Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Vote Us Best Music School in Westchester AGAIN!

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Vote the Music Conservatory of Westchester the "Best Music School" AGAIN!

When you fill out your picks for Westchester Magazine's "Best of Westchester" poll, please consider putting us as the best Music School.

Click Here to Vote

  • Scroll down to the "Kids" section
  • Under the "Music School" category fill in, Name: "Music Conservatory of Westchester", Town: "White Plains"
  • You can only submit your ballot once so make sure to fill in any other categories you would like. (You are not required to vote in any other categories)
  • Enter email address at bottom of page and click submit

Ballots are live until January 24th at 5pm.

Thank you for voting, your support means everything to us!

Students Raise Funds with the Power of Performance

Monday, November 27, 2017


For more than 15 years, the not-for-profit Music Conservatory of Westchester has held an annual fundraiser called Performathon that truly gets its students involved. It’s a marathon day of student performances to raise funds for mission-specific programs at the Conservatory. On Saturday, December 9, 2017, over 200 participating students will donate their time and talent to perform in support of their community music school. This year, students will raise funds for scholarships for financially deserving students to enroll at the Conservatory, as well as for some important new equipment: orchestra chairs for student ensembles and music therapy students, and a stage piano with amplifier for student performances taking place in various community locations.

“For any not-for-profit, fundraising is essential. The fact that we can involve our students in this process with their musical performance at the center, instead of separate from their studies and training, is an ideal representation of that aspect of our mission. This way, everyone has a hand in sustaining and supporting the important work the Conservatory is doing,” said Dean of Faculty and Students Douglas Bish about the rewarding Performathon experience.

The Conservatory has garnered a list of generous sponsors, including P.C. Richard & Son, Guitar Center, Alamo Movie Theatre in Yonkers, Scattered Books in Chappaqua, Fun Fusion in New Rochelle, and Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Yonkers. Local sponsors are donating their products to benefit children in the communities the businesses serve.


All students who raise funds for Performathon will receive a gift, and the students who raise the most will compete for super prizes from the aforementioned sponsors. Last year, the grand prize was an upright piano!

“Music study isn’t complete without performance, and since our students can now look forward to Performathon every year, they are able to plan much of their musical preparation around this exciting event,” Dean Bish said.

Performance is a major part of the day. Child, teen, and adult students will take the stage in the Conservatory’s two performance spaces - the Helen Demetrios and Michael Stadther Recital Hall and the Performance Salon - to perform on a variety of instruments and styles of music. Classical, jazz, rock, pop, and musical theater will be represented at Performathon as students have the opportunity to proudly play for their family and friends.

On the day of Performathon, the Conservatory’s lobby is transformed into a fun, creative space for students and their parents with crafts and games, a photo booth, and donated food, either homemade by families or from local restaurants. It takes a community effort to organize Performathon to support a successful outcome. Parent and student volunteers, local vendors and food establishments, donors and sponsors, and the Conservatory administrative staff make this event possible for students to share their talents and generosity with other music lovers.

Voted Best of Westchester for “Best Music School” of 2017, the Music Conservatory of Westchester started Performathon in 2001 as a musical day powered by its students, giving back to their fellow students. Each year the school raises more than $500,000 to support its Scholarship Program, its Music Therapy Program for children and adults with disabilities, and its Healing Our Heroes Program for military veterans.

Donations to the Music Conservatory of Westchester are also accepted here:

Faculty Member Dorothy Jonas Releases New CD

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Jonas CD

The Piano Duo of Joshua Pierce and long-time Conservatory faculty member, Dorothy Jonas, have just released a new CD of 20th Century Masterpieces for 2 pianos and orchestra.

The two CD set includes world premiere recordings of Poulenc, Starer, Creston, Berezovsky, Lopatnikoff, Malipiero and Tansman. Distributed by MSR Classics the album can be purchased HERE.

