From the Top
Hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O’Riley, From the Top celebrates the amazing performances and captivating stories of extraordinary young classical musicians.
Broadcast on 250 stations nationwide to an audience of more than 700,000 listeners, From the Top is one of the most popular classical music programs on radio. Each one hour episode presents five high-caliber performances along with interviews, sketches and games, revealing the heart and soul behind extraordinary young musicians. Now in its thirteenth year on air, From the Top is taped before live audiences in concert halls from Boston to Honolulu and is distributed by NPR.
Over the years some of the most prominent figures in classical music have appeared alongside young talent on From the Top. These guest artists include Yo-Yo Ma, Hilary Hahn, Bobby McFerrin, Midori, Béla Fleck and many more. Alumni of From the Top are now popping up in the country’s top orchestras and emerging with solo careers.
Host - Christopher O'Riley
Christopher O'Riley (Host/piano) has redefined the possibilities of classical music through media, contemporary music and innovative programming. In addition to hosting From the Top's radio and television programs and appearing with top orchestras and festivals around the world, O'Riley is also an interpreter of some of the most important contemporary popular music of our time. He lives by the Duke Ellington adage, "there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad."
O'Riley has performed two-piano arrangements of Astor Piazzolla's tangos with Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler and collaborated with choreographer Martha Clarke in a work which sets the staged stories of Anton Chekhov to the piano works of Alexander Scriabin. He has recorded two discs of his own re-imaginings of Radiohead songs, as well as a tribute to Elliot Smith, where he delves into the deeply emotional and complex work of the troubled singer/songwriter who died prematurely in 2003. O'Riley's Second Grace: Music of Nick Drake, interprets the work of singer/songwriter Nick Drake.
In spring 2009, his series '2+2=5' at Columbia University's Miller Theatre bridged his own piano transcriptions with classical compositions. These concerts utilized multimedia art and intertwined his own arrangements of Radiohead, Nick Drake and Elliott Smith between movements of Shostakovich, Debussy and Robert Schumann.
His most recent disc Out of My Hands, released in August 2009, draws on the work of Nirvana, REM, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Tori Amos, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, and Portishead among others. O'Riley is a recipient of top prizes and awards from the Van Cliburn Competition and the Avery Fisher Career Grants.
He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Saturday 11:00 a.m.