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“From the Top”

Author John Cech (read by Fiona Barnes)
Air Date 1/18/2001

“From the Top” Transcript

“From the Top” is a year old this month, and we should all be singing the praises of this amazing weekly radio program, heard on many public radio stations, that features the performances of young classical musicians from around the country. If you don’t receive the program in your area, log onto their website,, and you can see, and most importantly HEAR, what you and your family are missing.

In their “Show by Show” section, you can replay, on Real-audio, all of the programs that have aired thus far on “From the Top,” including Christopher O’Riley’s wonderful interviews with the visiting performers on every show. O’Riley, himself a superb concert pianist, hosts these weekly excursions into traditional and new classical music, and he regularly adds his own musical talents to the program. Established performers like Isaac Stern, Joshua Bell, and Menachem Pressler make their appearances on the show, often playing with these young, emerging talents, all of whom are in their teens. But it is the young people themselves who are the stars, adding the exhilarating energy to the program through their dazzling performances and their candid discussions with O’Riley about what has helped them to define and refine their talents.

In his interviews with older performers, like the African American baritone, Jubilant Sykes, O’Riley always steers the subject to the musical beginnings in childhood for the particular artist. For Sykes, it was a matter of being taken under the wing of his middle-school music teacher who recognized his gifts and helped him to develop them. That’s the powerful, implicit lesson that harmonizes with the incredible music each week on”From the Top” — a subtle, though strong reminder of our adult obligation to recognize talent in young people and to help to nurture it.

Posted in Music