Athena on the air

The Composer's Datebook from American Public Media
Friday, January 12, 2018

Like everyone else, young composers indulge in daydreams from time to time. One can easily imagine a 15-year-old composer wanna-be staring out the window and fantasizing that one day her music will be performed by big-name virtuosos and heard coast-to-coast on a national broadcast.

That is exactly what did happen on today’s date in 2002, when the 15-year-old composer Athena Adamopoulos heard Yo-Yo Ma and Christopher O’Riley perform her “Soliloquy” for cello and piano at a taping of “From the Top”—a nationally broadcast public radio program that showcases young classical musicians from around the country. Occasionally, the show also spotlights young composers as well, as it did the day Yo-Yo Ma stopped by as a special guest.

“When I heard the piece in my head originally,” commented Athena, “I heard it something like this, but this is about ten times better! It’s the most touching feeling in the world.”

Even at 15, Athena was already a somewhat “experienced” composer. She had written several other chamber works by that date, and had actually performed one of her very first pieces on the “Sally Jesse Raphael” TV show when she was just 8.