A message from Ornela Ervin,

TOPHIL Appassionata program director.

Our students continue to share their music in our Musical Bagatelles program. They hope to brighten your days with their music selection and put a smile on your face.

December 19 2020

The Wang sisters Marisa and Jaylinn are playing a duet by Catherine Rollin titled: Parisian Waltz.

Enjoy the performance: HERE

December 29 2020

We hope that the New Year will be full of positive energy, great rhythm and exhilaration just like the Muczynski’s Toccata Op. 15 played by Appassionata student Eric Zhang.

We wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous new year filled with music and laughter!

Eric Zhang playing Toccata Op. 15, Muczynski.

Enjoy the performance: HERE

January 6 2021

We are offering French music.
Appassionata student Trinity Bliss will delight you playing Villageoises No. 1, 3, 4 and coda by Poulenc

Press: HERE

January 12 2021

We are continuing our series with:

Andante from Bach’s Sonata for Violin in A minor, BWV 1003, No. 2

by string Appassionata student, Aidan Fu.

Access: HERE

When asked  about his selection that he chose to share with us Aidan said:

“I love Bach’s music because it is so comforting. To me, it feels as if I’m coming back home. It feels so naturally written and it seems almost as if it was written as it went along. Bach is definitely someone with whom I love spending time, and try to do so as much as I can”

January 25 2021

Appassionata student Raymond Tan plays

Praeambulum from Partita No. 5 in G major, BWV 829 by Bach.

Raymond enjoys being part of the Appassionata program because he feels that piano is a solitary instrument and the Appassionata program offers him an opportunity to share his music interests with likeminded students.

Access the performance: HERE

February 11 2021

Appassionata student Mina Jung plays

Etude No. 5 in E major, “La Chasse” by Franz Liszt

The Liszt/ Paganini Etudes are a series of six Etudes based on the compositions of Niccolo Paganini for violin, and are among the most technically demanding pieces in the piano literature. Etude No. 5 is composed after the 9th caprice.

Hope you enjoy the flutes and horns announcing the beginning of a hunt, a popular pastime for royals and aristocrats at the time.

Access the performance: HERE

February 24 2021

Appassionata student Allison Laak plays

Etude in G Minor by Moszkowski 

Allison loves the thrilling energy of this fun etude and would like to wish her Appassionata fellow members a successful Certificate of Merit testing season.

Access the performance: HERE

March 3 2021

Our bagatelle series continues

Appassionata student Eric Zhang plays

Concert Etude No. 2 Gnomenreigen by Liszt 

 the Dance of the Gnomes.

The Etude is known for its technical difficulty in its fast and soft passages, where the pianist imitates the sound of gnomes.

Access the performance: HERE

March 10 2021

Appassionata student Michelle Qi plays

Bach Prelude in E major BWV 854 from the Well Tempered Clavier I.

Michelle loves the serenity of this prelude. She loves to hear the harmonies blossom as the chord progression slowly makes its way back to the final E major chord.

Michelle hopes her playing will bring everyone a sense of peace and calm as they listen to the prelude.

Access the performance: HERE

March 19 2021

String Appassionata student Roxana Niazi plays

Mozart Violin Concerto No 3 in G major, Allegro

Roxana hopes to very soon be able to play live concerts and dreams to one day play the Mozart violin concerto with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic.

She’d like to thank her teacher, Elise Goodman for continuing to inspire her towards excellence in music during the online lessons and she’d like to thank all her teachers and instructors that made teaching during the pandemic enjoyable and fun!

 Access the performance: HERE

April 12 2021

Appassionata student Benjamin Chung plays 

Gigue from the French Suite
No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 by J. S. Bach

Benjamin wanted to share this particular Gigue with TOPHIL supporters because the joy, energy and rhythm of this dance reflects how we all feel about getting closer to defeating the Covid 19 virus. 

Benjamin looks forward to playing the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 in the fall with the orchestra. 

Access the performance: HERE

April 23 2021

String Appassionata student Alan Wu plays

Tempo Di Minuetto by Fritz Kreisler

This minuet is well liked in  his family and Alan hopes to brighten everyone’s day with this cheerful Minuet by the great maestro Kreisler. 

Access the performance: HERE

May 2 2021

Appassionata Student Charles Berryhill plays

F. Chopin, Scherzo No. 3, Op. 39, in C♯ minor

The music educators and supporters of TOPHIL enjoy seeing the Appassionata students grow in stature but also as musicians as they start playing some of the staples of the concert repertoire.

The scherzo was written in the abandoned monastery of Valldemossa on the Balearic island of Majorca, Spain. This is the most terse, ironic and tightly constructed of the four scherzi, with an almost Beethoven grandeur.

Access the performance: HERE

May 17 2021

Eric Zhang plays

Prelude from Bach English Suite II in A minor, BWV 807

The Prelude in a suite precedes a series of dances in the same key and is based on the concept of the allegro of a concerto grosso.

