Sixteen-year-old Jordan Farber admits that when he volunteered to learn the bassoon four years ago, he had no idea what it was.
He was just tired of playing clarinet.
“I asked to switch to bassoon and my band teacher lit up like a Christmas tree,” remembers the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts student. “The bassoon is an instrument that not a lot of people play, so to have someone willing to pick it up is exciting.”
Little did he know this random transition would spark an obsession, with Farber riled by the challenge of conquering the old-world instrument and its unwieldly double reed.
Farber’s quick mastering of the bassoon led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He was one of 33 Southern Nevada teenagers recruited to audition in October for “From the Top,” NPR’s national radio show featuring the most talented teen musicians across the U.S.
Recording live for the first time ever in Las Vegas on February 25 at The Smith Center, the show will highlight just a fraction of the teens who auditioned.
Performing and sharing his story to the show’s producers was an experience Farber will never forget.
“This is a really big deal for young musicians in Las Vegas,” he says. “For something like this to come to our city is amazing.”
National Show Comes to Vegas
With tickets open to the public, Southern Nevada audiences will enjoy such inspiring and amusing stories from young musicians like Farber when “From the Top” records live at The Smith Center.
NPR’s most popular weekly music program on public radio, the show will feature five segments of performances and interviews with the nation’s top teenage classical musicians.
Two of these segments will showcase Las Vegas teen performers, who have yet to be announced.
“The show is a very unique, engaging and entertaining experience,” says Javier Caballero, the show’s scholarship and recruitment manager. “The high level of students who are featured are the best from across the country. The skill level is breathtaking.”
Performances are only half the show, Caballero emphasizes.
Each segment highlights the stories and personalities of the young musicians, diving into humorous and heart-warming accounts of their musical journeys.
“Some share their wit and humor, others share moving and emotional experiences,” Caballero says. “It’s really a multi-dimensional experience of not only being wowed by their talent, but also being moved by their amazing stories.”
Talented Beyond Their Years
Caballero, who recruits teen performers across the U.S., was amazed by the talent he witnessed at the Las Vegas auditions.
“I know of Las Vegas as the entertainment capitol of the world,” he says. “I was not expecting the classical music talent to be as vibrant as we found it.”
Las Vegas audiences won’t just see their community’s youth shine on stage, he adds.
They will also be invited to participate in interactive games, and will enjoy the experience of being present for the recording of a live radio show.
“We really do try to engage the audience,” Caballero says. “It can be a very interactive experience.”
Go See It
NPR’s “From the Top” runs at The Smith Center on February 25, 2018.
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