Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Explore Classes at Music Conservatory Fall Open Houses

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Music Conservatory of Westchester invites prospective students and their families to go Back to Music this fall! Explore music classes for toddlers, children, teens, and adults at our Open Houses!

The Conservatory offers private lessons, group classes, and performing ensembles for students at all experience levels for all instruments and genres. Learn from expertly qualified faculty and join a welcoming musical community like no other!

Register for classes online today at!

Join us at our upcoming open houses on:

Monday, August 19th from 5pm-7pm

Saturday, September 7th from 2pm-4pm

Tuesday, September 10th from 5pm-7pm

Saturday, September 21st from 10am-2pm

Monday, September 23rd from 5pm-7pm

Saturday, September 28th from 12pm-2pm

Broadway Stars Support Conservatory's 18th Annual Benefit Event

Thursday, July 11, 2019

What a wonderful way to kick off the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 90th Anniversary! With more than $270,000 in net proceeds raised to support Scholarship and Music Therapy Programs at the Conservatory’s 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala on Monday, June 24 at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY, it is truly a time to celebrate. Iconic comedian Robert Klein and award-winning music composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman, were honored for their illustrious careers with musical performances by Broadway stars Kate Baldwin, Jennifer Damiano, and Gizel Jiménez, emceed by WQXR radio host Elliott Forrest.

“It was incredibly heartwarming to see so many generous individuals come out to support the Conservatory’s mission-based programs – and everyone had a great time!” said Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton.

It was a perfect day for golfers with optimal weather followed by a musical evening with a few fun surprises. After a warm welcome from Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton, and Board President Joel Breitkopf, performer Gizel Jiménez, currently starring in Broadway’s Wicked, opened the Gala portion of the event with her impressive vocal talent with musical selections from Frozen and Little Women the Musical. Six talented Conservatory voice students, Nicole Cayales, Colin Dunsky, Tiana Kaga, Sophia Manalang, Leila Martinez, and Melissa Wang, sang with Tony Award-nominee Jennifer Damiano for a heart-felt rendition of “What a Wonderful World." 

Conservatory Voice Students and Voice Faculty Mary Elizabeth Poore with Legacy Award honoree Marc Shaiman

Conservatory voice students and Voice faculty Mary Elizabeth Poore with Legacy Award recipient Marc Shaiman. 

As thirteen-year-old Conservatory scholarship student who sang at the Gala, Leila Martinez stated, “The Conservatory has really encouraged me.” She added, “I feel like being a singer would be really fun, because then I get to do what I love.” 

“Our 90th Anniversary event was a smash success!” said Board President Joel Breitkopf. “Our community-based mission of helping children, adults, and Veterans with music scholarships and music therapy is getting stronger. Our talented teachers can bring out the potential in every student.”

Broadway star Jennifer Damiano also performed the Oscar-nominated Marc Shaiman song “Where the Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns. Two-time Tony Award-nominee Kate Baldwin’s voice soared in her performances of “Ribbons Down My Back” from Hello, Dolly! and “New York, New York.”

During his acceptance speech for the Conservatory’s Legacy Award, Marc Shaiman amazed the audience with an unexpected, special performance of a song he wrote for the Emmy-nominated TV show Smash with surprise guest, rising star Sarah Rose Shaiman.

“I have been an advocate for music education my whole life and that's why it's been an honor to support the Music Conservatory of Westchester. Playing music changed my life and I know it's changed the lives of so many. The Gala was a beautiful night with great talent,” said emcee and WQXR radio host Elliott Forrest, of Rockland County. “That's what happens when a solid music education meets opportunity!”

Conservatory's Executive Director Jean Newton and Board President Joel Breitkopf and Development Officer Aishling Quinn with Lifetime Award honoree Robert Klein

Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton, Board President Joel Breitkopf, and Development Officer Aishling Quinn with Lifetime Award recipient Robert Klein.

Robert Klein got the entire room laughing with a hilarious stand-up comedy set as part of his acceptance speech for the Conservatory’s Lifetime Award. He even played an excerpt of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on harmonica! Both honorees received standing ovations for their decades of contributions to the performing arts.

Generosity was high among the 300 guests at the Conservatory’s annual benefit event. The White Plains nonprofit community music school raised funds for its Music Therapy Program for children and adults with disabilities, Healing Our Heroes music therapy program serving U.S. military veterans, and Scholarship Program providing financially-deserving students with the chance to achieve their musical dreams.

Congrats Class of 2019!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Congratulations to our graduating seniors of 2019! We are so proud of their musical growth and accomplishments here at the Conservatory. We hope that they will continue to keep music close to their hearts and find success in whatever they choose to conquer.

