BC grad takes it ‘From the Top’
Bethlehem Central High School graduate Eric Segerstrom will appear on a national broadcast of "From the Top" on NPR this Saturday, Oct. 8, at 5 p.m. Eric, 18, graduated from BCHS in June and moved on to the Juilliard School this September.
"From the Top" is hosted by acclaimed pianist Christopher O'Riley and is billed as the "preeminent showcase for America's best young classical musicians." The episode featuring Eric was taped at Caramoor in Katonah in late June and will be aired locally on WMHT (89.1 FM). Eric performed "Allegro Con Fuoco from Concerto for Marimba String Orchestra" by Eric Ewazen.
A longtime fan of the show, Eric said the experience was a "surreal" one.
"I listened to that show for years while I was growing up, because my mom was always playing NPR in our house." he said.
"Perhaps the most unique thing about this piece is that my teacher wrote it!" said Eric. "It was great to get feedback on my playing from the composer himself, as well as some very positive encouragement."
Eric said he had many fond memories of the show itself.
"It's hard to pick a favorite memory, as I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Meeting all of the staff and crewmembers the first day really set the mood for a weekend of rewarding fun. Getting to hear and meet so many other great performers was also a very welcome additional treat!" he said. "The least nervous I had ever been on stage was at the final performance. And I'm not sure why, either, as it was probably the largest audience I will ever play for (factoring in the radio). But I genuinely had fun performing and speaking."
Yoko Segerstrom, Eric's mother, echoed that sentiment.
"It was such a wonderful experience for not only Eric, but also me and my husband," she said. "Seeing how the show is made was an eye-opening experience. This episode of From the Top also features a cellist, a flute player, one string quartet group and a pianist. The sound engineers were very happy and excited about how the show came out. I hope everyone can tune in on October 8 and enjoy the show."
While on the show, Eric also received Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, bestowed by "From the Top" and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The award is given annually to approximately 25 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians with financial need. In the past six years, "From the Top" and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have awarded more than $1.4 million to deserving young musicians.
Eric said he would encourage aspiring musicians in Bethlehem schools to follow their dreams.
"Go for it," he said. "As long as you have the passion and willpower to stick with it, I say go for it."
To hear Eric's composition "Where the Wild Things Are" click here [MP3].
To hear Eric's composition "Confusion and Ecstacy" click here [MP3].