Alum Solly Burton: Upcoming Performances and Children’s Workshop

From the Top alum and mandolin player Solly Burton (Show 197 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) will be sharing his music next weekend (Oct 8 and 9) through radio appearances and live performances with Gibbs & Main, a Rochester, New York chamber music ensemble. Solly will also be giving a workshop “Kidsemble” with Terry Smith, Music Explorer for children K-6th grade and their families on October 9th.

Solly Perfoming in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Below is the schedule for his events – If you’re in the Rochester area, check it out!

Friday October 8, 2010, 11am-12pm
Gibbs & Main with Solly Burton on WRUR’s Open Tunings
WRUR 88.5 FM

Friday October 8, 2010, 7:30pm
American Icons with Solly Burton, mandolin
Blackbox Theatre at the Geneva Community Center
160 Carter Road
Geneva, New York
Suggested Donation: Adults $10, Children $5, Seniors/Students $8

Saturday October 9, 2010, 9am-12pm
Gibbs & Main and Solly Burton on WXXI’s Classical 91.5 with Chris Van Hof
WXXI 91.5 FM

Saturday October 9, 2010, 2pm-3:30pm
Kidsemble featuring Solly Burton on mandolin and Terry Smith, Music Explorer
For children K-6th grade and their families. Make instruments, meet Solly and the musicians of Gibbs & Main, and participate in this highly interactive concert!
Admission is free, but due to limited seating reservations are recommended.
Call Terry Smith at 585-224-8676 or email
The Harley School
1981 Clover Street
Rochester, New York

Saturday October 9, 2010, 8pm
American Icons with Solly Burton, mandolin
Admission: Adults $10, Children $5, Seniors/Students $8
Order tickets online at or pay cash at the door
The Harley School
1981 Clover Street
Rochester, New York

Tasting the Rainbow: Teen Arts Performance Camp 2010

From the Top alum and violinist Karen Cueva, who performed on Show 187 in Boston, MA in October 2008, had a remarkable summer participating in the Teen Arts Performance Camp (T.A.P. Camp) in Maryland as a teaching artist. Below, Karen explains the idea behind T.A.P. Camp and discusses some of the amazing experiences she had with music and the arts this summer. Her blog is a little long, but it’s really inspiring and well worth the read!

My name is Karen Cueva and I am a proud From The Top alum as well as a second year violinist at The Juilliard School.  Being a Juilliard student has many advantages: there are our great teachers, phenomenal performing opportunities, and, of course, living in New York City’s Upper West Side.  However, one of the greatest parts of being a student at “the yard” is the wealth of educational outreach opportunities at our disposal.  Many organizations collaborate with Juilliard world-wide to give students the chance to pass their knowledge of their arts forward.  This past summer, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, D.C. teamed up with Juilliard for their annual Teen Arts Performance (T.A.P.) Camp.  After applications and interviews, a group of eleven students were chosen as teaching artists to go to the picturesque Camp Brown in the outskirts of Maryland.

The Teaching Artist Team

I was so privileged to have been of such a fantastic group of artists and friends who struck the perfect balance of professionalism and exuberance for teaching during our five weeks together.  I will be forever changed as a violinist and as a person by my experiences at T.A.P.  I am glad I can share them with the From The Top audience. Continue reading

Building Schools in Afghanistan, One Concert at a Time: Part 1

From the Top alum Leeza Ali has been embarking on quite the Arts Leadership project for the past few years. She’s been holding concerts to raise money for P.E.C.A. – Partnership for the Education of Children in Afghanistan. We will cover her work in a blog series – below you can read about Leeza’s inspiration for this project and about the first concert.