Aaron Thwaites (Piano) will be attending The College of William and Mary after taking a gap year to travel and engage in cultural and language immersion in several countries - including pursuing volunteer and internship opportunities in Central America, Asia and Europe. 

Agustin Otero (Clarinet)

Catherine Marie Serra (Voice)

Daniela Rivera (Piano, Teen Vocal Ensemble)

James Cardosi (Percussion, Drums, Piano, Jazz Ensemble) is taking a gap year and will be attending Berklee College of Music's 5-Week Aspire Summer Program. After his gap year, he hopes to study neuroscience and music.

Jacob Dunefsky (Guitar, Jazz Ensemble) will be attending Yale in the fall.

Joanna Green Delgado (Percussion) will be attending The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam for Music Education.

Joe Konno (Violin) will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Leilani Orozco (Saxophone, Jazz Theory & Improv)

Loren Yu (Piano)

Louis Melendez (Violin, Conservatory Sinfonia) will be attending Wesleyan University for Psychology and minor in Music Theory. He also plans to join the Wesleyan University orchestra, and continue to have music be a part of his life. 

Lui Luangkhot (Percussion, Violin, Chamber Ensemble, Conservatory Sinfonia) will attend the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and plans to pursue double degree in Percussion performance and Physics.

Marina Lebowich (Voice) will be attending the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre, and Dance as a Theatre Arts major.

Oscar Hutarra (Piano, Viola, Chamber Ensemble, Conservatory Sinfonia)

Pablo Paucar (Saxophone, Jazz Theory & Improv, Jazz Ensemble) will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall.

Celebrating Our Students!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Congratulations to 21 of our talented students for receiving perfect and outstanding scores for NYSSMA this year! We are so proud of their musical growth at the Conservatory. It’s wonderful to see our students’ hard work result in this achievement.

Congratulations to Elise Kang (age 11) and Ben Wien (age 12), students of Amanda Tabor, horn
  • Elise received an outstanding NYSSMA score.
  • Ben received a perfect NYSSMA score.
  • Elise and Ben have been students at the Conservatory since 2016.

Congratulations to Tiana Kaga (age 10), Lincoln Feng (age 10), Melissa Wang (age 10), and Colin Dunsky (age 13), students of Mary Elizabeth Poore, voice
  • Tiana and Lincoln each received perfect NYSSMA scores.
  • Melissa and Colin each received outstanding NYSSMA scores.
  • Melissa has been a student at the Conservatory since 2014, Tiana since 2015, Lincoln and Colin since 2018.

Congratulations to Kevin Dong (age 10) and Lev Mizukovski (age 12), students of Inna Sukonik, piano
  • Kevin and Lev received perfect NYSSMA scores.
  • Kevin and Lev have been students at the Conservatory since 2016.

Congratulations to Adriana Feng (age 8), student of Junsuk Oh, piano
  • Adriana received an outstanding NYSSMA score.
  • Adriana has been a student at the Conservatory since 2016.

Congratulations to Anna Dorokhovich (age 11), Leah Ling (age 7), Aaron Zheng (age 7), and Kylee Zhang (age 7), students of Song Gonzalez, piano
  • Kylee received a perfect NYSSMA score.
  • Anna, Leah and Aaron received outstanding NYSSMA scores.
  • Anna has been a student at the Conservatory since 2013, Leah and Aaron since 2016, Kylee since 2017.

Congratulations to Adrian Pascual (age 15), student of David Krieger, cello
  • Adrian received a perfect NYSSMA score.
  • Adrian has been a student at the Conservatory since 2010.

Congratulations to Jamie Willey (age 8), Grace Freeman (age 9), and Yunong Wu (age 9), students of Haodong Wu, piano
  • Jamie received a perfect NYSSMA score.
  • Grace and Yunong received outstanding NYSSMA scores.
  • Yunong has been a student at the Conservatory since 2014, Grace since 2015, Jamie since 2017.

Congratulations to Clara Barden (age 14), student of Laetitia Ruccolo, piano, Stephanie Newman, voice, and Paula Chan Ping, flute
  • Clara received a perfect NYSSMA score for flute and outstanding scores for piano and voice.
  • Clara has been a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Congratulations to Marina Varriano (age 14), Kathryn Ravano (age 16), and Noah Broemme (age 11), students of Laetitia Ruccolo, piano
  • Marina and Kathryn received perfect NYSSMA scores.
  • Noah received an outstanding NYSSMA score.
  • Marina has been a student at the Conservatory since 2014, Kathryn since 2012, and Noah since 2017.

