Show 200: Listening Guide

From the Top’s broadcast this week was taped at the Heifitz International Music Institute in Wolfeboro, NH in July 2009. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they performed on the show:

Ben Fried

Ben Fried

Ben Fried, 17, cello
Variations on a Theme of Paganini
by Gregor Piatigorsky

“This piece was written as a satire of the greatest musicians of the 20th century. Each variation comically admires and/or pokes fun at a different cellist/violinist. My favorite is the ‘Kreisler’ variation, because I can play it cheesy.”

Alexi Kenney, 15, violin
Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla

“Le Grand Tango, as with other Piazzolla, is in such a different style from any other piece in the repertoire (part of the reason I chose it), but it still manages to connect to the audience in a huge way. I think the hardest part of the piece is conveying a sense of holding back while still sounding ‘on edge.’ You can’t lay it out in front of the audience at the beginning – it unfolds like a stage production, element by element, to the final climax!” Continue reading

Caeli Smith vlogs about From the Top’s 200th Show

17-year-old violinist Caeli Smith, From the Top alum and Roving Reporter,  has produced a very fun look behind the scenes at From the Top’s 200th radio show taping at the Heifetz International Music Institute in Wolfeboro, NH this past July.  Be sure to tune in to the broadcast on stations this week (and online at

On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show #201

Joanne Robinson, Radio Show Announcer

Joanne Robinson, Radio Show Announcer

Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of my travel blog. Sunday’s From the Top taping took place at our home base, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, which, for those not from the area, happens to be located directly across the street from our office. So travel was particularly non-eventful.

The taping, however, was awesome! We brought back one of our most memorable alumni, violinist Maya Shankar, as part of our 10th Anniversary celebration. I remember Maya when she first performed on the show at the age of 12. She was extraordinary then and she hasn’t disappointed.

Maya Shankar returns to From the Top

Maya Shankar returns to From the Top

These days, she’s a 23-year-old Rhodes Scholar studying cognitive science at Oxford, but she left the lab to pick up her violin and perform the gorgeous Melody from Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice.

Other highlights of yesterday’s taping included an outstanding baritone singing one of my favorite vocal pieces of all time, the Vagabond from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, and a fascinating lesson on how drums can play melody by a teenage timpanist. Also, an 11-year-old filled the hall with the incredible sound she was able to produce on piano and a 16-year-old cellist beautifully played David Popper’s Fantasy on Little Russian Songs.

Make sure to tune in when this show airs the week of November 9th. It’s a great one!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: