From the Top

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Episode Guide

    • Episode 1
      Episode 1
      Season 1 - Episode 1
      It's all in the family as From the Top at Carnegie Hall features a sister-and-brother act from Orinda, California: 10-year old Clark (inspired by Yo-Yo Ma's appearance on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood) on cello and 14-year old Chloe Pang on piano; 13-year-old Leeza Ali, from a musical family in Mendota Heights, Minnesota; and 17-year-old trumpeter Conrad Jones, from Sayville, New York, whose parents are both music educators. The Pang siblings tackle a rollercoaster of a piece: the second movement Allegro from Shostakovich's Sonata for cello and piano in D minor. Conrad displays his talents on Herbert Clarke's "Carnival of Venice," and viewers get a glimpse of the everyday life of Leeza's family, where musical talent seems to be in the water.moreless
    • Musical Traditions
      Musical Traditions
      Season 2 - Episode 5
      The musical talents of a brother and sister team of violinists are showcased when the Switala Duo from Grapevine, Texas performs Passacaglia (after Handel) on this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Double bassist Kiyoe Wellington is fifteen-years old and hails from Kaneohe, Hawaii. She comes from a family of bassists, and in honor of the musical tradition in her family, plays François Rrabbath's "Reitba" on her grandfather's bass accompanied by Host Christopher O'Riley. Eighteen-year old Patricio Molina, the third and final performer on this episode, is a musical star in his native Chile, but moved to New York City to study piano at the Manhattan School of Music. Patricio performs Petern Mennin's Toccata to conclude the episode.moreless
    • From C to Shining Sea
      From C to Shining Sea
      Season 2 - Episode 4
      This week, From the Top at Carnegie Hall showcases young performers from all across the country, beginning with 11-year old cellist Lev Mamuya from Newton, Massachusetts. One of the youngest performers to appear on the television show, Lev is also a proud member of Red Sox Nation and can't get enough of his favorite candy, Skittles. We then meet 18-year old Eliodoro Vallecillo from Santa Cruz, California who, with the support of his family and his devoted music teacher, overcame great odds to become a rising young French horn player. Eliodoro performs the third movement Allegro from Mozart's Concerto No. 3 in E-flat, K. 447. The Chicagoland-area Ridere String Quartet, comprised of 18-year olds Samantha Bennett, Ryan Meehan, Emma Steele, and Mindy Park, finds that not only do they play well together, but have a wonderful time doing so, and aptly named their group "Ridere", the Italian word for laughter. The quartet rounds out the episode with a lively performance of Piazzolla's Tango for Four.moreless
    • Meeting Our Heroes
      Meeting Our Heroes
      Season 2 - Episode 3
      Fourteen-year old Travis Johnson from Milwaukie, Oregon chose the wood for his own custom-made guitar on which he performs Boppin' by Bryan Johannson, a piece commissioned for him, on this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Seventeen-year old marimba player Jingchen Sun moved to New York City after her father sold the family's home in China to pay for her marimba. Inspired by a chance meeting with the great marimba player and composer Keiko Abe, Jingchen gives an energetic performance of Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic's Ultimatum I before a live audience. Twelve-year old MacKenzie Melemend from Paxton, Massachusetts is a bowling champion and a master magician in addition to being a skilled pianist. His pursuit of the piano has enabled him to meet President Bush, Rosie O'Donnell, and Marvin Hamlisch, and to perform as part of a Mozart program on The Discovery Channel. MacKenzie closes the episode with a performance of Prokofiev's Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1.moreless
    • Family Ties
      Family Ties
      Season 2 - Episode 2
      Eleven-year old Pennsylvania native Daniel Song's dreams range from pursuing the piano professionally, to being a doctor or even a professional athlete. His grandfather, back in Korea, has never seen him perform, but on this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall the two are reunited backstage after Daniel performs Franz Liszt's Transcendental Etude No. 7 in E-flat Major, "Eroica." Fifteen-year old Caeli Smith, a "Roving Reporter" on From the Top's NPR radio program, comes from a musical family, and is passionate about musical education in public schools. Host Christoper O'Riley joins Caeli in a stirring performance Bordel 1900 from "L'Histoire du Tango" by Astor Piazzolla. At sixteen-years of age Matthew Lipman is an affable and dedicated violist with a family to match-his mother drives him two hours to his lessons and, although his father was recently laid off, the family still finds a way for Matthew pursue his music. Matthew initially pursued the viola as a way to get attention from the girls in his class, and is armed with a variety of viola jokes. He concludes this episode with a performance of Paganini's La Campanella accompanied by Christopher O'Riley.moreless
    • Style and Substance
      Style and Substance
      Season 2 - Episode 6
      Tonight on From the Top at Carnegie Hall we meet a young lady who takes the artistry of performing classical music to a new level by infusing her performances with her sense of personal style. Eleven-year old violinist Simone Porter from Seattle, Washington designs her own concert attire and frequently bases her designs on what repertoire she's performing-she even made a dress especially for playing Mozart and Mendelssohn! Thirteen-year old cellist and volleyball player Jonah Ellsworth from Cambridge, Massachusetts, accompanied by Host Christopher O'Riley, performs Paganini's Variations on One String on a Theme of Rossini using only one string of his cello. Eighteen-year old tuba player Ibanda Ruhumbika is passionate about sharing music with kids and is a member of the prestigious Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. He dreams of playing in a major orchestra like the New York Philharmonic one day, and is joined onstage at Carnegie Hall by members of the Phil's brass section for a performance of That's a Plenty by Lew Pollack (arr. Steve Cooper) to conclude the episode.moreless
    • Singing, Strumming, and Skating
      Singing, Strumming, and Skating
      Season 2 - Episode 7
      The stage is packed with teenagers this evening when From the Top at Carnegie Hall welcomes the Young People's Chorus of New York City along with their passionate Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Nunez. After a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of some of its young performers, the chorus performs Jim Papoulis's Panta Rhei (All Things Are In Flux) and Luis Kalaff's Guayacanal. We then meet 17-year old classical guitarist Kimani Griffin from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who doubles as an equally talented speed skater with Olympic potential. Kimani performs the third movement Preludio e toccatina from "Aquarelle" by Sérgio Assad.moreless
    • Star Quality
      Star Quality
      Season 2 - Episode 8
      This week, renowned violinist Gil Shaham appears on From the Top at Carnegie Hall joined by 10-year old violinist and Red Sox fan Alice Ivy-Pemberton from New York City for a performance of the third movement Allegro from Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, BWV 1043. Alice, who frequents Lincoln Center's violin shop and spends a great deal of time at Columbia University where her parents are professors, also performs the first movement Prima Parte (Lassu) from Bartók's Rhapsody No. 1 (Folk Dances) for Violin and Piano accompanied by Host Christopher O'Riley. Also featured on this episode is 17-year old pianist Ji-Yong Kim from Midland Park, New Jersey who performs Robert Schumann's Widmung (arr. Liszt), and explains what it's like to be a normal high school student and a classical pianist with professional management!moreless
    • Bach to the Future
      Bach to the Future
      Season 2 - Episode 12
      This week on From the Top at Carnegie Hall, we see Johann Sebastian Bach through the eyes of 11-year old Hilda Huang from Palo Alto, California, who plays the piano and hopes to share her love of Bach's music with the world. We then meet 15-year old Kyla Moscovich from Tarrytown, New York who grew up playing her trumpet at jazz clubs, where she was once heard by Tony Bennett. Kyla also enjoys classical trumpet music. The Colburn School Honors String Quartet, a Californian group comprised of 16-year old John Heffernan and 17-year olds Akemi Leung, Rachel Li, and Eunice Kim, rounds out the episode with a lively performance of the fourth movement Presto from Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 44.moreless
    • Jumping Through Hoopes
      Jumping Through Hoopes
      Season 2 - Episode 11
      Tonight on From the Top at Carnegie Hall, we meet 13-year old violinist Chad Hoopes from Shaker Heights, Ohio and 17-year old violist Shundeena Beard from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chad, who comes from a very musical family, is somewhat of a local celebrity in his hometown where he was recently featured in a Cleveland Indians television commercial. Shundeena draws a great deal of her musical inspiration from her brother who is severely disabled, and to whom she is extremely devoted. Chad and Shundeena will each perform a solo piece accompanied by Christopher O'Riley, and will then join 17-year old Rachel Sandman from La Canada, California, 17-year old Patrick McGuire from Westford, Massachusetts, along with O'Riley to perform the third movement Scherzo from Robert Schumann's Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44.moreless
    • Music is Where the Heart Is
      Music is Where the Heart Is
      Season 2 - Episode 10
      This week on From the Top at Carnegie Hall, we learn that no matter how far from home we are, we always have a home in the things we love. Seventeen-year old pianist Ronald Joseph grew up outside of New Orleans, but temporarily relocated to New York in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to study at the Juilliard School before returning home to finish out his senior year of high school. Ronald performs the second movement Mardi Gras from "The Enchanted Garden" by Richard Danielpour. Thirteen-year old Nikki Yanofsky from Hampstead, Quebec tours North America as a jazz singer, and used the first paycheck she earned from her singing to establish a cancer foundation. Nikki performs "Old McDonald Had a Farm" accompanied by Geoff Lang on drums, Rob Fahie on bass, and John Sadowy on piano. Host Christopher O'Riley then accompanies 17-year old violinist Allyson Tomsky from Brooklyn, New York as she performs the first movement Allegro ben ritmato e decisco from Gershwin's Three Preludes to round out the episode.moreless
