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Young Soloists Take the Stage With the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic

January 7, 2020

The Thousand Oaks Philharmonic (TOP) opens its 20th season this weekend, sticking to the mission of its first concert in 2001 and more than 50 concerts since: to showcase young musical talent in Ventura County and beyond.

“Opus 56” — TOP marks its concerts in the spirit of the composers on the program — showcases eight budding musicians from the Los Angeles area, from elementary school students to high school seniors. On the program: concerto movements, from Mozart and Haydn to a daunting snippet of Rachmaninoff.

Pianists make up most of the program, though 16-year-old violist Vibiana Cardenas opens the soloist portion of the concert with a movement from Carl Stamitz’s Viola Concerto. In fact, many of the pianists themselves play another instrument; fifth-grader Eric Zhang plays clarinet, and sixth-grader Lori Qian studies violin and is also an avid dancer. With the orchestra, Zhang soloes in the first movement from Mozart’s final piano concerto, and Qian plays the Vivace from Haydn’s Keyboard Concerto No. 11.

Several of the young musicians are making return appearances. 13-year-old pianist Charles Berryhill plays a movement of Mozart, 10-year-old violinist Aidan Fu takes on the opening movement of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole, and high school sophomore Peter Glass soloes in the first movement from Bach’s D Minor Concerto, BWV 1052, originally for harpsichord. All three have performed with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic before.

Big, ambitious works close out each half of the concert. High school senior Bryson de Ruyter tackles the opening movement of Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto, and 15-year-old Richard Hoffman plays the gargantuan first movement from Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto.

TOP Music Director John Roscigno conducts, leading the orchestra in a short opener, Elgar’s Salut d’Amour. Tickets for the first performance, Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Camarillo, can be found here; tickets for the second performance, Jan. 12 at 2:30 p.m. in Thousand Oaks, here. And the season continues with two more programs, in April and June, featuring 15 more budding musicians from around the area.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].