Conservatory to Celebrate 90th Anniversary at Milestone Benefit Event

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Entertainment Legends to be Honored at Nonprofit Community Music School Gala

At the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala on Monday, June 24, the White Plains nonprofit community music school will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a star-studded benefit. Comedy icon and Westchester County resident Robert Klein and musical maestro of Broadway, television, and film Marc Shaiman will be honored for their distinguished careers and contributions to the performing arts at the event to be held at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY. 

“We’ve been fortunate to have so many music icons involved with the Conservatory over the years,” Music Conservatory of Westchester Executive Director and Edgemont resident Jean Newton said. “It’s a real honor, and the perfect way to kick off our 90th anniversary year.”

The Music Conservatory of Westchester’s rich 90-year history dates back to 1929, when it was established at Scarsdale’s “Hyatt House” under the direction of Nicolai Mednikoff. Among the school’s original board of musical advisors were renowned cellist Pablo Casals, violinist Harold Bauer, and opera singer Elisabeth Rethberg. Today, in White Plains, the Conservatory provides the extraordinary benefits of music to all in our community, serving more than 2,800 students each year from 4 months to over 80 years old. The Conservatory is celebrating this year’s milestone with musical community events, including its upcoming 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Music Conservatory and our passionate and dedicated staff, we are thrilled to have such a great lineup for our 90th Anniversary gala as we celebrate our community and the important mission of bringing music, healing and joy to our students and scholarship recipients,” Conservatory Board President and Scarsdale resident Joel Breitkopf said.

 Robert Klein

Robert Klein, known for his long-standing, four-decade comedy career, will be honored with the Lifetime Award. He opened the doors for the comics who have followed in his footsteps as the first comedian to appear in a live stand-up comedy concert on HBO. A life-long New Yorker with two-time Emmy nominations for his HBO comedy specials and two Grammy Award nominations for Best Comedy Album for Child of the Fifties and Mind Over Matter, he is often considered a legend by fans and is a favorite at The Tonight Show with 100 appearances to date. He also received a Tony Award nomination and a win from the LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for his performance in the Neil Simon musical, They’re Playing Our Song. In addition to his countless on-stage credits, he is also recognized for his wit and humor in film roles and in recurring guest-starring roles on television in Law & Order and Will & Grace.

“The Music Conservatory of Westchester puts its resources into the most wonderful and imaginative pursuits, proving that the gift of music can do so much. It is my honor to be honored by them,” said Lifetime Award honoree Robert Klein.

 Marc Shaiman

Marc Shaiman will receive the Legacy Award from the Music Conservatory of Westchester for his incredible contributions to music both onstage and onscreen. A Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner, and seven-time Oscar nominee, he is known for his songs and scores of such Broadway favorites as Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and television’s Smash, The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, as well as more than 10 appearances as musical director of the Academy Awards. He also wrote music for films When Harry Met Sally, Sister Act 1 & 2, A Few Good Men, and Hocus Pocus. Mr. Shaiman was nominated for the 2018 Oscar for Best Original Song and Score for Mary Poppins Returns. He is currently working on a musical version of Some Like it Hot for Broadway. For decades, he has composed some of the most memorable soundtracks and scores.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester features teachers looking to give music students a step up and a helping hand to our veterans, and it all takes place in New York, the state I call home! Just those things prove to me that it is a wonderful organization, and I am humbled and excited to have been chosen for this wonderful honor!” said Legacy Award honoree Marc Shaiman.

Stellar musical performances by Tony Award nominees and Broadway stars Kate Baldwin, Jennifer Damiano, and Carrie St. Louis will round out the fabulous evening award ceremony and gala dinner. Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and host of New York’s Classical Radio Station WQXR, Elliott Forrest, will emcee the event.

 Elliott Forrest

“You have an opportunity to broaden your horizons through music at the Conservatory,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “Music brings people together like nothing else. It’s the magic ingredient.”

Proceeds from the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 18th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic and Gala will support its Music Therapy Program improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities as well as its Healing Our Heroes music therapy program serving U.S. military veterans with combat-related injuries and Scholarship Program providing students from financially-deserving families with access to quality music training. To purchase tickets, visit

Student Spotlight - Joanna Green Delgado

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

 Joanna Green Delgado, Photo credit: Steven Schnur

Fox Lane High School Senior Joanna Green Delgado, percussion student and flutist in the Conservatory’s Jazz Ensemble, was accepted to Crane School of Music, where she will start as a music education major this fall.

“As a musician, I feel like becoming a music teacher could make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.”

Joanna sees the positive impact of music training first hand as a scholarship student studying with Bill Ruyle since 2017.

