View From The Top: National Public Radio

For two Andover students, Rainer Crosett ’10 and Clare Monfredo ’09, being featured performers on National Public Radio (NPR)—one of America’s most reputable radio broadcasts—is an accomplishment they can now add to their already impressive resumés. Crosett and Monfredo were both students at the Heifetz Institute in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire this past summer. As a result of attending this prestigious program, they were presented with the exciting opportunity to perform on NPR’s popular weekly radio program “From the Top.” This show features the talents of the nation’s most accomplished young classical musicians, a prominent pantheon of which Crosett and Monfredo are now members. The program, which was recorded in Brewster Academy’s Anderson Hall in July during the seven-week camp session, aired October 22 on NPR to a national audience and is now posted on NPR’s website for a potential international audience. Monfredo, whose From the Top performance was her first radio broadcast, wrote in an email to The Phillipian: “The people on the show were really supportive and were really good at making what could be a very stressful experience fun.” Monfredo contributed the cello component to the exciting and fast-paced first movement of Schumann’s Piano Quintet, op. 44, collaborating with From the Top’s host and renowned concert musician Christopher O’Riley playing piano. On his radio program, before each piece is performed, O’Riley interviews each performer individually, which provides a personalized prelude to the music. This provides the audience with an honest and often humorous look at just who these serious performers are at heart: kids. Both Monfredo and Crosett commented on their experiences with music at Phillips Academy. Crosett, who is a day student from North Andover, chatted with O’Riley about both the musical and academic facets of his life, drawing on an anecdote about an anonymous Andover math teacher who routinely gave his students two-hour exams during 45-minute periods. Crosett also revealed his culinary niche during the interview. He said, “I love the Food Network…oh, I love Paula [Dean],” he said, drawing many laughs from the studio audience, the majority of which was comprised of his campmates from Heifetz. “It was great playing in the show at the camp because you had a whole group of your friends that were there to support you,” wrote Monfredo in an email to The Phillipian. According to Monfredo, the From the Top executives “wanted to end with the Schumann piano quintet anyway, so they just selected some kids from the camp to form the group.” Crosett opened the program with a lovely piano-cello duet by Gaspar Cassado entitled “Requierbos,” which is Spanish for “love songs.” Following a delicate piano interlude from O’Riley, the warm unmistakable sound of Crosett’s cello was broadcast across the airways and (perhaps) into the hearts of young ladies around the world. As his light, airy notes at the beginning of the piece took flight into a sensory swell of romanticism, the hairs on the back of listeners’ necks tingled with delight. Furthermore, Crosett’s trills and quasi-improvisational component to “Requierbros” truly exemplified his exceptional musical abilities.