Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


Alumni Spotlight - Regina Brady

Friday, November 09, 2018


Conservatory alumna Regina “Gigi” Brady began piano lessons with us at age 5, discovered the oboe at age 9, and continued her Conservatory studies for 10 years. She gained acceptance to Juilliard Pre-College, graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory with a double degree in Oboe Performance and Neuroscience, and then earned a M.M. in Oboe Performance from the Colburn School in Los Angeles.

“I think having a well-rounded background is an amazing thing,” she said. “It informs everything I do.”

Now 26 years old and a professional oboist, Gigi is currently a member of Orchestra Now at Bard College, a group of musicians who are innovating the 21st century audience experience. Coming from an academic family, a career in music was not her original plan. Gigi found her balance between academics and music.

“I realized that music is something I couldn’t live without. It was the obvious choice.”

Orchestra Now, Photos by: Matt Dine


The Dean's Desk - Fall 2018

Wednesday, November 07, 2018


Always staying current while remaining true to our time-honored musical values, we are moving forward in the areas of music technology and composition.

With our major lower level construction project still more than a year away, we will set up an interim Digital Piano Lab on our second floor. Ten workstations will each have a digital piano, computer, and the latest software – ideal for teaching studio composition, arranging, classical composition, theory and more. The lab will provide training for high school students to hone their 21st century music technology skills and prepare for college and careers. It will also house group piano classes for young children and adults.

Another new trend we’re headlining is our “Singer-Songwriter” program, offering classes and private lessons in this popular art form. Taught by recording artist Melissa Frabotta, this program is for all aspiring songwriters/performers, regardless of age or experience.

For two years running, we have earned the title “Best of Westchester,” in part because of our enthusiasm for adaptation and innovation. For our team of teachers, students, parents, and administrators, this is just the beginning!

Sincerely,
Dr. Douglas Bish
Dean of Students and Faculty


Golden Williams Duo to Present Concert of “Contrasts” for Viola and Cello

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


The Music Conservatory of Westchester will ring in the new year with a concert by the Golden Williams Duo on Thursday, January 3rd at 7:30pm in the community music school’s Recital Hall. Cellist and Conservatory faculty member Diana Golden, and Assistant Principal Violist of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Gregory K. Williams, will perform a program of duos for cello and viola.

This program will include works by composers Rebecca Clarke, Günter Raphael, Caroline Shaw, Paul Wiancko, Jessica Meyer, David Wolfson, and Michael Kosch. Because the twentieth century compositions by Clarke and Raphael are in two contrasting movements, the program was built around the concept of “contrasts.” Within this theme, Wolfson composed his Mood Swings for the Golden Williams Duo and Kosch dedicated two contrasting movements of his Sassetta to the Duo. In all, the concert will highlight compositions by five living composers.  

The Golden Williams Duo first performed together in 2017 at the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold, NY, as members of the Red Door Chamber Players. Most recently, the Golden Williams Duo has performed at the Mountain Springs Music Festival in Orem, Utah, and at the Bi-Annual Conference of the American Viola Society, held at The Colburn School in Los Angeles, California. Additional performances of this program will be held in Manhattan at the concert series of Metropolitan Playhouse and Castle Village, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

About the Music:

Composer Rebecca Clarke (1886–1979) was one of the finest violists and composers of her time. Holding both British and American citizenship, Clarke toured internationally with cellist May Mukle and other chamber musicians. Clarke would have won first prize in the 1919 Berkshire Festival of Chamber Music’s annual composition competition, but was awarded second prize instead when the judges discovered she was a woman. The Lullaby and Grotesque for Viola and Cello (published 1930) shows Clarke’s English musical influences and her Romantic and early twentieth century style. 


Günter Raphael (1903–1960) was a skillful German-Jewish musician whose career was forever altered by the rise of the Nazi Party; he was removed from his posts in 1934, his works banned from public performance. Raphael was ultimately saved by tuberculosis: hidden from the authorities in morgues and sanitariums, Raphael was able to continue to compose in secret, but his music never received the recognition of similarly talented composers who were able to escape Germany or those who were born after World War II. The Duo for Viola and Violoncello, op. 47, no. 4 (1941) is dark in texture and mood, reflecting the turmoil that Raphael faced during this time.

