Actor and conductor Damon Gupton will host NPR's 'From the Top'

From the Top, the nationwide program distributed by NPR that showcases young, classically-trained musicians, has named actor and conductor Damon Gupton as guest host during the recording of a new broadcast at Interlochen Center for the Arts on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

A native of Detroit, Gupton is known for appearing in such TV series as Criminal Minds, Bates Motel, and Black Lightning, as well as films like La La Land and Whiplash, and numerous performances on Broadway. He holds a degree in Drama from the Juilliard School.

His conducting career is just as impressive, having earned a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Michigan, as well as studying under David Zinman and Murry Sidlin at the Aspen Music Festival and with Leonard Slatkin at the National Conducting Institute in Washington, D.C. He has made conducting appearances with the Detroit Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Sphinx Symphony and Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, among others, and has earned numerous conducting awards and accolades.

This is From the Top’s seventh recording at Interlochen Arts Academy. Nearly 300 students from Interlochen’s Arts Academy and Arts Camp have been featured on the popular showcase since the show’s inception in 2000.

Broadcast on more than 220 stations nationwide to an audience of nearly half a million listeners, From the Top is the most popular weekly one-hour music program on public radio. Young performers share their passion for classical music and speak about their non-musical lives, from career goals and family to hidden talents, school, and community life. From the Top appeals to diverse audiences, but is especially suited for ages 7 and up.

From the Top is heard every Saturday at 5 p.m. on Interlochen Public Radio’s Classical IPR. This program will feature current and former students of Interlochen Arts Academy, including the Interlochen Orchestra, conducted by Damon Gupton and Dr. Leslie B. Dunner. Pianist Michelle Cann will join as co-host/collaborative pianist.

The program will include:

  • Cellist Esther Chae, current Arts Academy student from Miami, Florida, performing Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso” with pianist Michelle Cann.
  • Tuba player JunMing Wen, winner of Interlochen’s Concerto Competition, from GuangZhou, China, performing the first movement of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Tuba Concerto with Dr. Leslie B. Dunner and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.
  • Interlochen Arts Academy Percussion Ensemble members Anne Hayes, Eli Reisz, Abigail Dellovade, Jaelyn Quiliizapa, Ruyi Yuan, Sophia Bondi, and Ava Machado performing “Shared Space” by Ivan Trevino.
  • Damon Gupton conducting the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra on selections from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Op. 20
  • Bassoonist Luis Marquez Teruel, current Arts Academy student from Maracaibo, Venezuela, a previous recipient of From the Top’s Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and 2018 winner of Interlochen’s Concerto Competition, performing II. Allegro scherzando from the Sonata for Bassoon and Piano by Camille Saint-Saëns, with Michelle Cann on piano.

The Interlochen Arts Academy Percussion Ensemble’s appearance is supported by Associated Chamber Music Players (ACMP).

This episode of From the Top will air on participating stations and by podcast during the week of April 22, 2019.