Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


MCW Unites with Music in the Alps

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Music Conservatory of Westchester and Music in the Alps Unite for International Music Experience



This summer, the Music Conservatory of Westchester, known for its esteemed faculty with global performance credentials, and international music festival Music in the Alps, are uniting to make “Sound of Music” dreams come true – playing music in the heart of the Austrian Alps.

Established in 2013, by Ukranian-born concert pianist and Conservatory faculty member Dr. Irena Portenko, Music in the Alps has grown as a unique training experience bringing together internationally renowned musicians as well as students from around the world. This year, Music in the Alps will take place from July 31 through August 19, 2018.

Dr. Portenko says that the motto of the festival, "Share your passion, share your story,” resembles the Music Conservatory of Westchester's mission to provide the extraordinary benefits of music to all in our community. This summer, the Conservatory’s mission will extend far beyond Westchester County. Dr. Portenko will bring to her summer festival three additional faculty members of the nonprofit White Plains, New York community music school that was established in 1929: Conductor and clarinetist Dr. Douglas Bish, pianist Svetlana Gorokhovich, and jazz guitarist Dario Chiazzolino.The combination of world-class music and a majestic backdrop such as the Austrian Alps in Bad Gastein, Austria is unbeatable.


“Austria is the geographic heart of classical music,” Dean of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, Dr. Douglas Bish explains. “The Music in the Alps festival is located just an hour from Mozart’s home in Salzburg, Austria. Along with Vienna to the east, it helps to make up a country that is “music itself” to many musicians. Just being there, with the musical history that comprises the very fabric of that country, will be an inspiration and it must have an effect on the music.”

Music in the Alps is an opportunity for students of all ages to receive a well-rounded experience in music exploration. In instrumental and vocal masterclasses and chamber music groups, students study the works of composers such as Bach, Handel, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms. Frequent performances enhance students’ skills as they learn in such an inspirational environment. “One minute you are looking at this wonderful world around you; and in the very next minute you are illustrating it using your imagination, your skills, and your instrument,” Dr. Portenko says.

New aspects to the festival are introduced this year, inspired by its participants’ musical interests and the faculty’s expertise. Dr. Bish says, “All of the Conservatory’s faculty who will be participating in Music in the Alps already have received international recognition for their work in music, as concert performers, conductors, and recording artists. This opportunity does, however, remind people around the world of the strength of the Conservatory’s faculty and that we offer a world-class instructional program here in Westchester County.”

Led by Dr. Bish, a new Concerto-Aria Competition will bring advanced students together to compete for a chance to perform with the festival orchestra, make a special appearance in a music series in the legendary Marble Room of Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, and an invitation for the most impressive contestant to perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall during the 2018-2019 season. Blue Griffin Recording Inc. will live-broadcast the Concerto-Aria Competition and all performances from Music in the Alps to share the experience with music lovers around the world.

This summer, renowned jazz guitarist and Conservatory faculty member Dario Chiazzolino and former Conservatory jazz faculty member Bob Arthurs will expand the Music in the Alps offerings beyond classical music to the jazz and popular music genres. Conservatory piano faculty member since 1997 and internationally recognized piano recording artist with Blue Griffin Recording Inc., Svetlana Gorokhovich will return to Music in the Alps teaching Piano Solo and Piano Ensemble during the summer program.In addition to faculty members from the Music Conservatory of Westchester, other masterclass instructors and program directors at Music in the Alps also come with extraordinary credentials.

Grammy-nominated conductor and recipient of the American Prize for Conducting, Kenneth Kiesler will hold a highly anticipated intensive masterclass. Over 25 conductors from around the world have applied to participate. A selective program, only 6 applicants will be accepted to this particular masterclass. Classical vocalist, Tammy Hensrud, whose international performance appearances span from the Vienna State Opera to the Metropolitan Opera, is slated to lead the vocal program at Music in the Alps.

Dr. Portenko says of bringing a little bit of home influences from the Music Conservatory of Westchester to Austria, “I think the spirit of New York prevails in our festival and serves as a main drive and subject for astonishment. ‘Where do you get so much energy?’ We usually say: ‘From the city that never sleeps.’”

Several Conservatory students also traveling to Austria this summer to participate in Music in the Alps need not worry about language barriers. Dr. Bish explains, “Saying that ‘Music is the Universal Language’ isn’t just a phrase. It is reality.”

Visit musicinthealps.com for more info.



Jazz Sessions: Take Ten at Jacob Burns

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Jazz Sessions: Take Ten

May 2-30 at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY

Come celebrate a decade of Jazz Sessions as we revisit films from past years, including The House of Tom, Chasing Trane, 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz, and Jazz on a Summer’s Day, and bring you two new films on Django Reinhardt and Bill Evans. John Pizzarelli kicks off opening night with a musical tribute to Antônio Carlos Jobim, followed by four more live performances that introduce us to some of the exciting young innovators who carry on the jazz legacy and continue to reinvent the form today.

