NPR’S "From the Top" to host residency and live recording at Interlochen Arts Academy

The nationally syndicated NPR program will showcase young artists from Interlochen Arts Academy in a live recording event on March 19 with newly announced host Peter Dugan and co-host Alex Laing.

From the Top, the nationally distributed NPR program, will bring its next live recording event to Interlochen Arts Academy, led by newly announced host Peter Dugan and co-host Alex Laing and featuring Academy students, on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. at Corson Auditorium on the Interlochen campus.

Tickets are $34 for adults and $14 for students and can be purchased at or by calling the Interlochen Box Office at 800.681.5920.

From the Top is the most popular weekly one-hour music program on public radio. Young performers share their passion for classical music through performance and conversation, sharing insight into their unique worlds, from musical pursuits to day-in-the-life musings.

This will be From the Top's eighth recording at Interlochen Arts Academy. Since the show's inception in 2000, more than 300 students from Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp have been featured.

The live recording is part of From the Top's week-long residency at Interlochen Arts Academy. The residency will include workshops led by From the Top staff on audio storytelling, the art of interviews, recording classical instruments, and scriptwriting. Students from across disciplines will participate in From the Top's arts leadership workshop, which will explore how young artists can utilize their skills beyond traditional settings and grow as artists, activists, creative entrepreneurs, and leaders of all kinds. As part of the residency, the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir, led by choral conductor John Bragle, will perform for children at Blair Elementary School. From the Top's creative team will lead a preparation session where Interlochen students craft an interactive experience to make their performance especially engaging for young listeners.

"We are thrilled to welcome From the Top back to Interlochen and to deepen our partnership with them through this residency," said Camille Colatosti, Provost of Interlochen Center for the Arts. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students not only to perform on a national platform, but to learn about what goes into creating a successful broadcast from some of the most creative leaders in the classical music world."

The March 19 program will feature the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Leslie B. Dunner; the Interlochen Arts Academy Wind Symphony, conducted by Dr. Matthew Schlomer; and three student soloists. The program will include:

  • Kelly Avila, Interlochen Arts Academy violist from Norton Shores, Michigan, performing Ernest Bloch's Suite Hébraïque B. 83
  • Oliver Chen, Interlochen Arts Academy pianist from Ames, Iowa, performing Chopin's Waltz in A-flat Major, Op. 42
  • Theo Swanson, Interlochen Arts Academy trombonist from Clear Lake, Iowa, performing Trombone Concerto by Nino Rota (1911-1979)
  • Interlochen Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Leslie Dunner performing "Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia" from the ballet Spartacus and "Sabre Dance" from the ballet Gayane by Aram Khachaturian
  • Interlochen Wind Ensemble under the direction of Matthew Schlomer performing "Revelry" by William Pitts and "Molly on the Shore" by Percy Aldridge Grainger, featuring Alex Laing

This episode of From the Top recorded at Interlochen on March 19 will air on participating stations and by podcast during the week of June 22, 2020. From the Top is heard locally on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m. on Interlochen Public Radio's Classical IPR.

About Peter Dugan
From the Top's new permanent host, pianist Peter Dugan, served as guest host on nine From the Top episodes since the 2018-19 season, and first appeared as a musician on the program in 2007 at the age of 18. Over the last 11 years, he appeared as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America and abroad. Equally at home in classical, jazz, and pop idioms, Peter has performed in duos and trios with artists ranging from Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell to Jesse Colin Young and Glenn Close. His debut last year with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was described by the Los Angeles Times as “stunning.” He is a founding creator and the pianist for Operation Superpower, a superhero opera program for children.

About Alex Laing
Alex Laing is principal clarinet for the Phoenix Symphony, a post he has held since 2002. A long-time believer in community-engaged music making, he recently started The Leading Tone, a non-profit after school program. The project brings music to young people and explores teaching artistry and creative youth development. Alex is the recipient of the 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and was named one of Musical America's Professionals of the Year for 2017. He is frequently sought as a collaborator and has performed with the Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall, the Gateways Festival Orchestra, the Recollective Orchestra, and many other ensembles. As a teacher he has been a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic's YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program, and a faculty member for both the National Youth Orchestra and the League of American Orchestras' Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar. He currently serves as lead faculty for the 2019-2020 YOLA National Institute and is on the board of directors for Gateways Music Festival and Arizona School for the Arts.

About From the Top
From the Top is an independent non-profit organization that supports, develops, and shares the artistic voices and stories of young classically-trained musicians. Through its primary platform, a weekly one-hour NPR radio broadcast, and nationally-recognized arts leadership programs, From the Top amplifies the hope, passion, and discipline of today's extraordinary young musicians.

From the Top provides young musicians with live performance opportunities in premier concert venues across the country, national exposure to nearly half a million listeners on its weekly NPR show, leadership and community engagement preparation, and more than $3 million in scholarships since 2005.

From the Top's programs are made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts, a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, generous contributions from individuals and institutions, and partnerships with radio stations nationwide.

Learn more at

About Interlochen Arts Academy
Interlochen Arts Academy is the nation's premier fine arts boarding high school, where emerging artists from around the world transform passion and potential into purpose. Guided by distinguished artists, students pursue pre-professional training in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, creative writing, and film alongside a robust academic curriculum, preparing them to excel in the arts and beyond. Nestled in scenic northwest Michigan, the Academy has been a leader in arts education since 1962 and has produced 46 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, more than any other high school in the country. To learn more, visit Follow Interlochen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at @interlochenarts.

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