LaMont Barlow impressed all of us when he first performed on From the Top's radio show back in August of 1999. Not only was the 16-year-old an amazing bassoonist, he played practically every woodwind instrument, was an award-winning pianist, a swim team member, and a citywide diving champion. As if all this wasn't enough to wow us, we also learned he was ranked number one in his class academically. In a comedic bit on that very early show, LaMont left us no choice but to set off the "From the Top Over-Achiever Alarm!"
We invited this impressive young man back to the stage as one of our Tenth Anniversary Alumni performers to see where life had taken him since his appearance on our show. And his story didn't disappoint.
Following high school, LaMont was accepted to Harvard University, where he graduated with high honors in biochemistry. Though he focused on science, he kept up with music, serving as Associate Principal Bassoon of the New England Philharmonic, performing regularly with other ensembles in the Boston area, and winning a campus-wide concerto competition.
Following his graduation from Harvard, LaMont moved to New York City to attend medical school at Columbia University, and now, at the age of 26, he is applying to residency programs in the field of urologic oncology. It is a specialty that demands an enormous amount of heart as well as skill since his work revolves around patients who are suffering from potentially devastating diagnoses.
"There are definitely times you feel helpless," admits LaMont of his choice to pursue this direction. "At the same time, though, you can work to make the situation the best it can be, and you have the opportunity to be involved in what is the most important thing that is happening in a person's life. In the field of oncology, every patient you see is going through the biggest thing that has every happened to them. You get to be a part of that every day, and I think that's kind of special."
Though his free time is more limited than ever, LaMont still manages to find opportunities to play music, and he hopes to continue making music throughout his training and medical practice. On his recent appearance on From the Top, LaMont and Chistopher O'Riley beautifully performed the first movement of Alexandre Tansman's Suite for Bassoon and Piano.