Reno Teen Prodigy Performing On NPR's From The Top

Sep 7, 2017

Reno violinist Oliver Leitner, 17, has won numerous regional awards for his craft and is now expanding his reach to a national audience with a performance on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley. He spoke with KUNR host Danna O’Connor about how he made the cut and what he’ll be playing. The event is on Sunday at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts and it’s a live taping of the program. Learn more here.

Violinist Oliver Leitner performs in the KUNR studios.
Credit Danna O'Connor

Leitner will be performing with a handful of other teen prodigies for the event. He’ll start with the first movement of Beethoven’s Eighth Violin Sonata in G major, which he describes as a very bubbly and jubilant piece. For the ending, he’ll play the last movement of Ravel’s Second Violin Sonata, also in G major.

“[It’s] a really, really fast, virtuosic, short 4-minute movement with all types of beautiful textures within it. It’s not just a show piece; it’s really complex, which is what I like about it,” Leitner explains.

Along with playing the violin, Leitner is a student at the Davidson Academy interested in engineering, specifically projects focused on renewable energy. For him, his approach to music has informed his scientific endeavors. 

Leitner and KUNR General Manager David Stipech hanging out in front of our station signage.

“In the practice room, music helps me figure out a way to systematically study something. In the practice room, you have to be very dedicated and razor-focused to get something done. I would say in my academics, and science as well, that might build a little bit of perseverance or a systemic approach to what you’re doing.”

Broadcast on more than 200 stations nationwide to an audience of nearly half a million listeners, NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley is the most popular weekly one-hour music program on public radio. The live show is two hours of music and fun with Host Christopher O’Riley and the area’s classically-trained young musicians who have auditioned and have been selected to participate in the show.