According to New York-based composer Caroline Shaw (b. 1982), her limestone and felt “presents two kinds of surfaces - essentially hard and soft.” The sounds of pizzicato and canons are imagined to be alternately inside the eaves of a gothic chapel or a woolen hat. For Shaw, felt and limestone represents “two opposing ways we experience history and design our own present.” 

American Haiku by Paul Wiancko (b. 1983) was commissioned by Ayane Kozasa and premiered in 2014. A richly-textured duo that incorporates Appalachian fiddling, percussive patterns and Japanese folk-inspired melodies, the piece explores Ayane's background as a Japanese artist growing up in the United States as well as Paul's Japanese-American heritage.

But Not Until by Bronx-based composer Jessica Meyer (b. 1974) is a duo based on a series of ironic interpersonal experiences that reminded the composer of the David Foster Wallace quote, “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” It was written in 2014 for either viola and cello duo or viola duo.

David Wolfson (b. 1964) wrote Mood Swings for the Golden Williams Duo to premiere in December 2018. In addition to being inspired by a theme of contrasts, the title was also inspired by the idea of a musical dialogue that moves through different moods over time. Perhaps the composer was imagining the working relationship exhibited during rehearsals of duo partners who also happen to be married.

Dedicated to the Golden Williams Duo, Sassetta III and IV, by Michael Kosch (b. 1959), are musical responses to the work of the artist (known as Sassetta) Stefano di Giovanni’s “earthly eternity”: his astonishing portrayals of humans encountering the divine, experiences spanning the misery of despair to the ecstasy of revelation. The fifteenth century Sienese painter vividly captured the reality of mystery.


Golden Williams Duo Concert
Thursday, January 3rd at 7:30pm
Free Admission
Music Conservatory of Westchester
216 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606
914-761-3900

A Very Special Musical Afternoon Performance

Monday, November 05, 2018

(from left to right) Kenneth Taber, Jean Newton, MCW Executive Director, Cheryl Breitkopf, Joel Breitkopf, MCW Board President, Aishling Quinn, Development Officer, Andrea Taber, Board Member, Cynthia Ahn, Victor Goldsmith, Board Member, and Carmen Forte, Board Member.

The Conservatory is so proud of our students who participated on Sunday, November 4th in a very special appreciation performance at the home of Board member Andrea Taber! We were thrilled to share our students’ musical talents with our Board of Trustees members and community leaders.

Thank you to our incredible faculty members Hyemin Kang, piano, and Nick Brust, saxophone, and Suzanne Wagor, Suzuki program coordinator for being part of the Conservatory’s Musical Afternoon for our Leaders & Friends. 

Conservatory Jazz Ensemble members Sarah Ashley Baldeon, vocals, James Cardosi, drums, Joanna Green Delgado, flute, Jacob Dunefsky, guitar, Adam Pascual, piano, and Hugo Vera, bass.

Suzuki violin students Erin Lang, Melissa Rosas, and Cecilia Valdes.

 
Solo instrumentalist Adrian Pascual, cello.

 Solo instrumentalist Cathy Stanton, clarinet.

New Singer-Songwriter Program Launched!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Melissa Frabotta, MCW Singer-Songwriter Faculty

Calling all aspiring singer-songwriters! Do you write lyrics and melodies in notebooks? Play an instrument and want to make your own music? You can learn how to successfully put those elements together with training from the new Singer-Songwriter Program at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains. Sign up today!

Currently open for enrollment, this program is taught by professional, independent singer-songwriter Melissa Frabotta aka “Mosa,” who comes to the Conservatory with expansive recording and performance experience in New York City and major cities around the United States and Canada. Students can hone their instrumental skills as they study songwriting and performance, and learn how to be a successful singer-songwriter in the music industry.

“I think musicians should really try and master their craft, whatever that may be. Study hard in a fun positive way, go towards what satisfies you, and become great at it,” Frabotta says.

