Christopher O’Riley is one of those pianists who just brightens up classical music, along with your day. You may know him as the amusing, engaging host of NPR’s From the Top, a show featuring new and exciting young musicians. Or you might have attended one of his many concerts that mix music with plenty of informative anecdotes. O’Riley, who can’t sit still with just the classics, had his horizons widened in his youth by a stint at the New England Conservatory of Music, headed by classical and jazz scholar Gunther Schuller. His first recording of Radiohead transcriptions, True Love Wall, won four stars from picky Rolling Stone, and you can hear his newest CD, Home to Oblivion: An Elliott Smith Tribute, on iTunes. This week, O’Riley performs on a “Vintage Evening at the Ford,” where he infuses new energy into Schumann’s witty, tricky Carnaval; Rachmaninoff’s demanding Etudes-Tableaux; and Shostakovich’s Preludes and Fugues, which were inspired by Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. JOHN ANSON FORD AMPHITHEATER, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Sun., Aug. 20, 7 p.m.; $25, $12 students & children. (323) 461-3673 or www.fordamphitheatre.org.
—Mary Beth Crain