15-Year-Old Organist Michael Jon Bennett Featured on NPR's FROM THE TOP
15-year-old organist Michael Jon Bennett from New York City will appear on an upcoming episode of From the Top, the hit NPR radio program featuring America's best young classical musicians and hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley. Broadcast from Costa Mesa, California, the show will air nationally and online the week of February 3 and on WQXR on February 8 at 6:00 AM The episode was taped before a live audience at the Segerstrom Concert Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Michael Jon Bennett (organ), 15, currently studies organ performance, organ improvisation, piano performance, and musical composition. His teachers include Peter Richard Conte, Grand Court Organist for the Wanamaker Organ, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raymond Nagem of Juilliard for organ; Dorothy Papadakos, former organist for Saint John the Divine Cathedral in New York City for organ improvisation; Dr. Ernest Barretta of Juilliard for piano performance and Dr. Andrew Thomas of Juilliard for composition. He is currently studying at the Juilliard Pre-College Division in New York City. Michael is home-schooled and enjoys opera, conducting, and participating in his church.
On the show Michael performs Praeludium in G minor by Dietrich Buxtehude. Also on the broadcast: KUSC Local Vocals High School Choir Sing-off winners, La Cañada High School Chamber Singers, perform "With a Lily In Your Hand" by Eric Whitacre; 14-year-old pianist Anna Boonyannit from Redwood City, California, performs the second movement, Chez Pétrouchka, from Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka by Igor Stravinsky; 16-year-old flutist Ramakrishnan Kumaran, from Hemet, California, and From the Top alum and Pacific Symphony principal flute player Ben Smolen perform the Rondo from Andante et Rondo, Op. 25, by Franz Doppler, accompanied by Christopher O'Riley; 16-year-old cellist Ila Shon from San Francisco, California, performs the third movement, Andante, from the Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 19, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, accompanied by Christopher O'Riley; and the Idyllwild Arts Academy Piano Trio performs the third movement, Presto, from Café Music by Paul Schoenfield. The trio's members are all currently studying at Idyllwild Arts Academy: Yu-Ming "Andrew" Ma, violin, a junior from Taiwan; Wei-An Hung, cello, a senior from Taiwan; and Vuthithorn "In" Chinthammit, piano, a senior from Bangkok.
For the past decade, From the Top has been the preeminent showcase for America's best young musicians. Through award-winning NPR and PBS programs, online media, a national tour of live events, and education programs, From the Top shares the stories and performances of pre-collegiate musicians with millions each week.
From the Top is made possible by support from US Trust and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. It is also supported through the generous contributions of individuals and institutions as well as public radio stations.
From the Top on NPR is produced in association with WGBH Radio Boston and New England Conservatory of Music, its home and education partner.