Buy tickets here: https://burnsfilmcenter.org/series/jazz-sessions-2018-the-greats-on-camera/

An Evening Concert for Flute, Cello, and Harpsichord

Monday, April 16, 2018

Experience the rich music of Baroque and Classical repertoire from such composers as J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Telemann, and Haydn on Friday, April 27 at 8pm at the Church of Immaculate Conception in Sleepy Hollow.

In this free evening concert, flutists David Markowitz and Holly Saks, cellist Adriana Maria Pera, and harpsichordist Jean Newton, will celebrate the great Baroque and Classical music and composers of the 1600s and 1700s, who continue to influence modern music, in a traditional format performance for today’s audience.

Jean Newton and Adriana Maria Pera are both members of the faculty at the Music Conservatory of Westchester, with Newton serving as the Executive Director of the community music school in White Plains. David Markowitz is an accomplished flutist and alumnus of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, having studied at the school with the late Harold Jones, then going on to study at Oberlin and Yale. Flutist Holly Saks brings her experience and expertise as a music educator and a multi-instrumentalist to the performance.

Friday, April 27 at 8pm, Free Admission
Church of Immaculate Conception
199 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Free First Notes Classes and Piano Concerts this Spring

Monday, April 09, 2018


Free Community Piano Concerts


Celebrate the Piano with the talented young students of the Music Conservatory of Westchester! Learn how the piano was invented, and how it became the most popular instrument of all time. Take a peek into the lives of the great piano composers and how they influenced piano builders to make it bigger and better.

Sunday, April 15, 2:00pm Ossining Library
Mother's Day Concert, Sunday, May 13, 2:30pm Greenburgh Library

These concerts are supported by the Westchester Community Foundation, The Rudyard and Emanuella Reimss Fund.
 

Free Baby & Music Bilingual Music Classes

Experience our bilingual (English and Spanish) early childhood music education program, First Notes/Primeras Notas, for free. First Notes classes will be held at libraries in White Plains and Ossining during early afternoon hours in 22 total classes April 15 through May 12, 2018.

Taught by Music Conservatory of Westchester instructor Sandra Muñoz, First Notes classes are an introduction to music geared toward jump starting early childhood education for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers through songs, sound exploration, rhythm and movement in an upbeat, nurturing environment. Children attend classes with a parent or caregiver, sharing the joy of singing and experiencing music together.

Free First Notes/Primeras Notas Library Lesson Schedule:

Ossining Public Library
2:30pm, 3-5 yrs
April 15, April 22, April 29

White Plains Public Library
1:00pm, 4mo-2yrs & 2:00pm, 2-4yrs
April 14, April 21, May 5, May 12

MCW Faculty Perform Downtown at Grace

Friday, April 06, 2018



Music Conservatory faculty members Elizabeth Farnum, soprano, Thomas Jamerson, baritone, and Christine Free Rhodebeck, mezzo soprano, are joined by pianist Laetitia Ruccolo for a special performance Wednesday, April 18th at 12:10pm. The concert will be held at Grace Church in White Plains as part of Downtown Music at Grace's award-winning concert series.

It is the second of two concerts of Germanic repertoire which illustrate the developing role of the piano as a musical partner in the classical and romantic periods. This concert is made possible, in part, with the generous support of Ridgeway Garden Center, White Plains, and Lago Ristorante, West Harrison. Click here for more info, admission is free.



Announcing the Colors of Music Student Mural Contest

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Public Art Opportunity for Westchester County Students


Calling all Westchester County aspiring teen artists!
The Music Conservatory of Westchester is announcing the launch of the Colors of Music Student Mural Contest with a search for talented local students to share their artistry on a public canvas, and collaborate with an experienced professional in a mural representing the theme of “Multi-Cultural Music.” Starting Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the Conservatory’s Colors of Music Student Mural Contest invites students in grades 7-12 residing in Westchester County, NY to submit their original design representing the theme.

The Colors of Music Student Mural Contest is made possible by a Challenge America grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Conservatory is honored to be a recipient in this nationally competitive award program.

One winner and three runners up will be selected by a panel of art experts from Westchester and New York City. The winner will collaborate with mural artist Jonathan Villoch to create the final mural design. All four original student designs will be incorporated into the mural as well as displayed inside the Conservatory building. Reflecting the welcoming, inclusive, and vibrant essence of the community music school, the Colors of Music Student Mural Contest gives visual presence to the sounds of music, and encourages students of all backgrounds to share their creativity with the community.