Leeza performs "Two Pianos, Eight Hands" on From the Top in June 2010

When I was in 8th grade, an exchange student from Afghanistan came to our school. She spoke to us about the living conditions back in her home country. With the Taliban and the distressing political situation, it was very hard for girls to obtain an education. Often children would have to walk for many miles to get to school, many not even able to afford shoes or a book bag. Students often had to sit on the floor even when it was damp and wet from rain. Students would be lucky to have a bathroom, and it was rare to have a book or writing utensil to keep. She talked about the fear and difficulty she went through each day and how lucky she felt to be in MN for her studies.My sister (then a senior) and I were inspired to do something for girls in Afghanistan. At the time, my sister Nora was part of the “Diversity Leadership” committee, a volunteer organization of high school student leaders who run a variety of charity and fundraising events.  Nora and I had the idea of starting a concert series that would raise money for the organization P.E.C.A. – Partnership for the Education of Children in Afghanistan. This charity builds schools in Afghanistan for children, some specifically for girls, with the mission of providing a healthy and safe environment to educate the youth of the more dangerous provinces of Afghanistan. We pitched the idea to this committee, run by Nora’s history teacher, Mr. Schultz, and they thought it was a great idea. Continue reading

Spotlight on Christopher O’Riley

Photo by Wendy Lynch

So often on this blog we highlight the accomplishments of our young musicians, but today we’re turning the spotlight on our very own host, Christopher O’Riley.

As an acclaimed pianist, Christopher doesn’t just host From the Top. He does concerts around the country and is a Distinguished Visiting Artist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from 2010 to 2013.

Currently, Christopher is in Baton Rouge for a recital as part of his LSU residency, but he’ll be back in Ohio to open the new season of Cuyahoga Community College’s Classical Piano Recital Series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3. This event is held at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium, 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland and tickets are $10-15, available by calling 216-987-4444.

Take a second and check out this great article that discusses a concert he did last week in the Signature Series at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio. Christopher may be well known for his arrangements of popular pop and rock songs, but for this concert he performed Bach’s English Suite No. 6 in D minor and Stravinsky’s “Apollon Musagete,” among other works.

The video interview with Christopher below was produced by Cool Cleveland, and talks about the young musicians on From the Top.

Our fall radio tour takes us to Baton Rouge for a broadcast taping on Tuesday, November 2 at the Union Theater. More information is available here. Hope to see you there!

From the Top Rap, by the Emerald Quartet!

The Emerald Quartet, who performed on this week’s show from Gettysburg, PA, put together a really funny “From the Top Rap.” We made it into a video for you!

Check it out:

Announcing From the Top’s Center for Arts Leadership!

We are excited to announce a special grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to launch From the Top’s Center for Arts Leadership! Housed in Boston, the Center (CAL)  empowers young musicians towards action and service in their communities, inspiring them to take it beyond the concert hall.

Arts Leadership has been part of our core programs since 2004 and this new opportunity will allow us to further develop and evaluate this effort. Bolstered by From the Top’s national reach through our weekly radio and television broadcasts, the Center for Arts Leadership is uniquely positioned to inspire a movement of young people to redefine what it means to be a musician today.

We are currently recruiting high school and college freshmen and sophomore musicians in the Boston area to join us for the first year of this exciting initiative. During this yearlong program, participants will work in teams at partner sites across Boston to design and implement a community service project and will participate in ongoing leadership workshops. This is an amazing opportunity to use music to make a difference! Click here to learn more about the Center for Arts Leadership and download an application.

And announcing another opportunity to support new or existing projects…Boston-based high school and college-age musicians can receive grant money through the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Awards! From the Top is requesting proposals that focus on community-based projects beginning in January 2011. This is an opportunity for young musicians to use their talent and creativity to make a difference in people’s lives. Up to four grants will be awarded, ranging from $250 -$1000. Click here for more information and to download an application.

Hyung-Do Kim Shares His Music with Senior Citizens of Edgewater, NJ

14-year-old pianist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, Hyung-Do Kim recently performed on our show in Gettysburg, PA. During the Arts Leadership orientation held the following morning, we learned that he and his sister, a violinist, have been performing regularly for the residents of Waterford Towers, a retirement center located in Edgewater, New Jersey, for the past two years. Hyung-Do wants to share his love for classical music, and performing for senior citizens is one way he hopes to give back to the community.

Hyung-Do at the Waterford Towers retirement center

Continue reading


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