NP’s Dillon Scott on NPR’s podcast ‘From The Top’ this week


Dillon Scott

North Penn student Dillon Scott performs on NPR’s podcase ‘From the Top’ the week of January 3 2022, playing the viola.

Not many North Penn students have had the opportunity to be recognized on the national stage but violist Dillon Scott has… multiple times.

This week, Scott is being featured on NPR’s musical podcast From the Top hosted by pianist Peter Dugan. Scott is performing Sonata in E-Flat, Op. 120, No. 2, Mvmt 2 by Johannes Brahms on the viola. Listen to his performance here and the whole podcast here.

“I heard about the show through the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra,” Scott said. “They sent out a bunch of competitions, outreach things, applications for certain things whether it be summer programs or things like this too. It was one of the many things I got two summers ago and I instantly thought it would be very cool. I applied in the fall of last year and it took 6 months to hear back from the organization.”

Scott is currently the principal violist of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra(PYO) which is an organization for young musicians to further their advanced training under renowned instructors. He has participated in multiple events and performances from opportunities from the PYO, including the SPHINX competition where he placed 3rd last year.  

“It was a huge application process and there were a lot of pieces to upload and a lot of essays to write and things like that but when I heard back I was really excited,” Scott said but discovered the process would be a lot longer than he expected. “But then it took another 8 months to get a show because they have to piece together all of these kids from around the country and put them together in shows that have contrasting repertoire, contrasting ages, contrasting instruments, and preferably in a location near us. That process took months.”

Once he received his recording date, Scott participated in a virtual lab fellowship with people from the industry giving lectures about what it’s like as well as people from the recording industry, having workshops and giving inside details. At the end of the fellowship, all of the work the performers did went towards creating a virtual performance for the Children’s Hospital of Colorado.

“All of us had to put our heads together, create a program of music, what we were going to learn, how we were going to present it to the kids and then we gave a virtual performance live through Seacrest studios,” Scott explained. “It was really fun because we had to pick a piece that would have been accessible to kids and how to present it to kids and make it interesting and that was something that I’ve never had to do.”

After all of that, Scott finally got to record in Philadelphia on December 17 accompanied by Dugan on the piano. 

I felt like they were swarming around me like sharks and so It was actually really fun because I had to be focusing on him, or else I would have been distracted by everyone else.

— Dillon Scott

“There were like seven to ten people in the studio whether it be sound engineers or producers who were just listening to the music trying to figure out what I could be doing better or what he could be doing better,” Scott reflected. “I felt like they were swarming around me like sharks and so It was actually really fun because I had to be focusing on him, or else I would have been distracted by everyone else.”

Because he was playing in a studio and not as a performance, Scott was able to face Dugan instead of playing faced away from him, which is what he normally does in performances because of how the viola is designed to project sound.  

“We’d look up sometimes and make eye contact and I’ve never had the opportunity to do that,” Scott said. 

Although opportunities like this are exciting for Scott and he enjoys participating in them, he is trying to focus more on his future in these next couple of months, working on his college repertoire and figuring out who he plans to study with after graduating high school.

“I would love to live a lifestyle where I travel around the world and collaborate with other artists. In this ideal career, I hope to do work as a chamber musician as well as a soloist which will allow me to be immersed in the cultures of others and learn more about how art connects us all,” Scott finished. 

For more on Scott’s story, check out Knight Crier story “Dillon Scott refuses to let Covid draw boundaries in musical pursuits.” featuring his background with the viola and his musical journey.

Make sure to follow Scott’s Instagram account to see more of his work at @dill_onviola and listen to his segment on From the Top before the end of the week!