A Philharmonic Success: Student performs concert over summer

“It really felt good when people said you did a good job,” Akash Velu, junior, said, “because you felt like all your work actually paid off.”

Velu performed Mozart’s piano concerto in D minor with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic on July 17 and 19. A union of orchestra and soloist, the concerts were comprised of both violin and piano concerto pieces from classical to contemporary periods. To Akash, this was a culmination of his year-long preparation and 11-year piano study.

“[I’ve learned] better stage fear management,” Velu said. “It was the first time I enjoyed being on stage….I actually kind of wanted to stay on the stage.”

Each concert, conducted by Dr. John Roscigno, featured six adolescent performers from Greater Ventura County. Prior to the concerts, the soloists, including Velu, each had a sit-in with conductor Roscigno and two rehearsals with the orchestra.

“I played second, so the lead up to it was the most nervous part. Once I started playing I wasn’t nervous at all,” Velu said.

The first show was held on Friday evening at a Camarillo church; the second one was at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza’s Scherr Forum on Sunday afternoon.

“The Civic Arts Plaza was a lot more legitimate because you felt like it was an actual venue with seating and the stage, and it had good lighting and better acoustics,” Velu said. “I liked it more, personally.”

“I liked how everything was set up,” Amaan Kazi, junior, agreed. “I thought that the organization was the best part, and the entire thing was really well laid out.”

Kazi was part of a group of Velu’s family and school friends that watched his Sunday concert; it was the first time he saw him perform publicly. “It blew my mind….Akash was really concentrative (and) he approached it very well,” he said.

According to the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic’s website, the organization was founded in 2000 and has featured around 250 students in the past 15 years. Velu was glad to have been part of the experience. In May, he had predicted that he would most enjoy the final bow, but ended up having a different experience.

“My most memorable moment was probably right after the whole concert at the Civic Arts. Where there’s the receptionist area, everybody came to say I did a good job and (took) a lot of pictures,” he said.

To read his thoughts from spring, click here

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