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A Look Into Vaishnavi Venkatesh: The Advanced Orchestra’s Concertmaster


Last December, Brooklyn Tech’s Advanced Orchestra showcased a nearly ten-minute violin solo from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” performed by Mechatronics and Robotics major Vaishnavi Venkatesh (‘24), Tech’s first-chair violinist and concertmaster of the Advanced Orchestra. It was a crowning moment in a musical journey that began nearly 14 years ago.

At the age of three, Venkatesh attended a concert by famous Indian violinist, L. Subramaniam, a master of Carnatic music, a genre of South Indian classical music. Despite being a different style from what she is now trained in, she was deeply fascinated by the melodies and tunes.

Felix Gerzon (‘24)

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Venkatesh’s parents enrolled her in violin classes at three and a half.

“I had some of my earliest memories practicing in my parents’ bedroom–I was there and my mom was there,” she said. “She doesn’t play music, but she would still always encourage me to practice. I remember playing rudimentary [pieces] and it would have a backing track that my mom would play on her phone. ”

After a three-year stint in London, Venkatesh’s family returned to Massachusetts before finally settling in Brooklyn at the age of six. In New York, Venkatesh met one of her greatest musical mentors. Her violin teacher of 11 years, Dr. Matthew Reichert, has been a rock in both her musical and personal lives. He has helped her develop technique, discipline, and skill, but also encouraged her to discover her own reasons to pursue music. 

“He’s set the building blocks, but then he’s allowing me to branch out and explore what I want to,” said Venkatesh.”

Being a part of Tech’s Advanced Orchestra since her freshman year, Venkatesh has gained more than technical music skills. “I’ve been in [the orchestra] all of high school and I think I’ve really grown in terms of leadership,” she said. Leading the orchestra as concertmaster, she takes on the vital role of effectively communicating and collaborating with her fellow musicians to achieve success in their performances.

However, Venkatesh’s journey wasn’t always smooth sailing.

Coming from a music middle school where students were expected to practice their instruments upwards of two to three hours a day, Tech’s rigorous academics required her to rebalance her priorities, spending significantly less time on the violin. 

Applying Dr. Reichert’s advice, Venkatesh sought out her own reasons to play and followed her passion to the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra (BCCO), where she’s the youngest musician by roughly a decade.

Beyond leadership and performance, Venkatesh also shared that music has encouraged her to seek out a positive mindset in life. The challenges she has overcome throughout her journey have only pushed her to be the resilient musician she is today, though it is not always easy.

“I can’t remember the last solo performance that I had where I walked out of it feeling proud of myself– like check, done, I feel good,” Venkatesh admitted. 

Musicians are extremely competitive, especially between the dozens of Tech’s violinists grasping for opportunities. Despite this, Venkatesh has come to realize that her greatest competition is herself and her past self–improving the mistakes she’s made along the way.

Venkatesh’s undeniable love for music goes beyond the technical aspects of playing. She strives to continue learning about the ever-changing field of music–with new genres and musicians being introduced. 

“Recently in the past few years, I think diversity specifically has been something that I’ve been really passionate about exploring and amplifying musical voices that we don’t usually hear about,” she said. With many talented musicians–musicians of color and Carnatic musicians–out of the mainstream’s eye, she’s eager to bring them to the spotlight to gain the recognition they deserve. 

In the years to come, Venkatesh hopes to find more time with her instrument. While she may, or may not, have professional ambitions in music, Venkatesh hopes to continue playing after high school, either minoring in music or taking part in a school-affiliated or outside orchestra or chamber group. 

“I’m hoping that in college, which I’ll be in next year, I’ll have more time to explore my own kind of stuff–maybe enjoy some musical endeavors,” Venkatesh shared. 

Tao Chen

For now, Venkatesh is enjoying the last few moments of her high school music career before attending Georgetown University in the fall.

“I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember, so it’s always been a part of my life, she explained. “[Practicing] is pretty much synonymous with breathing and eating. It’s definitely been a passion of mine. Although it’s become something I’ve taken more into my hands rather than ‘you have to practice, you have to show up to lessons,’ now, I’m finding the joy in it and finding my own reasons for it.”

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About the Contributor
Lauren Wong
Lauren Wong, Staff Writer
Lauren Wong (she/her) is a Staff Writer. Lauren is on The Survey because she would like to explore new opportunities within journalism. While writing may not have always been a passion for her, she has always found interest in the creation of news articles. As a result, she would also like to improve her journalistic and overall writing skills. Lauren reads The New York Times because she has found them to be generally unbiased and reliable when it comes to news sources. Brooklyn Tech also provides her with a free subscription, so she is able to browse and research to her pleasure. One future career goal that Lauren aspires to achieve is to become a more well-rounded writer. This is because writing is not just beneficial for journalism, but for any and all aspects of life. In Lauren's free time, she enjoys playing tennis and spending time with family and friends. She signifies the importance of spending every moment with those you love because time is precious. Lauren's favorite book is The Joy Luck Club because it signifies a part of her culture that she feels is severely under-recognized by society.

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