The creative, clever and talented Charles Yang takes on hosting the celebrated NPR radio showcase ‘From The Top’ at the Vilar
If you go ...
What: NPR’s “From the Top” hosted by Charles Yang.
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
Cost: $68 for adults, $10 for students.
Tickets: www.vilarpac.org, 970-845-8497.
A Juilliard School graduate, Charles Yang is recipient of the 2018 Leonard Bernstein Award and has been described by the Boston Globe as one who “plays classical violin with the charisma of a rock star.” Yang will, for the first time, host the upcoming recorded-for-broadcast National Public Radio showcase tonight at 7 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
For this appearance, Yang will be joined by pianist and co-host Peter Dugan. Audience members will enjoy the live show which is then broadcast on over 200 stations nationwide to an audience of nearly half a million listeners. The Boston Globe calls “From the Top,” “entertaining, accessible and inspirational.”
Single tickets for the show are $10 for students and $68 for adults. They are available now by calling 970-845-8497 or visiting http://www.vilarpac.org.
The VPAC staff recently had time to catch Yang for an interview about the upcoming program:
VPAC: Looking forward to your first hosting gig of “From The Top,” what are you most excited or nervous about?
Yang: FTT holds a special part of my musical life. I grew up listening to the program and still remember how excited I was when I appeared on the show. Now I get to host it which I’m sure will give the same excitement as it did the first time I played on the show as a young kid.
VPAC: Being a FTT alum, how do you feel the program helps future performers?
Yang: FTT is a family. I’ve grown with the program as much as it has grown with my musical endeavors. I’ve learned so much from other FTT alums when I first started out, and still to this day collaborate and learn from my colleagues who were once on the show. FTT is such a supportive community with so many different musicians, stories and careers that it is an invaluable resource to any performer who has listened to the program or has been on it.
VPAC: You’ve established your own career as a violinist — congrats on the 2018 Leonard Bernstein Award. What brought you back to FTT?
Yang: Thank you. FTT is a major component to my career today. When I was starting out, the show gave me a stage to express my talents as a young violinist and also encouraged my curiosity into other musical genres. The Leonard Bernstein Award that I received was, in some ways, awarded to me for my crazy creative endeavors and I thank FTT for being one of the programs that helped mold me into the musician I am today. I am forever grateful for my upbringing with FTT and I will always be a supporter to a program that supports the talents and curiosities of the next generation of young musicians.
VPAC: When you meet the kids, what’s the first thing you tell them?
Yang: That I’m so excited and honored to work with them, but no they can’t steal my slice of pizza at the pizza party, there is plenty to go around.
VPAC: FTT aside, what’s your favorite NPR program?
Yang: Kind of a different side of NPR, but I love the “Tiny Desk Concerts.” I’ve discovered so many great artists from those shows.
VPAC: I see you’ve played in The Aspen Music Festival, The Crested Butte Music Festival — ever been to the Vail Valley?
Yang: I’ve only passed through Vail so this will be my first time exploring the Vail Valley, which I’ve heard so many great things about.
VPAC: Will you be hitting the slopes?
Yang: I wish. First, I’m from Texas so my skiing skills are below average. Also, knowing me, I’d probably break every bone in my body before the show, so if I do hit the slopes it would be after the show.
VPAC: You’ve collaborated with artists including Steve Miller, Misty Copeland and Jon Batiste — any collaborations that have meant the most to you?
Yang: I always learn something from any collaboration that I do, so in a way they are all meaningful to me.
VPAC: Why would you encourage guests to attend a FTT performance? Anything they might not expect to walk away thinking or feeling?
Yang: FTT shows are filled to the brim with inspiration. It’s impossible to walk out of a FTT show without feeling inspired. It’s pure magic to hear these great young musicians masterfully perform on their instruments and to then be able to learn about who they are and how they got where they are today is truly an engaging experience.
VPAC: The performance will feature a violin, flute, erhu, guitar and piano player. What can you tell us about the erhu?
Yang: Super exited to hear the erhu on this show. The erhu is sometimes referred to here in the West as the Chinese violin. It shares similar roles as a solo instrument as well as an ensemble instrument in the East with the roles of a violin in Western music. You will hear an amazing young erhuist on the show as well as an amazing young violinist on the same program. Very excited to hear that.
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