Benefit Concert A Wonderful Celebration

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Featured artist Ani Kavafian, Westchester native, Conservatory board member, and composer Mary Lynn Marx Bianco, and Executive Director Jean Newton of Scarsdale revel in the success of An Autumn Afternoon of Music benefit concert on Sunday, November 12 at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains.

The Conservatory celebrated great classical music at its benefit concert, An Autumn Afternoon of Music, featuring internationally renowned violinist Ani Kavafian on Sunday, November 12. Concert proceeds will benefit the Conservatory’s Scholarship, Music Therapy, and Healing Our Heroes programs.

Internationally renowned violinist and Goldens Bridge resident Ani Kavafian commands the stage alongside pianist Minyoung Kang.

Westchester native, long-time Conservatory board member and composer Mary Lynn Marx Bianco wrote a new piece for Kavafian to perform at the concert, showcasing Bianco’s signature composition style. Ms. Kavafian also performed two solo violin pieces by Fritz Kreisler. Joining Ms. Kavafian were a quartet of her Master of Musical Arts students from the Yale School of Music, to perform selections by Beethoven and Mozart, as well as a string quartet by Bianco.

Internationally renowned violinist and Yale School of Music professor Ani Kavafian leads a quartet of her students Sophia Mockler (2nd violin), Eric Adamshick (cello), Ethan Hoppe (2nd viola), and Josip Kvetek (1st viola) playing a Mozart composition.

The performances were thrilling and inspiring for the audience, a combination of prominent Westchester residents, as well as Conservatory faculty, students, and parents. Kavafian, whose son is a Conservatory alumnus, is among its Musical Advisors. Bianco, who was herself a Conservatory student as a child, has dedicated over 30 years of service to the music school.

Both were honored at the benefit by Executive Director Jean Newton for their commitment to the Conservatory and its mission-based programs that help provide the extraordinary benefits of music to all in the community.

Westchester native and special honoree at An Autumn Afternoon of Music joins Music Conservatory of Westchester students Anna Marie Simon, Alice Cabral, Lui Luankhot, Adrian Pascual, Ellie Konno, Board President Joel Breitkopf and Executive Director Jean Newton, both Scarsdale residents, at An Autumn Afternoon of Music benefit concert, bridging classical music with the next generation of musicians, and arts supporters on Sunday, November 12.

Westchester native, Conservatory board member, and composer Mary Lynn Marx Bianco accepts a commemorative gift from Music Conservatory of Westchester Development Associate Laura Layne.

Board members Rodd Berro and Jennifer Weiss, along with her husband Chip Weiss, all from Armonk, and Ronald Aaronson show their support.

Conservatory faculty members Mary Elizabeth Poore of New York City, Executive Director Jean Newton of Scarsdale, Thomas and Celeste Jamerson of Port Chester, and Juliet Gopoian of Hartsdale.

Faculty Concert: Piano as a Musical Partner

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Conservatory will celebrate the talents of its faculty and the history of the piano as a musical partner in a Faculty Recital on Friday, November 10. Open to the public, this free concert will start at 7 PM in the Conservatory’s Helen Demetrios and Michael Stadther Recital Hall with music featuring the piano as a collaborative instrument.

Performing will be faculty pianists Svetlana Gorokhovich, Hyemin Kang, Jaejin Lee, Irena Portenko, and Michael Zeiger. They will be joined by the Conservatory’s Dean of Students and Faculty Douglas Bish, clarinet, and Suzuki Coordinator Suzanne Wagor, viola.

The program will highlight the role of the piano in chamber music from the 18th and 19th century Germanic repertoire, as well as pieces for multiple pianists. Performances will include selections from Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano four-hands, Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio, K. 498 for clarinet, viola and piano, and three rarely performed works: Carl Czerny’s Divertissement Militaire for piano six-hands, Robert Schumann’s Märchenbilder for viola and piano, and Heinrich Baermann’s Adagio for clarinet and piano.

This concert is made possible by a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation’s Rudyard and Emanuella Reimss Fund.

