‘From the Top’ coming to B.G.


From the Top, the country’s No. 1 radio program for classically trained young musicians, will be in the Toledo area for the first time next fall. A live taping is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Kobacker Hall of the Bowling Green State University Moore Musical Arts Center.

“We’re excited about it,” said David Balsom, who manages the show’s tours. “We had been talking about finding an appropriate presenter in the Toledo area.”

The Boston-based weekly series, now in its 13th year, is broadcast by National Public Radio on 250 stations — including WGTE’s FM-91.3 — heard by more than 700,000 listeners. Each year, 18 to 20 episodes are taped before live audiences either in the program’s home, Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory, or in major concert venues across the country.

Each hour-long show features five exceptional high school musicians who perform and chat with Christopher O’Riley, the show’s host and chief accompanist. Top-ranked professional musicians also may perform with the young musicians during a taping.

Students apply and are selected in a rigorous process; graduates of From the Top often move into professional music careers. According to Balsom, “It’s one of the things we’re most proud of. There are over 1,000 people who have come through the program.”

For Susan Hoekstra, who plans and administers arts performances at BGSU, booking From the Top is a perfect kick-off for the 2013-2014 Festival Series, which brings in rising star musicians from around the country and abroad each year.

O’Riley performed at BGSU a year ago, serving as a judge for the David DuBois Piano Competition, for high school musicians. From that visit, Hoekstra made connections to From the Top.

“We want to encourage young musicians to apply for the program,” said Hoekstra.

Brianna Michalko, the Toledo Symphony’s youth orchestra coordinator, was happy to hear of the coming visit. “Maybe one of our players could be on it,” she said.

Indeed, any musician — instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, and small ensembles — ages 8 to 18 can apply to be on the show, whether in BGSU or elsewhere in the 50 states. Anyone enrolled in a college or conservatory is not eligible.

From the Top provides expenses for musicians selected and will cover costs for a chaperone, if needed. There is a $50 application fee.

For more information, check the Web site: www.fromthetop.org or email auditions@fromthetop.org.

Contact Sally Vallongo at: svallongo@theblade.com.