History

1995

Jennifer Hurley-Wales and Gerald Slavet conceive of an old-time radio program featuring young musicians to be taped at the newly-restored New England Conservatory's (NEC) Jordan Hall

1996

Concert Productions Inc. (CPI) creates a demo radio program entitled Child's Play hosted by Gerald Slavet as Executive Producer with musician George Russell, Jr., and Producers Wesley Horner & Jennifer Hurley-Wales

1997

Jennifer Hurley-Wales and Gerald Slavet invite concert pianist Christopher O'Riley to serve as host

Relationships form with Public Radio International (PRI) and WGBH in Boston

First pilot Young Performance taped at New England Conservatory (NEC)'s Jordan Hall in Boston with Christopher O'Riley as host

Second Young Performance pilot plays for a focus group at Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) National Conference

1998

New program title "From the Top" is introduced at the PRPD National Conference

From the Top, NEC, and the Education Development Center (EDC) join forces to pilot an education program at the Lincoln-Eliot School in Newton, MA

1999

U.S. Department of Education provides $3 million in start-up funding over the next four years

Tom Voegeli is named as Producer. Three more pilot programs are produced, with two recorded at Jordan Hall featuring special guests Richard Stoltzman and Mark O'Connor

Hayley Goldbach is cast as Co-Announcer

Cole Porter's "You're the Top" is first performed as theme by Christopher O'Riley

Show #1 is recorded at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA

(Read more about 1995-1999 in "The Pilot Years")

2000

Weekly radio broadcast From the Top launches on 100 stations; PRI reports carriage at 132 stations within the first month

Joanne Robinson cast as Announcer, Hayley Goldbach re-cast as Roving Reporter

Program eliminates controversial "Audience Choice" competition after first taping season

First interdisciplinary curriculum is developed and piloted in two Boston public schools

Francis Hunnewell joins staff as CEO to expand funding base

2001

From the Top carried on 200 stations with the fastest growth of any music program in history

Second interdisciplinary curriculum (math, music, and technology) is developed and
piloted in Boston Public Schools

From the Top becomes a member of the National Consortium for Music-in-Education

Partnership is forged with Cherry Lane and From the Top education materials appear in Cherry Lane Magazines reaching 300,000 kids and 15,000 teachers

2002

From the Top carried on 231 radio stations nationwide

Arts Leadership program developed; nine From the Top alumni participate in five Massachusetts school programs

In partnership with Music Educators National Conference (MENC), From the Top produces seven music lesson plans available on MENC and From the Top websites

From the Top partners with Young Audiences to develop an in-school residency program

2003

From the Top carried on 245 radio stations nationwide

Peter Rosen Productions records TV demo at Oberin show

From the Top incorporates as independent 501(c) 3 non-profit

New Board of Directors created. Francis O. Hunnewell becomes Chairman; Jennifer Hurley-Wales and Gerald Slavet are named CEOs & Directors; 8 Directors are appointed

From the Top launches Young Composer Project

In partnership with Young Audiences, From the Top creates Make Your Own Radio Show in-school residency for 5-8 graders with pilots in three states

2004

From the Top teams up with McGraw-Hill Publishers to feature From the Top musicians in music textbook series for grades 2-12, expected to reach millions of kids over five years

Arts leadership workshops begin, training every performer who appears on the radio show to return to their community as advocates for the arts and peer role models

Board of Overseers forms to engage a select group of donors as ambassadors

250 attend From the Top's first event fundraiser at Jordan Hall with special guest, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

2005

From the Top partners with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to identify and award 25 deserving young musicians a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award of $10,000 in support of furthering their musical education

200 attend Impromptu, From the Top's first gala fundraising event - a dinner followed by a live concert taping in Boston's Symphony Hall

Caeli Smith named new Roving Reporter

2006

NPR begins national distribution of From the Top

UBS becomes national corporate sponsor for the radio series

Taping of a 13-part TV series From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall is produced by Don Mischer Productions for From the Top and WGBH, in association with Carnegie Hall with exclusive corporate sponsorship by Liberty Mutual

Second annual Gala raises over $300,000, nearly three times more than the previous year

From the Top is awarded a grant from The Wallace Foundation to support Turn It Up!, an education program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in  Boston Public Schools

2007

Broadcast of From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall debuts on PBS in April

Third annual Gala raises over $350,000 setting a new record

Tajah Coleman-Jones and Emily Mayer named new Roving Reporters

Launch of From the Top's e-newsletter publications: eNews From the Top and The Roving Report - From the Top's Teen eNewsletter

Launch of the From the Top Soirée series, which introduces new audiences to From the Top through intimate performances in homes across the nation

From the Top is taped live in Aspen, CO, presented by the Aspen Music Festival and School. In Aspen, From the Top hosts the first ever Alumni Gathering, bringing together more than 40 performers from previous shows

2008

Emmy Award-winning director Gary Halvorson joins Don Mischer Productions to direct the second season, renamed From the Top at Carnegie Hall

The first TV season entitled From the Top: Live from Carnegie earns three Daytime Emmy nominations

Fourth From the Top Gala is held at WGBH Studios and raises more than $375,000 in charitable support.

