Refreshing Talent at Topanga Symphony Concert

Virtuoso violinist Aubree Oliverson. Photo courtesy Theatricum Botanicum

An extremely warm summer evening concert of the Topanga Symphony did not seem to faze virtuoso violinist Aubree Oliverson who dazzled the audience with a stunning performance of “Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26” by Max Bruch. The piece began with a timpani roll and upon hearing the first note of the soloist, a low and powerful open “G” string, the dramatic performance by Ms. Oliverson mesmerized her audience.

The beautiful 18-year-old demonstrated in exquisite detail why she has already won so many competitions. The animated style that she communicates, brilliantly running her fingers up and down the violin, is a sheer joy to watch and experience. As she performs, she engages in what can only be described as a dance that enhances the emotions she came to evoke to the classical music lovers in the audience.  

Oftentimes smiling as she played freely and with amazing ease, she musically spoke in emotions that were joyful, serious and playful. She engaged not only the audience, but communicated with the orchestra members and conductor as she swayed and moved to the music. Ms Oliverson naturally and with sophistication delivered a powerful and emotional performance to everyone in the room as they were held in awe and wonder of her talent.  

The Topanga Symphony under the direction of Jerome Kessler began the 36th season with Brahms’ “Tragic Overture, Op. 81.  As tragedy always begins with a shocking beginning, this piece does also.  Frantic at times, intermingled with sad melodies, the Topanga Symphony took the listener on the perilous journey through the stages of grief.  The orchestra cello section was led for the first time by Marshall McDaniel, a Topanga kid who grew up here, traveled and studied cello throughout the world and returned to Topanga to the pleasure and delight of all who are lucky to hear him perform.

Intermission brought the music lovers out into the cooler night air, under the starry sky and beautiful grounds of the Community Club. Conversations lingered about the amazing performance by Ms. Oliverson who graced the humble stage in our small town. A world-class performance backed up by talented Topanga Symphony members.



Jerome Kessler’s “Benediction” needed to be played for this concert, in tribute to Topanga Symphony cellist, James Catterall, whose sudden passing left the community, the orchestra and the nation in mourning. To honor his contributions to research in arts education and creativity, Americans for the Arts will dedicate National Arts in Education Week, September 10– 16, to Dr. Catterall. His work is his legacy to the world. No longer having his charm and contributions to the Topanga community is a wound that will not easily heal here.

The concert concluded with Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 8 in F Major Op. 93. The orchestra’s amazing performance captured the master’s work with the highest level of skill and interpretation.

SAVE THE DATE! The next concert will be held on October 29, at 3 p.m. at the Community House.



The Topanga Symphony invites the public to attend its Fourth Annual Fundraiser on Sunday, October 1, 2– 5 p.m., at a beautiful private home in Topanga. Plan to attend an inspiring afternoon of chamber music by some of our amazing symphony musicians in an intimate setting and assure, with your donation, that the Topanga Symphony will continue these amazing free concerts.  

There will also be a Silent Auction and gourmet hors d’oeuvres and beverages served before the concert and during intermission.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $65 each and can be purchased in advance at or by mail. Checks should be made payable to Topanga Symphony and sent to: Jeanne Mitchell P.O.  Box 361 Topanga, CA 90290.



We are soliciting volunteers to help with the event and for Silent Auction submissions. All in attendance will be required to purchase a ticket. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Jeanne Mitchell at or call (310) 455-3025. Upon receipt of your payment you will receive confirmation and location information. Seating is limited to 50 guests.

Thank you for supporting the Topanga Symphony!  


By Jeanne Mitchell


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