I've mentioned it before but it's been a while. One of the PBS stations our cable system shows has a show called "From the Top at Carnegie Hall," featuring pianist Christopher O'Riley with young classical musicians, ages 11-17. Tonight's program had an 11-year-old cellist, a 17-year-old french horn player from a gang-infested neighborhood in Salinas (not one of the finer cities in Northern California), and a string quartet from Chicago playing an Astor Piazzola tango featuring lots of slides, pizzicato, and using the instruments as drums.
The players are simply marvelous, at least all the ones I've seen in the last year or so, and it makes me feel a bit more optimistic about the future of classical music. Apparently it still has the power to grab young people by the gut, as it did me so many years ago, and inspire them to do the hard work -- and it is hard work -- to achieve excellence.