Acclaimed for his engaging and deeply committed performances, the pianist Christopher O’Riley is known to millions as the host of NPR’s From the Top. Now in his fifteenth year on air, O’Riley introduces the next generation of classical-music stars to almost a million listeners each week. He performs around the world and has garnered widespread praise for his untiring efforts to reach new audiences.
Christopher O’Riley has performed as a soloist with virtually all of the major American orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, and San Francisco Symphony. He led the Academy of St Martin in the Fields on a two-week tour of ten American cities performing concertos by Bach, Mozart, and Liszt. He also performed Górecki and Michael Daugherty’s Le Tombeau de Liberace in a series of concerts with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and toured throughout the United Kingdom with the Moscow Philharmonic. He has worked with such renowned conductors as Alan Gilbert, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Neeme Järvi, Marin Alsop, Semyon Bychkov, Hugh Wolff, and many others. In addition, O’Riley has performed recitals throughout North America, Europe, and Australia.
Living by the Duke Ellington adage “There are only two kinds of music, good music and bad,” O’Riley – a proponent of the former in all of its guises – has received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and an equally coveted four-star review from Rolling Stone magazine. O’Riley strives to introduce new audiences to classical music with an almost missionary zeal by performing piano arrangements of music by Radiohead, Elliott Smith, Pink Floyd, and Nirvana alongside traditional classical repertoire. He has collaborated for many years with the flutist Sir James Galway and cellists Matt Haimovitz and Carter Brey. He has performed recitals featuring these arrangements at such diverse venues as the Istanbul Jazz Festival, Highline Ballroom (NYC), the Knitting Factory (LA), and South by Southwest (Austin, TX).
Photo by: Jordana Wright