    • Coast to Coast
      Coast to Coast
      Season 2 - Episode 9
      This week on From the Top at Carnegie Hall, we go behind the scenes with extraordinary young performers from both coasts. Fifteen-year old Clare Yeo from New York, New York plays the piano and often jokes that she has very small hands, but plays very big pieces. Matthew Woodard is a 13-year old composer and violinist from South Hadley, Massachusetts. Matthew attends concerts and lectures at Mount Holyoke College, takes composition classes at Smith, and frequents Springfield Symphony concerts. The Luna Trio features 18-year old violinist Jennifer Wey from Saratoga, California, 14-year old cellist Tessa Seymour from Berkeley, California, and 16-year old pianist Mayumi Tsuchida from Mill Valley, California. The trio will be performing the Allegro from Paul Schoenfield's "Café Music."moreless
    • Rhythm and Strings
      Rhythm and Strings
      Season 2 - Episode 1
      A hypnotic performance on the marimba by sixteen-year old Joshua Jones of Chicago, Illinois kicks off Season Two of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Whether he's accompanying the Gospel choir in his church or playing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Percussion Scholarship Group, Josh finds rhythm all around him, sometimes even while doing his household chores. Also featured is twelve-year old violinist Anna Lee from Queens, NY whose classmates affectionately call her "one small girl with one big attitude." Accompanied by host Christopher O'Riley, Anna gives a performance of Pablo de Saraste's Ziguenerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20, No. 1, and also appears as one-third of the Maggiore Trio-the third and final performers featured on this episode. Rounding out the trio are eleven-year old pianist Alice Burla, who was featured in Season One of From the Top at Carnegie Hall, and thirteen-year old cellist Taeguk Mun. The Maggiore Trio brings the season premiere to its climax with a performance of the third movement Presto (Gypsy Rondo) from Haydn's Piano Trio in G Minor.moreless
    • Episode 13
      Episode 13
      Season 1 - Episode 13
      Host Christopher O'Riley welcomes 17-year-old clarinetist Nicholas Graham, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and roller-coaster-loving Conrad Tao, a 12-year-old "triple threat" from New York who not only plays the violin and piano, but is also an award-winning composer. This episode of From the Top: Live at Carnegie Hall features performances of Kreisler's "Tambourin Chinois," Schumann's "Fantasiestucke for Clarinet and Piano," and concludes with Conrad transporting the audience to Argentina with his original "Saturday Morning Tango."moreless
    • Episode 5
      Episode 5
      Season 1 - Episode 5
      From the Top at Carnegie Hall presents a piano extravaganza featuring Alice Burla, 10, one of the youngest students at Juilliard; Jeremy Jordan, 17, from Chicago; and 14-year-old Peng-Peng from New York City, in solo performances. Host Christopher O'Riley joins them for a spectacular four piano finale: Wagner's famous "Ride of the Valkyries."moreless
    • Episode 4
      Episode 4
      Season 1 - Episode 4
      Host Christopher O'Riley presents a dazzling rumba with 17-year-old saxophone player Kevin Olusola from Owensboro, Kentucky, who then outshines himself with a beatbox performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Seraphina, a Philadelphia-area string quartet made up of the Smith sisters-14-year-old Caeli and 16-year old Madeline-and the 15-year-old Tabby twins, Sabrina and Genevieve, join Rochelle Chester, a 17-year-old Navajo composer from Kayenta, Arizona, on stage to perform Rochelle's "Moon's Lullaby." George Li, 11 years old, from Lexington, Massachusetts, takes a break from the science lab to perform Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 in A Minor.moreless
    • Episode 3
      Episode 3
      Season 1 - Episode 3
      The banjo as a classical instrument? Only on From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Béla Fleck, the man who reinvented the banjo, joins 14-year-old violinist Caroline Goulding from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and 13-year-old cellist Gabriel Cabezas from Wilmette, Illinois, for performances of Debussy's "Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum" arranged by Fleck, as well as his own rousing composition for string quartet and banjo, "County Clare," inspired by a trip to the Emerald Isle. Fleck gets more than he bargained for when Caroline does a Martha Stewart-style makeover on his banjo case.moreless
    • Episode 2
      Episode 2
      Season 1 - Episode 2
