A symphony for valentine’s day

Performers perform Chamber Music and Solo Concert on Sunday, Feb. 13

Harvard-Westlake (HW) Middle School Symphony performed during the Chamber Music Concert on Feb 13, showcasing their hard work and dedication. Performing arts teacher, Neli Nikolaeva conducted two small orchestra pieces – “My Funny Valentine” and “The Old Boatman”. Emily Reola, a performing arts teacher and seventh grade dean, conducted the Middle School Symphony’s final performance, “Piano Concerto” by Robert Schumann.

Reola expressed her joy and pride in having the opportunity to perform in person following two years of virtual performances.

“Honestly, my favorite part of the concert was just being able to have a concert,” Reola said. “My experience with this school year’s MS Symphony continues to be such a celebration of the return to live music. Seeing this concert come together on stage after two years was an incredible feeling. Every single ensemble and soloist performed beautifully that afternoon.”

Principal violist, Aviv Pilipski ’25, a member of the Beethoven String Quartet said he enjoyed playing his solo pieces in person as well as watching his fellow musicians perform after weeks of hard work and preparation.

“It was nice because it was my first time performing on stage performance for a live audience since the Covid restrictions have lessened,” Pilipski said. “I think the highlight of the concert in general was me being able to support my friends and their solos and also being engaged in an orchestral environment where we are featured as soloists.”

Reina Hewes ’25, the MS Symphony’s pianist, found the opportunity in playing with a large orchestra a valuable experience.

“It was a great experience being able to play with an orchestra as it is not common for a lot of people, and I was very grateful for the opportunity,” Hewes said. “Getting to see all the other people perform would be the highlight of the concert since there were many great musical performances.”

Robby Louie ’26 said that he found the performance with his chamber group enjoyable. He believed the time dedicated to practicing individually and as a group worthwhile.

“I knew that all of our rehearsing together and my practicing individually would pay off, and so I became excited. It was fun to show the audience everything that we had been working hard on,” Louie said. “My highlight of the concert was performing our chamber piece because it was a neat experience to play with other musicians who are all so talented.”

Eric Lee ’25, the principal oboist, who played in the Woodwind Septet said that performing in the concert was a noteworthy accomplishment.

“It’s one of the greatest experiences that somebody can ever have and I really enjoyed that day where everybody got together and played music. There’s a lot to get from music and harmony,” Lee said. “After the concert, many performances, especially the final song went very well, and I was overall just very satisfied with the performance.”