“I truly believe that these experiences [at the Conservatory] have expanded my musical abilities and that what I’ve learned will be applicable to my college experience.”

Audition for the Westchester Choral Society!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Westchester Choral Society—the longest continuously performing chorus in Westchester County—proudly serves as the chorus-in-residence for the Music Conservatory of Westchester. They partner with the Conservatory and rehearse there every week.

The Choral Society is welcoming singers in all voice sections. To schedule a singer-friendly audition, please see Numa Rousseve at one of their Tuesday evening rehearsals or contact him directly at (914) 285–9026.

If you’d prefer to experience the music from the audience, join the Choral Society for their spring concert Sunday, May 19, at the Chapel at Maryknoll in Ossining, New York. The performance will include music of Schubert and Brahms, including Schubert’s Miriam's Song of Triumph and Brahms’ Na╠łnie.

Visit for additional information about the Westchester Choral Socity, the concert and how you can be a part of either or both.

Musical Masters Lecture Series for Adult Music Lovers Announced

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


The Music Conservatory of Westchester announces four in-depth musical experiences as its new Musical Masters lecture series begins on Sundays at 2pm during spring 2019. Open to the public, the Conservatory’s lecture series will include insight from experts Michael Boriskin, Mark Morganelli, Andrew Armstrong, and Elliott Forrest on the topics of Chamber Music, Brazilian Jazz, Musical Storytelling, and Film Music, respectively.

All Musical Masters lecture series events will take place at the Music Conservatory of Westchester, 216 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606. Tickets for individual lectures are $25 each, available for purchase online. Purchase Tickets

“The Conservatory is really thrilled to offer a different kind of musical opportunity – one that will provide interest and enjoyment for everyone, regardless of whether you’ve ever played an instrument,” Executive Director Jean Newton said.

On Sunday, March 3rd at 2pm, the first of the four lecture presentations, “The World of Chamber Music: Rational (and Irrational) Conversations,” will be led by Michael Boriskin, Artistic & Executive Director of Copland House. An internationally-acclaimed pianist and expert on chamber music, Boriskin will dive into the concept of this genre he describes as “rational people conversing.” He will share his take on the provocative, innovative, and intensely moving musical works written for small instrumental ensembles that inspire these dialogues. With live and recorded performances, his presentation will sample revered classics, lesser-known masterworks, intriguing rarities, and works mixing unusual instrumental combinations, as well as recent pieces that are new benchmarks for coming generations. In a musical adventure, the lecture will explore the span of nearly 250 years of chamber music compositions from Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Messiaen, and much more, discussing the mastery within these conversations both rational and irrational.

Take a musical voyage on Sunday, March 31st to enjoy “Brazilian Jazz: From Samba to American Standards” presented by Artistic Director of Tarrytown’s Jazz Forum and Brazilian Jazz expert Mark Morganelli. Discover the cross-fertilization between Brazilian music, illustrating the genres of bossa nova, samba, and toada, and American Jazz influences, accompanied by Morganelli’s latest recorded work, Brasil! Lecture attendees will also be treated to a live musical performance by trumpeter/flugelhornist Morganelli demonstrating the unconventional, “new wave” rhythms that continue to move music lovers around the world. Compositions by Brazilian Jazz greats Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa, Claudio Roditi, and Marcos Valle will be played and woven into the vibrant discussion. With more than 30 years of masterful experience with Brazilian Jazz bands, recordings, and performances with international jazz legends, Morganelli’s passion for this unique musical sound extends into this exclusive presentation.

Following those exhilarating experiences will be “Musical Storytelling: The Poetry behind Piano Masterpieces” with acclaimed concert pianist Andrew Armstrong on April 28th, and “Film Music: Groundbreaking Director/Composer Collaborations” with Peabody Award-winning Broadcaster & Producer and WQXR radio host Elliott Forrest on May 19th. Learn more about all four lecture series presentations at These exclusive events are not to be missed!

World Premiere Concert of Composition by Mary L. Bianco with Manhattan Chamber Players, Saturday March 23rd

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Mary L. Bianco and Manhattan Chamber Players Concert at Music Conservatory of Westchester
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 4pm
Free Admission
216 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606

A world premiere musical performance comes to the Music Conservatory of Westchester this spring! On Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 at 4pm, the Manhattan Chamber Players will perform a new composition by former Scarsdale resident and Conservatory Board member Mary L. Bianco along with musical works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Max Bruch in the Conservatory’s Recital Hall for this free, public concert.

