Seven years ago, when double bassist/composer Evan Premo first performed on From the Top, he already seemed to have a complete mastery of his instrument. The 17-year-old wowed the audience with his own arrangement of "Summertime" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and talked with host Christopher O'Riley about living in a remote area of Michigan's upper peninsula, playing music with his family band, and going ice fishing with his dad.
A teenage singer by the name of Mary Bonhag was listening to From the Top the day Evan's performance aired, and the following year, when the two met as freshman at the University of Michigan, she was quick to realize why Evan seemed so familiar. These days, Evan and Mary like to say that their marriage began with From the Top!
The couple divides their time between the Hudson Valley, where Mary is in a Master's program for vocal performance, and Manhattan, where Evan is a fellow of The Academy a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and The Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. In addition to regularly performing with a chamber group at Carnegie Hall, part of Evan's fellowship involves working with elementary school string students in New York City public schools, outreach that Evan feels passionately about.
Evan is eager to contribute back to the community where he grew up, and this summer, he will be presenting two chamber operas at the Pine Mountain Music Festival in the Upper Peninsula, one based on Mark Twain's Diaries of Adam & Eve and the other inspired by a Native American creation story.
"My mission is to make music that promotes community and respect for all forms of life and to create music that's about something that's greater than itself," says Evan.