Recognizing the demand from students with an interest in writing and performing their own songs, the Conservatory developed a curriculum for this new program. The Conservatory encourages interested students to start with a combination of private instrumental lessons to enhance their skills and study the fundamentals of songwriting with Melissa Frabotta. Students enrolled in the program will also have opportunities to share their original music in performances at the Conservatory.

“Music should always be inclusive, not exclusive."

As part of the nonprofit community music school’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Division, the Singer-Songwriter Class adds Frabotta to the Conservatory’s roster of more than 80 expert faculty members. Her most recent album titled “Who We Are” was self-released in October 2018 under the stage name Mosa. She has performed her original music at Rockwood Music Hall, The Bitter End, Mercury Lounge, and other notable New York City music venues, and has toured for performances in such major cities as Nashville, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, and Montreal, QC. Frabotta’s recording experience spans from solo recordings and producing, to vocal session work for various songwriters around the New York Metropolitan area.

“Music should always be inclusive, not exclusive. We're all human, and therefore all are naturally capable of creating, interpreting, and performing music to some extent,” Frabotta explains. “I like to encourage students to always remember that, in order for them to always maintain the natural connection and curiosity towards exploring music.”

Find Mosa at www.mosasings.com and listen to her latest album “Who We Are” at mosa.bandcamp.com/releases
Interested aspiring singer-songwriters and musicians at any level and any genre are welcome to join, learn, and express themselves through melody, lyric, and rhythm.

The Conservatory’s new Singer-Songwriter Program is now open for enrollment! Contact the Music Conservatory of Westchester at 914-761-3900 or info@musiced.org to get started!


Congratulations are in Order!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Congratulations to our amazing students on their wonderful accomplishments!

Congratulations to Ben Wien, age 12, student of Amanda Tabor, horn
• Ben received State Certificate of Excellence and Center Certificate of Excellence for Level 4 in the 2018 Royal Conservatory of Music Certificate Program, an international evaluation standard for music students.
• Ben has been a student at the Conservatory since 2016.

Congratulations to Yusi Audrey Li, age 10, student of Jaejin Lee, piano
• Audrey received State Certificate of Excellence and Center Certificate of Excellence for Level 3 and Level 4 in the 2018 Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
• Audrey has been a student at the Conservatory since 2013.

Congratulations to Olivia DiLallo (age 8), Sydney Harris (age 9), and Rowan Pedraza (age 13), students of Mikhail Zeiger, piano

• Olivia, Sydney, and Rowan received Center Certificate of Excellence for Level A and Level 4 (Rowan) in the 2018 Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
• Olivia has been a student at the Conservatory since 2016.
• Sydney has been a student at the Conservatory since 2014.
• Rowan has been a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Congratulations to Cathy Stanton (age 15) and Agustin Otero (age 17), students of Doug Bish, clarinet

• Cathy was selected for the Area All-State Band, and Agustin was selected for the Area All-State Orchestra.
• Cathy has been a student at the Conservatory since 2008.
• Agustin has been as a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Community Celebrates Music-Themed Mural at Conservatory Block Party

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

 Associate Director of Programs at ArtsWestchester Sue Abbott,  “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest judge Lynn Honeysett, Mayor of White Plains Thomas Roach, MCW Executive Director Jean Newton, MCW Board President Joel Breitkopf , New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch, student artist Mya Madison Davis of Pelham, student artist Emma Farley, and student artist Ciara Sergi celebrate the ribbon cutting for the music-themed mural painted on its building at the Mural Unveiling Party.

Sunday, September 30th was a beautiful, sunny day for music and art! The Music Conservatory of Westchester invited the entire Westchester County community to a Mural Unveiling Party to celebrate the painting of a music-themed mural on the nonprofit music school’s building on Central Avenue in White Plains. Live music, food trucks, and fun family activities drew more than 150 community members to the Music Conservatory’s campus throughout the exciting afternoon event. Click here to see all the photos!

This new public art collaboration between professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch and Westchester County high school students is made possible with support by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funds for the event were donated by TD Bank, with mobile stage equipment and services provided by the City of White Plains.

