Christopher O'Riley

Host, From the Top

As host of From the Top, O'Riley works and performs with the next generation of brilliant young musicians, demonstrating to audiences, with humor and a lack of pretension, that these young artists are no different than any other child. In 2007, his successful run as host of From the Top was marked by the debut of the PBS television series From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall.

An interpreter and arranger of some of the most important contemporary rock music of our time, O'Riley lives by the Duke Ellington adage, "there are only two kinds of music, good music and bad." His first recording of Radiohead transcriptions, True Love Waits (Sony/Odyssey) was as critically acclaimed as it was commercially successful. His second set entitled Hold Me to This: Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead, was released on World Village/Harmonia Mundi in the Spring of 2005. In 2006, he released his third set of transcriptions Home to Oblivion; An Elliott Smith Tribute. His most recent CD, Second Grace: Music of Nick Drake, interprets the work of singer/songwriter Nick Drake.

O'Riley has been honored with many awards at the Leeds, Van Cliburn, Busoni and Montreal competitions, as well as an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He toured the U.S. with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra playing Bach, Mozart and Lizst concerti, and has recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

O'Riley has developed programs with fellow pianists: Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos, with the jazz pianist Fred Hersch; and Los Tangueros, with Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler, a program of two-piano arrangements of Astor Piazzolla's classic tangos. Next season he will play a series of recitals that intertwine his own piano transcriptions with classical compositions. These will debut at Columbia University's Miller Theatre and feature Claude Debussy/Nick Drake; Robert Schumann/Elliott Smith and Dimitri Shostakovich/Radiohead.

O'Riley studied with Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music, and splits his time between Los Angeles and Ohio.

Christopher O'Riley appears in the following:

In Studio: Christopher O’Riley and Matt Haimovitz

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The new project from pianist Christopher O’Riley and cellist Matt Haimovitz is called “Shuffle.Play.Listen.” If you interpret that title as an edict for listening to the album on your iPod, you might be surprised at how well works by Janacek and Stravinsky mingle with Arcade Fire and Blonde Redhead covers. They join us in the studio to play live.

Comments [1]

Christopher O'Riley

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pianist Christopher O'Riley isn't waiting for the rock generation to "age" into classical music. His classical piano versions of songs by Radiohead and other rockers are luring younger fans to the concert hall. O’Riley joins us to play Debussy and Nick Drake, live in our studio.

Comments [3]

Sonic Sticker Shock

Thursday, April 16, 2009

iTunes is charging more for brand-new hits and exclusives from artists like Depeche Mode. But in China, music labels are giving millions of songs away for free through Google. Today: disparity in music pricing. Also: pianist Christopher O'Riley is known for classical arrangements of Radiohead and other rock artists. He ...

Transcribing Radiohead

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Two years ago the classical pianist and public radio host Christopher O'Riley released a record of songs by the arty rock band Radiohead. It wasn't a stunt; O'Riley reveres the music of Radiohead. He took the group's big arena rock melodies and edgy harmonic textures and transcribed them for solo ...