts across the city, recruiting guest artists from the community to enhance the opportunities available to students, and showcasing the muscial skills and talents of the RadioWAVES team as a model and inspiration to what the students might aspire.

One weekend in April, RadioWAVES shared a special afternoon with the Roland Hayes Pep Band who was playing at the Boston Public School’s All-Star Basketball game at Northeastern University. RadioWAVES identified this as an important relationship building and information gathering event – an opportunity to interact with the school community in a less formal and structured setting. They helped with event logistics, including the transportation and set up of the equipment and they joined the team for the bus ride to Northeastern. In the words of one of the team members, “We learned a lot about what the students liked about the music programs at the school, and what they would like to see more of.” A surprise outcome was the opportunity to meet Boston Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson, who expressed an interest in the CDAL project and invited one of the team members to contact her secretary directly to discuss future opportunities.

RadioWAVES team member Shiya Wang working with students

RadioWAVES mentor Eric is a lifelong resident of Boston, a graduate of the Roland Hayes School, and a formidable trumpet player! Using his personal connection to the project site, Eric has inspired RadioWAVES with his infectious passion for the school and its students. He demonstrates the importance of an ongoing commitment to giving back through his continued work for Roland Hayes outside of the CDAL program.

Eric’s influence is palpable, as expressed by one of his team members in his first trip to the school without Eric – “The sky was grayer, the air chillier, the streets emptier. But just like what Eric said, we should grow to be independent, capable arts leaders.”

On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show #232 College Park, MD

We had a wonderful taping this past weekend in College Park, Maryland with a talented and diverse group of teenage musicians.

First up was 16-year-old pianist Kimberly Hou, who did something never before accomplished during a From the Top rehearsal – she played so passionately she broke a piano string! We were very lucky because there just happened to be another Steinway taking up space in an adjoining concert hall plus a technician who was available to tune it. Crisis averted!

Next up was Brian Hong, 17, who performed a baroque piece accompanied by Christopher O’Riley on harpsichord. Brian knows an enormous amount about the differences between the baroque and modern violin so I flipcammed him doing a demonstration. It’s really interesting stuff!

Following Brian was John Williams – no, not the film composer or the renowned guitarist, but John Marcel Williams, a fantastic 16-year-old classical guitarist who performed a piece by Sérgio Assad. He also showed off his fake long fingernails, which he fashions out of ping pong balls!

Next up was 18-year-old bassoonist Sandra Bailey, who completely charmed the audience with her beautiful playing and her story of determination and the love of family in the face of challenges.

Closing the show was a trio from the Juilliard Pre-College Division comprised of composer/pianist Conrad Tao, 16; cellist Xinchi Wang, 17; and violinist Dawn Wang, 17. First they played a stunning piece called “Eventide” written by Conrad, and then went on to close the show with Astor Piazzolla’s “Muerte del Angel.”

Make sure to tune in when this show airs the week of May 30th!

Calling All Composers Ages 14–18: Opportunity at Carnegie Hall!

We just got wind of a new opportunity from Carnegie Hall for young composers!

The Carmina Burana Choral Project features 200 high school singers and 50 middle school singers from all over New York City with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by David Robertson. Carnegie is looking for three high school-aged composers to write new works for the chorus and orchestra based on the musical themes of Carmina Burana. The winners will have their works premiered on February 5, 2012 at Stern Auditorium.

Benefits offered by Carnegie to young composers:

  • A chance to premiere a composition for chorus and orchestra at Carnegie Hall
  • Access to workshops and mentoring with professional composers
  • Rehearsals and premiere performance of a new 5–7 minute composition at Carnegie Hall with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, high school choirs, and conductor David Robertson

Applications due: June 1, 2011
Premiere: February 5, 2012

For more information or to apply, click here or call 212-903-9625.

The Carmina Burana Choral Project is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

Sherry Tang Shares a “Selfless” Passion with Elderly Residents of Los Angeles

12-year old pianist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Sherry Tang appeared on Show #220 in Davenport, IA this past October. A resident of Monterey Park, CA, Sherry wanted to share her music with the residents of her neighborhood’s retirement facility: the Beverly Hills Carmel Retirement Hotel.

“I want to share music with the elderly at rest homes so they can enjoy the music, and realize that music is all the generations coming together.”

Read more about Sherry’s performance on our Arts Leadership Map!

Arts Leadership in College Park, MD

This past weekend, From the Top visited the University of Maryland in College Park to tape a radio show. Ranging in genre from baroque to contemporary, our seven young artists gave a fantastic performance! The next sunny morning, six of the performers joined us for the Arts Leadership Orientation, where we explored the many ways that music can empower others to create positive change within their communities.

When asked to consider the power of music, our young artists concluded that “Arts Leadership Is…”

1. A way to destroy ignorance by promoting open-mindedness
2. Invisible, yet powerful and omnipresent
3. A reflection of humanity

Our performers named themselves “The Dekelboumers” in homage to their concert hall: Dekelboum Hall at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. They then created a short, fun video to introduce themselves and to share their message on arts leadership – check it out below!

Be sure to tune in the week of April 11th to hear “The Dekelboumers’” show! Broadcast times can be found here.


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