A couple of days ago, word got out that O''Riley wouldn't be hosting the show any longer. My assumption was that he had decided to give up the program, but that is not the case.
From O'Riley's Facebook page, he writes: I was informed by incoming From the Top Executive Director, Gretchen Nielsen, a little over a month ago that this upcoming season would be my last as Host of From the Top. I was further apprised that my usual 16-episode season would be instead a contract of 5 episodes' duration, the remainder presumably to be made up partially by Guest Hosts. In subsequent talks, this was generously raised to 6 shows before my tenure would be over, January 2019. After my last counter and a subsequent phone conversation, I have just been informed they will no longer be pursuing any contract at all with me.
I am grateful to the 1,000s of young musicians with whom it's been my privilege to collaborate, and whose performances and personalities will remain with me as life-enhancing events and indelible learning experiences.
I am grateful to their parents and teachers who steadfastly help them in the everyday evolution of their artistry, the honor and presentation of which they for 18 years entrusted me to bless the broadcast world.
I am grateful to the stations who carried the show out of fervent, omnipresent zeal for the inherent greatness of This Music and the impassioned and inspired advocacy of its next generation.
I am grateful to the listeners who were friends and fans to all of us.
The press release issued by From the Top reads, in part, as follows:
From the Top announced today that the organization will not be renewing host Christopher O’Riley’s contract for the 2018–2019 season. O’Riley, who has hosted From the Top for nearly 20 years, made his last recording on June 5, 2018.
“Chris has been dedicated to From the Top’s mission from the beginning,” said Gretchen Nielsen, Executive Director of From the Top. “We are grateful for his commitment to showcasing outstanding young musicians, and for the impact he’s made on America’s musical landscape. We wish him all the best with his future projects.”
Beginning September 9, From the Top will welcome a series of guest hosts, including alumni of the program, to interview and accompany the young musicians who are featured. The first such host will be From the Top alumni pianist Peter Dugan. Dugan appeared on From the Top Show 158 in April 2007, at the age of 18. Over the last 11 years, he’s appeared as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America and abroad.
“As From the Top enters its third decade, we are thrilled to be working with talented alumni as guest hosts and co-hosts,” said Nielsen. “These new voices and perspectives will help us expand our efforts to support and showcase America’s best young artists, inspiring audiences on public radio and beyond.”
Thank you for your support and for being a listener.