Through "Iowa Makes Music" From the Top collaborates with Orchestra Iowa to bring the power, joy, and excitement of classical music to Iowa youth and families through a mulit-year residency funded by the United States Department of Education

From the Top teams up with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops to present a weekend of live concerts, radio broadcast and CD recording

2009

Three episodes of From the Top at Carnegie Hall are offered on PBS National Primetime following Great Performances

From the Top at Carnegie Hall receives five Daytime Emmy nominations

From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation award more than $1 Million in scholarships to musicians with financial need

From the Top creates a "Teacher Kit" of multimedia products and learning activities based on the radio and television broadcasts to enliven classroom learning

200th radio broadcast taped at Heifeitz International Music Institute in Wolfeboro, NH

Telarc releases From the Top at the Pops CD featuring From the Top performers with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops

From the Top at Carnegie Hall receives two Daytime Emmys

2010

In partnership with Hawaii Public Radio, From the Top brings the radio show and education programs to Hawaii Island and reaches more than 2000 community members, made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education

In honor of its 10th Anniversary, From the Top profiles ten outstanding alumni on the radio show and in an online video series

Fifth From the Top Gala is held at Boston’s Symphony Hall and includes a live taping of the radio show with the Boston Pops. The gala raised $385,000

From the Top awards the first Margaret Stewart Lindsay Arts Leadership Awards to support high school and college students implement music-based community projects in the Boston area

2011

From the Top in partnership with Carnegie Hall hosts "Big Break," its first online competition for young classical musicians culminating in a concert at Carnegie Hall and radio taping at WQXR in New York

From the Top launches the Center for Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL) and begins a year-long Boston pilot program for 20 arts leaders, 4 mentors, and 5 community partner sites

The third and final year of Iowa Makes Music residency is completed with Orchestra Iowa

For the first time, From the Top "broadcasts" an entire radio episode on YouTube, taped at the EG Conference in Monterey, California

Guest artists include Sir James Galway, Michael Feinstein, and Jake Shimabukuro

2012

In collaboration with Boston Children's Chorus, From the Top produces its second special dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Completes the first year of the CDAL Boston pilot: 20 teens, 4 mentors, and 5 partners all working to improve the lives of hundreds of Boston residents through music

From the Top goes INTERNATIONAL, taping a radio episode in Bogota, Colombia, bringing incredible energy and passion of Colombia's youth to American audiences

From the Top salutes military families at the Military Child Education Coalition in Grapevine, Texas and receives a special serenade from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey

From the Top goes to Beijing, China, taping two episodes with the Great Wall Academy and the Central Conservatory and exploring the explosion of classical music in Chinese culture

Guest artist cellist Matt Haimovitz joins From the Top for an all-cello show at Troy Music Hall in Troy, New York

From the Top's Beatboxing Bach video - featuring alumni Kadar Qian (piano) and Kevin Olusola (beatbox) reinventing a movement from Goldberg Variations - becomes a YouTube hit and a model for future From the Top videos

2013

From the Top collaborates with two great American orchestras - the Colorado Symphony and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

From the Top graduates a second class of 23 teenage musicians from its Center for the Development of Arts Leaders Boston - the arts leaders donated more than 2,000 hours increasing access to high-quality music for school children, seniors, and patients facing cancer treatment at five community partner sites

Ninth annual gala is held at Back Bay Events Center in Boston and sets record, raising $415,000 in charitable support

From the Top returns to Aspen Music Festival and School for a weekend residency, including a radio taping, arts leadership orientation workshop and outreach, performer auditions, alumni picnic, and donor receptions

From the Top musicians perform at conference events for Sterling Partners, Greylock Partners, and the Kellogg Innovation Network at Northwestern University; co-founder Gerald Slavet speaks at Google Zeitgeist and presents a series of performances by From the Top musicians; a quartet of From the Top musicians record a cover from Sting's new album for the CDZA/Interscope Records' Impromptu series on YouTube

From the Top pilots an all-day assembly at the three campuses of Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy, bringing the power of music to 1,000 K-8 students in Dorchester, Massachusetts

2014

From the Top travels to the Eastman School of Music for a recording with the legendary Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway. 

From the Top alumna Yuki Beppu is invited to appear and play on Good Morning America after a video featuring Yuki playing a Lady Gaga/classical mashup goes viral. 

From the Top helps the Starling Chamber Orchestra celebrate it's 25th Anniversary with a recording featuring the Orchestra and From the Top alumni Charles Yang, Tessa Lark, and Jonathan Miron. 

From the Top receives significant grants from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation, and the Free for All Concert Fund, to support expanded outreach programming in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Boston, Massachusetts; Morehead, Kentucky; Miami Beach, Florida; Tacoma, Washington; and Norfolk, Virginia. 

Tenth annual gala is held at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and sets a new fundraising record, raising more than $420,000 to support From the Top's programming. 

From the Top celebrates the special milestone of $2 million in scholarships awarded since the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Program’s launch in 2005.

From the Top musicians perform at The Milken Institute Global Conference, the YouTube Global Summit, and The Aspen Ideas Festival.