Chamber music fans will enjoy this exclusive debut of Bianco’s latest composition, a trio for clarinet, viola and piano, in addition to her celebrated work Alegre y Divertida (2017), Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor, Op. 9 no. 3 (1798), and selections from Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, Op. 83 (1908).

“The Manhattan Chamber Players are an exciting collective of outstanding young musicians with the versatility to perform both new and traditional repertoire. Mary’s music is wonderful - complex, compelling, and emotionally rich,” Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton said. “This concert will be a thrilling experience to share with our students and for the whole community!”   

Composing from the heart with her passion for music, Bianco’s distinguished works have been performed around the world by renowned chamber ensembles including Salomé Chamber Orchestra, Symphony of the Vines, The Solera Quartet, and the Peninsula Trio. With classical and jazz influences, her accessible music exudes an ease both melodically and rhythmically.

Bianco has been composing for the Manhattan Chamber Players for several years, with performances in China, Israel, New York, Connecticut, New Orleans, and Columbus, Ohio. As a former student and active board member and supporter of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, the performance of these works is especially meaningful.

“I enjoy writing for musicians I have heard perform, thus writing for Mark, Luke, and David [Manhattan Chamber Players] was a most enjoyable endeavor as I have by now developed a good sense of each one’s unique style. They are superb musician which makes composing for them a joyful challenge as there are no limitations on their understanding my purpose and intent,” Bianco said. “I am honored to present my music at the school where I began studying piano at age 4 with Michael Pollon and at age 16 composing with Irwin Stall before entering Sarah Lawrence College and most recently graduating in 2015 with an M.A. in Composition from Mills College.”

Of the 30 Manhattan Chamber Players members, the following musicians will perform in the concert on Saturday, March 23rd:
David Fung, piano
Mark Dover, clarinet
Brendan Speltz, violin
Luke Fleming, viola
Andrea Casarrubios, cello

Performathon Exceeds Expectations Raising Funds for Scholarships and Digital Piano Lab, Plus Raffle Winners!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Conservatory guitar student Melanie Goldstein-Lika smiles with a song at Performathon 2018.

After 12 hours of marathon recitals at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 2018 Performathon event and prize raffle so far, the nonprofit has raised $6,767 (net) for its Scholarship Program and Digital Piano Lab!

Performathon is so much fun for everyone involved – our students, parents, faculty and staff.  Many of our families bring their relatives and friends along with them.  And everyone gets a chance to win a fabulous raffle prize while supporting our Scholarship Program and our new Digital Piano Lab,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “It’s a win-win all around!”

 Conservatory teen student Yixi Xue sings his heart out at Performathon 2018.

About 300 Conservatory students performed throughout the day, 20 vendors donated goods, and 28 parents and teen students volunteered their time, contributing to the positive energy on Saturday, December 8th, 2018 at the community music school’s Performathon.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester makes a point to keep this fundraiser fun. In addition to creating this exciting performance opportunity for all of its students, the school’s lobby transformed into a creative play space for students and families with games and activities, a photo booth, and a wide variety of food and beverages for everyone to enjoy.

 Parent and teen volunteers Josephine Marjieh and Ramez Marjieh strike a pose for the Performathon photo booth.

“It takes a community and team effort to make this event a success,” Conservatory Development Officer Aishling Quinn said. “We are very fortunate to have dedicated sponsors, students and their families, staff, faculty, and board members.”

To raise funds this year, the Conservatory held a raffle with exciting prizes to include a J. Strauss & Son upright piano, as well as high value items donated from P.C. Richard & Son, such as a 55’’ LG LED Ultra HD 4K Smart TV, two Nintendo Switch game consoles, and a 15.6” HP laptop. This is P.C. Richard & Son Builders Division’s 3rd consecutive year supporting the Conservatory’s Performathon. The raffle drawing was on Friday, December 14th (see winning ticket numbers below).

Donated food and goods from vendors around Westchester, 7-Eleven, Buon Amici, Burger King, City Limits, CVS, Domino’s, Dunkin, GoldenKrust, Green Organic Market, KFC, La Famiglia Pizza, McDonald’s, Nesto’s, O Mandarin, Planet Pizza, Sam’s Club, ShopRite, Starbucks, Stop & Shop, Subway, and Walgreens, played a large part in the community atmosphere at the Conservatory during Performathon. 

Congratulations to our Performathon Raffle Winners!!!

Please see below for winning ticket numbers...

HP Laptop: #0528

Nintendo Switch (1): #0679 

Nintendo Switch (2): #0827

LG LED Ultra HD 4K Smart TV: #0167

J. Strauss & Son Upright Piano: #0779

Please know all raffle winners have been contacted. 

Thank you to everyone who participated!