“Music and art bring people together like nothing else can,” Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton said during the mural presentation at the event. “We are really thrilled to have this opportunity to do this project and paint this beautiful design on our building.”

Fios 1 News Broadcasted the event!

With the painted mural as a bright and vibrant backdrop for the festive event, students of the Conservatory as well as a faculty band showcased their talents in live musical performances, food trucks from around Westchester County were on premises with diverse cuisine, and event attendees of all ages enjoyed free activities and outdoor games. The Music Conservatory also offered a booth for exploring a sample of instruments taught at the music school and event participant Faust Harrison Pianos was on site sharing information about their piano services.

Conservatory Board President Joel Breitkopf, professional artist Jonathan Villoch, City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin joined the Music Conservatory Executive Director in presenting the mural to the community with an address to the event attendees and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Breitkopf explained his initial idea to beautify the Conservatory’s building which started four years ago at a board meeting. “Now it will have an amazing physical presence in the community.”

MCW Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale, professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch, Mayor of White Plains Thomas Roach, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin admire the detail in the collaborative mural design with Westchester County students and professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch.

The collaborative mural design was decided through the Conservatory’s “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest which called upon local Westchester County middle and high school students to submit their artistic vision of what the theme of “multicultural music” means to them. Art experts from Westchester and Manhattan voted to determine the winning design. Mural concepts by Pelham Memorial High School 10th grader Mya Madison Davis and White Plains High School 10th grader Ciara Sergi won the contest in a tie. Emma Farley of New Rochelle, 8th grader at Albert Leonard Middle School and Lucy Schwartzreich of Chappaqua, 12th grader at Horace Greely High School were finalists in the contest.

Student artists Mya Madison Davis, Emma Farley, and Ciara Sergi were in attendance at the Mural Unveiling Party as their talents and creative ideas were celebrated and appreciated by event attendees.

Over the summer, winning students Mya Madison Davis and Ciara Sergi participated in a mural art workshop with professional artist Jonathan Villoch for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the final design together.

“We are very excited to share the mural with you,” Jonathan Villoch said at the mural presentation. “The students really gave it their all. They were here every day, created great ideas, and worked tremendously to complete this project.”

Painters from Mural Painter NYC continue progress on the music-themed mural at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Mayor Thomas Roach emphasized the importance of the arts as a critical element of education for youth in presenting the mural to the community. “I am particularly pleased that we got young people involved. I feel strongly that we need the arts. The arts bring the most out of young people,” he said. “This will not only brighten people’s day, but let people know the wonderful things that are happening inside this building every day.”

“It’s really a great day,” New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, addressing the crowd, “When you think about the importance of art in all of our lives, it is so incredibly important for all of us. The Conservatory has been that presence in our community for a long time.”

Mural Painter NYC, a group of artists specializing in hand painted murals in the Tri-State area, is currently finishing painting the colorful design on the Music Conservatory of Westchester building’s south-facing wall.

Executive Director Newton added, “This is definitely something people will notice!”

Inside the Studio Week - Fall Edition

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

We invite and encourage all parents/guardians during Inside the Studio Week to sit-in and observe their student’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.

This special week also includes a fall social for Adult Students, and coffee and bagel meetup for parents and families. Come and participate in a week of music!

MON, OCTOBER 22ND - SUN, OCTOBER, 28TH

Parent Coffee & Bagel Social
Saturday, October 27th
Recital Hall, 10am-12pm

Westchester Arts Organizations Share the Stage to Discuss the ART of College Planning

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

 

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, Rye-based college planning and academic achievement company Novella Prep will hold a free workshop and Q&A for parents looking to maximize their child’s potential through the arts and get a head start on college planning.  At 6:00pm in the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Recital Hall in White Plains, representatives from several well-established arts organizations in Westchester County will share the stage to offer guidance to parents on how to take advantage of artistic and creative opportunities for their children from the middle school years through the college admissions process.

The program will also be livestreamed via Zoom on Thursday, September 20 starting at 6:30pm. Livestream link is available with digital RSVP to the event.