      From the Top at Carnegie Hall welcomes two rising stars to the show: 13-year old cellist Tessa Seymour from Berkeley, California, and 18-year old violinist and self-described "Asian Cowboy" Charles Yang from Austin, Texas. Tessa and Charles join host Christopher O'Riley for riveting performances of Debussy, Monti, and Dvorak, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma reveals the "Top Ten Reasons Why Cello is the Coolest!"moreless
    • Episode 6
      Episode 6
      Season 1 - Episode 6
      Famed violinist Joshua Bell takes to the stage in From the Top at Carnegie Hall, where he is joined by 13-year-old classical guitarist and bobble-head collector Timothy Callobre from Pasadena, California, and the La Campana Trio, three teenagers who study violin, viola and cello in Chicago, for a performance of Mendelssohn's "May Breezes" featured on Joshua's latest recording "Voice of the Violin." Host Christopher O'Riley and the young musicians team up to "punk" Bell, but nothing stands in the way of their outstanding rendition of the Scherzo from Dvorak's Piano Quintet in A Major.moreless
    • Episode 7
      Episode 7
      Season 1 - Episode 7
      The stage is packed full of teenagers as From the Top at Carnegie Hall welcomes New England Conservatory's Youth Philharmonic Orchestra with passionate conductor Benjamin Zander. After a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of the music, the audience is treated to a performance of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture as well as a movement from the Bach solo cello suites by principal cellist Sebastian Baverstam. Host Christopher O'Riley joins Sebastian, violinist Yun-Chie Wang, and the Orchestra to perform the finale of Beethoven's beloved "Triple Concerto" - but not before a suspense-filled game of "Musical Jeopardy."moreless
    • Episode 8
      Episode 8
      Season 1 - Episode 8
      Piano, marimba, drums-it's all about percussion on From the Top at Carnegie Hall as Sarina Zhang, a 10-year-old pianist from San Diego, California, performs Glinka's "The Lark," and 17-year-old Molly Yeh plays solo marimba. Host Christopher O'Riley welcomes David Hutter and Victoria Aschheim, the other members of "Beat 3," Molly's Chicago-area percussion trio, for a thunderous finale capped by an astounding trick involving a lawn mower.moreless
    • Episode 12
      Episode 12
      Season 1 - Episode 12
      The Chicago Children's Choir, under their dynamic director Josephine Lee, offers stirring renditions of the spiritual "Elijah Rock" and the South African spiritual "Lizela." Drew Peterson, a 12-year-old pianist and aspiring conductor from Oradell, New Jersey, performs Chopin's "Grande Valse," and takes on host Christopher O'Riley in a left-handed "Name that Tune" challenge.moreless
    • Episode 11
      Episode 11
      Season 1 - Episode 11
      Host Christopher O'Riley welcomes The Bone Rangers, a teenage trombone quartet from Chicago, and Roderick Demmings, a 13-year-old pianist from Dallas, Texas, who is also director of his Baptist church's choir. The Bone Rangers perform selections from Hornoff's "Suite for Four Trombones" and Roderick plays the Chopin "Black Key" Etude, then all join forces in a special arrangement by Lee Blaske of Jack Gale's jazzy "Harlem Express."moreless
    • Episode 10
      Episode 10
      Season 1 - Episode 10
      Guest star Denyce Graves shares her moving story of discovering opera as a youth in inner-city Washington, D.C., on this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. The acclaimed mezzo-soprano performs with four outstanding young musicians: flutist Helen McGarr, 15, from Lindon, Utah; clarinetist Jonathan Cohen, 17, from New Orleans; cellist Nicholas Olarte-Hayes, 17, from Plainsboro, NJ; and harpist Maura Valenti, 18, from New York City. Musical selections include the first movement of Poulenc's "Sonata for Flute and Piano," Rodgers and Hart's "Manhattan," and Luciano Berio's folk song setting of "Loosin Yelav."moreless
    • Episode 9
      Episode 9
      Season 1 - Episode 9
      Strings take center stage on From the Top at Carnegie Hall when Ania Filochowska, a 12-year-old violinist originally from Poland, interprets the music of her homeland in Wieniawski's lively "Polonaise," and a quartet of car-crazed teenage boys from Ohio called "opus." plays from the beautiful Ravel String Quartet in F major. After Chris reveals some of the boys' hidden talents, the ensemble joins him for the Scherzo from the Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Opus 34.moreless
    • Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Orchestra
      The Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Orchestra, under the dynamic direction of conductor Matthew Hazelwood, performs "Simple Gifts" from Copland's Appalachian Spring to kick off this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Kevin Bao, an 11-year old pianist from Mason, Ohio volunteers with the Bach, Beethoven, Brahms Club and taught his sister to love rollercoasters. Kevin performs "Polichinelle" from Rachmaninoff's Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3, No. 4. Eighteen-year old Noah Brown, a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy tells Host Christopher O'Riley why he loves his hometown in Iowa, playing the bassoon, and learning to rap in French, after wowing the audience with a performance of the first movement Allegro from Mozart's Concert in B-flat Major, K 191.moreless