Access the performance: HERE

May 23, 2021

Appassionata violin Student 

Evan Fu plays

Kreisler, La Gitana

As the weather is warming up and school is coming to an end the Appassionata students want to invite you to the shores of Spain with this fun piece: La Gitana (“The Gypsy” in Spanish). The music pulls us into the sunny, mystical world of Arabo-Spanish Gypsies, a group which migrated to the Iberian Peninsula from Northern India in the 15th century. Kreisler’s music is filled with the laid-back, sultry atmosphere and rhythms of Spain.

Access the performance: HERE


June 1 2021

The Appassionata students wish all of you a wonderful month! 

In 1875 Nikolay Bernard, editor of the music magazine Nouvellist, commissioned Tchaikovsky to write 12 short piano pieces, one for each month of the year, and suggested a subtitle for each month’s piece. This lovely Barcarolle, Tchaikovsky wrote for the June installment, was published with an evocative poem by Aleksey Pleshcheyev:

Let us go to the shore; there the waves will kiss our feet.

With mysterious sadness the stars will shine down on us.

Access the performance: HERE


July 9 2021

Appassionata student Charles Berryhill plays Prelude, Allemande and Gigue from
the English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807 by J.S. Bach.

Charles “serves” two masters by being a piano and a violin player and looks forward to his violin performance at the Opus 58 concert this coming November. He wishes all the patrons of TOPHIL a fantastic July, like the joyful, energetic and fun music of the dances of Bach of this suite.


July 27 2021

The Bagatelle series continues

Aidan Fu plays Wieniawski

Violin Concerto No.
2  in D minor, Op. 22, I. Allegro Moderato  

This concerto is generally considered Wieniawski’s finest work. Richly melodic and highly idiomatic the work balances the lements of style dispassionately and serenely. Wieniawski first played the work in St Petersburg on 27 November 1862 under the baton of Anton Rubinstein.

The second violin concerto remains one of the most popular violin concertos of the Romantic era, memorable for its lush and moving melodies and harmonies.

Aidan wants to take this opportunity to remind all the supporters of the TOPHIL to come to our Opus 57 concert on August 27th and 29th  

 Access the performance: HERE


August 10 2021

Former Appassionata students and Soloists

Bryson de Ruyter and Rebbeca Beerstein play

Salut d’Amour, Op. 12 by Edward Elgar. 

Bryson and Rebecca want to send love and many thanks to the patrons of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic for helping to fulfill the dreams of so many young artists.

The memories of playing with the TO PHIL will forever be cherished by the soloists.

Rebecca is majoring in violin at UCLA and Bryson is studying Collaborative  Arts and Computer science at Chapman university.

Both students hope to continue to be involved with the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic and are grateful for the many opportunities they had through the TO PHIL organization.

Access the performance: HERE


August 20 2021

Appassionata students Lori Qian and Chloe Wang play

Two duets by American composer, Catherine Rollin

“Russian Waltz“ and “Polka Party”.

Both young ladies have played with the TOPHIL before and are looking forward to more live performance opportunities. In the meantime, please enjoy the music they recorded for the supporters of the orchestra and their heartfelt message at the beginning of the video.

Access the performance: HERE


September 1 2021

Here is another musical number for our bagatelle series :

Former Appassionata students

Nick Amenta-Shin and Bryson
de Ruyter


“Alma del core” by Antonio Caldara.

This aria is from the opera -pastorale

“La constanza in amor vince l’inganno”

(Faithfulness in love defeats treachery”)

Here are the lyrics in English:

Soul of my heart,

Spirit of my soul,

Always constantly I will adore you!

I will be content

In my torment,

If I could kiss that beautiful lip.

Access the performance: HERE

The board of the TOPHIL wishes all our students a successful school year as they return to in person learning. We look forward to hear them perform live and delight the audiences with their music.


September 28, 2021

The TOPHIL began the season last Saturday with the Appassionata students playing a concerto marathon. It felt great to experience the adrenaline rush that comes from playing in front of the public. All precautions were observed to insure a safe first event. We look forward to having a fantastic season filled with the energy of this performance.

Third movement of the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Presto.

Played by Raymond Tan

accessible: HERE


October 10, 2021

It’s always a pleasure to have former students stop by to say hello. I am always happy to hear them talk about their college experiences, see them grow and know that the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic played a big role into their lives.

On a Sunday afternoon, my former student Bryson and I recorded this Mozart sonata that we used to play when Bryson was a student in high school. Bryson is now a sophomore at Chapman university studying computer science.

What a pleasure to still be making music together!

Mozart Sonata in D Major for 4 hands, KV 381

a piano duet Bryson de Ruyter and Ornela Ervin

Access the performance: HERE


November 15 2021

Our bagatelle series continues with Appassionata student

Eric Zhang playing

Toccata Op. 1, No. 4 by Evgeny Kissin.

Our students are so excited to safely go back to playing live concerts and recitals. Eric’s energetic performance reflects this mood so well. Enjoy!

  Access the performance: HERE


December 5, 2021 

The Bagatelle series continues with

Lori Qian playing 

Toccata Op. 54 by Jenö Takács

The Appassionata students are enjoying playing live again.

We hope that the velocity of this Toccata energizes all
our TOPHIL friends to continue their support for our young artists.

Access the performance: HERE 


If you enjoy the performances, please remember to continue your much needed support for the future of the arts. We truly appreciate it!