With Somin Virmani ’22 and the rest of the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus harmonizing, Tony Award-winning singer Alfie Boe belted out the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” After the concert, Virmani snapped a photo with Boe that was published in an online article for the “Andover Townsman.”
Virmani is one of the latest additions to Andover’s Music Department as a pianist, flutist, and singer. After beginning with the piano at the age of five, Virmani then took on the flute, which has become his main area of expertise.
“The piano provided an excellent base onto which I expanded my musicality. Around the summer after second grade, I picked up the flute. My longtime family friend… [inspired] me; I was so excited to play the flute that I took off running and never looked back,” said Virmani in an email to The Phillipian.
Virmani’s career as a flutist and pianist has flourished, and he has since performed alongside world-class conductors and musicians in famous venues. In May 2018, he performed a piano solo with the Jr. Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble under Grammy Award winner Jared Cassedy in Jordan Hall. Virmani has also performed in Symphony Hall and under Boston Symphony Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart and Andris Nelsons, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“I think the most amazing thing [about music] is the places it’s taken me and the opportunities that have arisen from my playing. I’ve [been] brought on stages where you don’t know the people you’re playing for in a place that you’ve never been before, and [despite that,] everyone still wants you to succeed. It’s overwhelming but in a good sense,” said Virmani.
In addition to playing solos, Virmani says he appreciates the opportunity to play music in ensembles and chamber groups. In addition to playing in Andover’s Concert Band, Academy Symphony Orchestra, and a chamber ensemble, Virmani plays music off-campus through organizations such as the Handel and Hadyn Society (H+H) High School Soloist Program in conjunction with the New England Conservatory of Music (N.E.C). In the past, Virmani has also played with NEC and the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestras (N.M.Y.O). He has held prestigious positions in N..M.Y.O, such as the first chair in the Intermezzo Orchestra, as well as a spot in the Select Flute Choir.
“When you’re playing with a group of people, you have to learn to work together with people, not only in that cliché sense but also to understand that your sound, even though it may not be the solo part, has an impact on the overall sense that the music gives,” said Virmani.
In addition to playing flute and piano, Virmani also sings. His singing career began in fourth grade when he joined an elite choral group, the South Side Singers, with whom he performed at a benefit concert for the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings. After participating in musicals and chorus in middle school, Virmani found H+H and joined their Youth Chorus and Concert Choir as well as the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus.
“Now, I am a high-school soloist in N.E.C., H+H’s joint soloist program, and participate in H+H’s Young Men’s Chorus. Recently, I had a workshop with Harry Christophers, a world-class Baroque- and Renaissance-era conductor, as well as some professional singers. To hear each singer share their journey made for a very special moment; it’s moments like these that not only better my musicianship, but [help] me understand why I love music,” wrote Virmani in an email to The Phillipian.
Virmani says music helps him express his feelings, intimate thoughts, and ideas that he is unable to convey otherwise. Ideas such as romance and beauty are key elements behind all of the pieces he works on.
“[Music] makes you a person that is able to feel or at least show more emotion, because through music you have to express yourself to give a better effect… [and] you become more expressive as a whole… I think it’s in the eye of the beholder what emotions you see in a piece, but if you see some certain emotions like [romance]… you sway to the music or overall crescendos and diminuendos to show those,” said Virmani.
Virmani’s appreciation for music as an art form developed from the opportunities he received and the people he has met on his musical journey. According to Virmani, he plans on furthering his musical career at Andover.
“Here at Andover, it’s amazing because there are so many musical opportunities. The music faculty here [excel] in their field, so you’re really able to progress. I’m planning to stay really involved in musical groups and clubs, maybe make some. I think it’ll come naturally because it’s such a welcoming environment,” said Virmani.
Virmani will perform Mozart’s “Requiem” this December under British conductor Harry Christophers in Symphony Hall.