Ani Kavafian Performs at the Conservatory

Friday, October 20, 2017

Internationally renowned violinist Ani Kavafian will be the featured artist in An Autumn Afternoon of Music, a benefit concert at the Conservatory on Sunday, November 12, 2017. String players from the Yale School of Music will join Ms. Kavafian in performingworks by Mozart, Beethoven, and Kreisler, as well as two works by composer and Conservatory board member Mary Lynn Marx Bianco, an alumna of the Conservatory.

Ms. Kavafian, whose son attended the Conservatory, is Full Professor of Violin at Yale University. A member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1972, she continues to tour with them in North America, Europe and Asia.

The 3pm concert in the Conservatory’s Helen Demetrios and Michael Stadther Recital Hall will be followed by a reception with the artists. Proceeds from the benefit will support the Conservatory’s Scholarship, Music Therapy, and Healing Our Heroes programs. Ms. Kavafian’s special performance will celebrate great music while helping to raise funds for deserving

For more information, contact Aishling Quinn, Development Manager, at To purchase tickets, visit

Come Join Chamber Starters for Adult Students!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Interested in playing chamber music with other adult students? Want to expand your musical experience and improve your skills? Are you ready to take on a new challenge and have some fun? Join Chamber Starters for Adult Students!

Starting fall 2017, intermediate to advanced level adult students can sign-up to participate in short-term ensembles of 4-6 weeks. You’ll play alongside other adult instrumental and/or vocal students, matched up for similar musical ability and interests, with coaching from one of our esteemed faculty members. Of course, you are welcome to work with your ensembles on your own as well. An optional performance in one of our Adult Student Performance Hours will cap off your experience.

For questions and more information, please contact Amanda Tabor at or 914-761-3900 ext. 114.

Elliott Forrest: Keeping it Classical at the Conservatory

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On Saturday, November 4, WQXR Radio host Elliott Forrest
will speak in the Music Conservatory of Westchester Recital Hall about the famous musicians and celebrities he has interviewed and worked with throughout his career at WQXR Radio and around the country.

Elliott has interviewed hundreds of musicians and celebrities, including Yo-Yo Ma, Billy Joel, Luciano Pavarotti, Ringo Starr, Alec Baldwin, John Cleese, Emma Watson, and the casts of Wicked and Avenue Q. Starting at 3 PM, this event will be in an interview format, followed by a Q & A session for the audience, and a post-talk reception with light refreshments. This free event is open to the public.

Conservatory Faculty Bring Music to the Alps

Thursday, October 05, 2017
While visiting Bad Gastein, Austria, Conservatory piano faculty member Dr. Irena Portenko had an inspired idea–a summer music program in the Alps. In 2012, Music in the Alps, an international music festival and master course program, launched. Conservatory piano faculty member Svetlana Gorokhovich has joined Dr. Irena Portenko as a faculty member for the summer program. Participating students range from child through adult years and experience levels. With the magnificent backdrop of the Austrian mountains, Music in the Alps is a place where teaching artists and students from all nations can learn, practice, perform, and enjoy music together. 

Plans are currently underway for the 2018 Music in the Alps summer music festival. Conservatory Dean of Students and Faculty, Dr. Doug Bish, John Cuk, and Kenneth Kiesler will be joining Dr. Irena Portenko for the 2018 Festival. Disciplines will include orchestral and choral programs, competition for young musicians, and various performances, Masterclasses, classes, and workshops.

For more information about how to participate in the upcoming summer program, visit

Photo credit: Sergei Kvitko

Inside the Studio Week is Back!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Back by popular demand, Inside the Studio week will return for the second time at the Music Conservatory of Westchester. During the week of Sunday October 22nd - Saturday October 28th, parents can sit-in and observe their child's private lesson. Parents will also have a chance during the last five to ten minutes of the lesson to talk with the teacher and check-in on their child's progress.

The special week will also include a meet-up opportunity for Adult Students, a social for Conservatory Parents and an information session with Dean Doug Bish on, "“Everything You Want to Know About the NYSSSMA Solo & Ensemble Festival." Don't miss out on this fun and unique experience!