Classical Teens Reach 700,000 Listeners

How did two high school students from Colorado set themselves up to have their music heard by 700,000 listeners in a single day?

Ask Emily Switzer, violin, and Bryan Dunnewald, organ. These two 17-year-old juniors were both chosen to perform with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” weekly classical music program.

Emily grew up in a family of musicians. Both parents are members of the CSO, which in itself has provided both advantages and challenges. Emily worked hard to gain the role of concertmaster for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, but she also proved herself to be a gifted violinist, as well as a strong academic student with many interests, at Kent Denver School.

Bryan started out on piano at age four but found the inner workings of the organ so fascinating that he started organ lessons at nine. He spent the summer between freshman and sophomore years of high school studying organ at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and became a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy for the remainder of high school. Bryan, now a student at Curtis Institute of Music, aspires to perform as well as to build organs, and has played almost 100 organs around the US in his role as a database contributor and photographer for the Organ Historical Society. He also managed to gain his Eagle Scout status in his “spare” time.

Listen to Bryan and Emily, both wise beyond their years, as they share their thoughts on the challenges musicians encounter at any age, including: auditions, performance anxiety, and balancing a heavy practice schedule with other commitments.


  1. Laurie Albright

    The interviews with Bryan and Emily are incredible. Both of these young people have insights that will ensure their success in their chosen careers. Thank you for creating these two videos and inspiring the rest of us.

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