On April 7, National Public Radio’s Christopher O’Riley brings his popular showcase of up-and-coming young performing artists to the William M. Lowman Concert Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus.
O’Riley, a classical pianist and gifted interviewer, has hosted “From the Top” since 2000. Begun as an experiment 15 years ago, the one-hour program in which O’Riley interviews and often accompanies young pre-college performing artists has established itself as NPR’s most popular classical music program.
Broadcast on more than 220 stations nationwide to an audience of more than a half-million listeners, “From the Top” provides a warm and supportive venue for young artists to share their talent, their stories and their dreams. O’Riley’s engaging personality and easy rapport with his featured artists are huge reasons “From the Top” has gained such a devoted following.
One of the Idyllwild Arts Academy young artists chosen to appear on “From the Top” are pianist Hanxiao (Helen) Lai, 17, from Guangdong, China, who studies with Nelms Mckelvain. Helen is a semifinalist in the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight competition. Others include cellist Hua Huang, 18, also from China, who studies with Yao Zhao at IAA; flutist Nickolas Stavros, 18, from Collinsville, Oklahoma, who studies with Sara Andon at the University of Redlands; and the Idyllwild Octet, composed of IAA student violinists Derek Xu, Zhengnan (Eric) Wang, Liliya Milcheva and Anjelina Jeleva, violists Sheng-Chieh (Jason) Lan and Yun-Chieh (Jenny) Sung, and cellists Hua Huang and Xiyan (Richard) Liu.
They are joined by IAA graduate violinist Moni Simeonov, a native of Bulgaria, who is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Simeonov frequently performs with ensembles such as IRIS Chamber Orchestra and LA Chamber Orchestra, and is the acting concertmaster for the Sacramento Philharmonic. He also has played and taught in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. During the summer months, he is a faculty member at University of Maine’s Chamber Music Institute.
O’Riley 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 also is 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 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.
Tickets for the April 7 taping are currently sold out, but Idyllwild listeners can hear the program after it is released to NPR stations nationwide on Monday, May 30, 2016. It can be heard locally on Classical KUSC. The release date is when this Idyllwild Arts taping is made available to NPR stations. Check local NPR station listings for the actual day and airtime for the Idyllwild Arts segment on the NPR station selected. Visit NPR’s “Find Stations” page (www.npr.org/templates/stations/stations/) to look for your preferred station.
For more information, visit www.fromthetop.org and www.idyllwildarts.org.