From The Top: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Jun 30, 2021

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


It's been said that our young people are the hope of our future. If that's true, the future of classical music looks blazingly bright, judging from these extraordinary performances by the young musicians in this triple-play Tiny Desk (home) concert.

Teenagers from three locales around the country – Chicago, St. Louis and Palo Alto, Calif. – invite us into their homes for fresh takes on vintage classics, contemporary sounds and sophisticated pop arrangements. They are all alums of From the Top, the radio program (distributed by NPR) that spotlights today's terrific young players.

Ifetayo Ali-Landing, an outstanding 18-year-old cellist from Chicago starts us off. She's already performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and given her own TEDx talk. One of her calling cards is this propulsive performance of "Evergreen," a pop song by Yebba, arranged for solo cello.

Pairing up in Palo Alto, the Davisson Guitar Duo features Jack, 16, and his sister Elle, 13. Their signature piece is the rhythmically driven Jongo, which offers flavors from composer Paulo Bellinati's native Brazil. The siblings finish each other's musical phrases with startling lyrical precision.

Seventh-grader Jerry Chang, clad in his comfy exercise shorts, closes this cross-country Tiny Desk from home, playing Schubert's G-flat major Impromptu like someone twice his age. The gentle, rippling effects he gets from his still-growing 13-year-old hands, and the way he makes Schubert's wistful melody sing, is astonishing.

These Tiny Desk performances alone are proof enough that classical music in America is alive and in very talented hands.

SET LIST

  • Yebba: "Evergreen" (arr. Charles Yang)
  • Paulo Bellinati: Jongo
  • Franz Schubert: "Impromptu Op. 90, No. 3"

MUSICIANS

  • Ifetayo Ali-Landing: cello
  • Jack Davisson: guitar
  • Elle Davisson: guitar
  • Jerry Chang: piano

CREDITS

  • Audio: John Escobar
  • Video: Mike Grittani, Omid Zoufonoun, Dexx Broughton, Shaun Hautly

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Tom Huizenga
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Gabrielle Pierre
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
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