This opportunity is open to all eligible residents of Westchester County, and current students of the Music Conservatory of Westchester. Entrants must currently be in grades 7-12. Contest entries must be submitted between Tuesday, March 20 and Friday, May 11, 2018.
Original art submissions will show the student’s interpretation of “Multi-Cultural Music” using a variety of mixed media of the student’s choice. Copyrighted material or images of celebrities will not be allowed. The Conservatory asks that students limit artwork to images of family friendly subject matter.

A judging panel of art experts, including Janet Langsam, CEO of Arts Westchester, Lynn Honeysett, Executive Director of the Pelham Art Center, Samantha De Tillio, Assistant Curator, Museum of Arts and Design, Margaret Adasko, Curator of Education, Katonah Museum of Art, and the mural artist will make selections in two rounds: Round 1 will be a digital submission round accepted via email. If chosen for Round 2, the original artwork must be mailed or dropped off at the Music Conservatory of Westchester to be considered for winning the contest.

Student entrants must complete and send a submission form signed by their parents and a digital copy of their artwork to ColorsOfMusicContest@gmail.com. For more information about the contest guidelines and to complete the submission form, visit: www.musicconservatory.org/colorsofmusiccontest

Winners will be announced Friday, June 15, 2018 with a final unveiling celebration to be held on Sunday, September 30, 2018 in which all contestants and their families will be invited to attend.

About the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.

 About the Artist, Jonathan Villoch

 

Jonathan Villoch is a Cuban-American artist originally from Miami Beach, Florida. Jonathan’s earliest influences were the colors, shapes and textures his Cuban grandmother used to create patterns for dresses. Mr. Villoch earned a B.A. in Studio Art and a M.S. in Education from Lehman College. He has created acclaimed wall murals and art installations around the country. Additionally, his work has been exhibited at the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Frederico Seve Gallery, and Allegra LaViola Gallery in New York City; for The Bakehouse in Miami; and at Aisle One Gallery in St. Louis. He is a high school art teacher in Brooklyn public schools, working with under-privileged and disenfranchised youth. He has curated an art exhibition with Variety the Children’s Charity featuring the work of homeless LGBTQ teens; created a large mural with children on the autism spectrum for AHRC; and recently served as a judge in a borough-wide student art competition organized by the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Arts and Special Projects.

More Summer Open Houses!

Monday, March 19, 2018

 

It’s time to get excited about the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Summer Music & Arts Program!

The White Plains community music school offers fun, musical experiences for kids grades K-9 over 4 different 2 week sessions with half or full day options starting June 25 through August 19. K-6 graders can try an instrument, create in Arts & Crafts, participate in Dance & Creative Movement, and young children can experiment with music in Music Skills and Buckets & Beats. The comprehensive Suzuki Summer Program teaches the Suzuki method of learning an instrument for beginners at age 4 through students grades K-8. Students grades 1-6 can show their theatrical side and perform on our recital hall stage in Musical Theatre Immersion. In the Conservatory’s new summer program, students grades 5-9 can develop their piano abilities in the Summer Piano Festival!

Get to know the Music Conservatory of Westchester at our upcoming Open Houses:

Monday April 9th 5:30-7pm

Monday April 16th 5:30-7m

Saturday, May 5th 10am-12pm

Give your kids the gift of music this summer to experience a musical community unlike any other. Sign up for the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Summer Music & Arts Program today!

Call 914-761-3900 or visit www.summeratmcw.org

 

Text Updates from the Conservatory

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


Starting soon, the Conservatory will be notifying our current students, faculty and staff of school closures via text message! You can opt-out of the service at any time by replying "STOP" to any message we send.

If you are not receiving the messages and would like to opt-in to the service, text "MCW" to 33222. This service will only be used to notify Conservatory affiliates of school closures, no phone numbers will be shared with outside parties.

Auction Items Needed for a Good Cause!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018


We need your help with our annual auction, benefiting our musical community! Is there a restaurant or business you love to frequent? Do you know someone who has access to tickets to a fun show, sports event, or experience? Do you have a time-share, cabin, or vacation home you would consider donating? The Conservatory is looking for donated items like these for our annual auction where proceeds all go towards our Scholarship Program, Music Therapy Program, and Healing Our Heroes program for military veterans.

We greatly appreciate your support as we prepare for our biggest fundraiser of the year! For more information and to donate, contact Laura Layne, Development Associate, at laura@musiced.org. Thank you!!

Late James Ranti Honored and Remembered

Monday, March 05, 2018


James Ranti's wife, faculty member Juliet Gopoian, and his daughter, Julie Ranti, Associate Principal Flute at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, gathered outside room 209 last Saturday to honor and remember the late James Ranti, beloved trumpet faculty member at the Conservatory since 2003.




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