The focus of the discussion will be how various arts programming ranging from music and visual arts, to theatre and dance can positively impact a child’s development and enhance their college applications. Parents and students in grades 7-12 will gain and understanding of developmental and cognitive benefits of the arts that contribute to academic achievement. The workshop will also integrate insight on how arts participation and enrichment can benefit students applying as any college major.

Participating arts organizations and representatives in attendance will be:

  • Clay Art Center, Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Executive Director
  • Music Conservatory of Westchester, Douglas E. Bish, Ph.D., Dean of Students and Faculty
  • Pelham Art Center, Charlotte Mouquin, Executive Director
  • Random Farms Kids’ Theater, Alexis Grausz, Artistic Director
  • Steffi Nossen School of Dance, Shelley Grantham, Executive Director

During the workshop, Novella Prep founder F. Tony Di Giacomo, Ph.D. will lead the discussion and Q&A session to follow. There will also be time to speak with representatives from the participating arts organizations one-on-one after the Q&A portion of the workshop. Parents are encouraged to bring their children in grades 7-12 to share and learn from the conversation.

The ART of College Planning: A Workshop and Q&A
Date: Thursday, September 20, 2018
Location: Music Conservatory of Westchester, Recital Hal
216 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606
Time: 6:00pm (seating is open), 6:30pm start
Free Admission
RSVP at: goo.gl/forms/w2ca0NzOPsKTNSRu2
Broadcast on Zoom starting at 6:30pm
Questions: Tony DiGiacomo, 914-586-2800, events@novellaprep.com

Join Us for Some Free Family Fun at Our Mural Unveiling Party

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


The Music Conservatory of Westchester invites the entire Westchester County community for a free outdoor Mural Unveiling Party on Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 1pm-4pm on the Conservatory’s campus at 216 Central Avenue in White Plains! The community music school is celebrating the unveiling of the full-scale painted mural designed by local Westchester County students in collaboration with professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch as part of the “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest. This will be a family-friendly afternoon event with food trucks, live music, face-painting, outdoor activities, and more!

“We are very excited to unveil the finished mural, celebrate and share it with the entire community,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “It is a thrill to bring art and music together for such a festive event.”

The mural will be unveiled to the community at 2pm with community leaders in attendance and the support of local sponsors Faust Harrison Pianos and Thomson’s Art Supply. Cuisine from a variety of local mobile food vendors as well as live music performed by Conservatory students and faculty, outdoor games and fun activities will entertain attendees of all ages throughout the party.

The “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for artistic youth in Westchester County to create their vision of what the theme of “Multi-Cultural Music” means to them in a large-scale mural form. Numerous entries were submitted by middle and high school students around Westchester County with the hope that their artwork would be chosen as the basis for a mural to be painted on the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s building on Central Avenue in White Plains.

“This mural project will reflect the Conservatory’s wonderful musical community, the rich diversity of our greater Westchester community, and the vital role music plays in all our lives,” Newton added.

Over the summer, the winning students participated in a week-long collaborative mural art workshop led by Cuban American artist and New York City-based art educator Jonathan Villoch, to develop the final design based on the students’ artwork. Elements of artwork submissions by the contest finalists will also be incorporated into the mural design. In a tie, based on scores from all eight members of the adjudication panel, two students were chosen as winners of the contest.


Winning students Mya Madison Davis, 9th grader from Pelham Memorial High School and Ciara Sergi, 9th grader from White Plains High School, collaborate with mural artist and workshop mentor, Jonathan Villoch, on the final mural design.

“I was happy to nurture the artwork that these students put so much effort into creating,” Jonathan Villoch said. “We will have to wait and see the final painted mural.”

Recently, the City of White Plains has embraced public art projects in the community representing the vibrant diversity of the city and Westchester County. White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach mentioned in a public statement that this community public art project will “not only beautify the city; it will also benefit an important community partner, which is the Conservatory.”

Join the Music Conservatory of Westchester from 1pm-4pm on Sunday, September 30th for an exciting mural unveiling and fun outdoor community party to celebrate how art and music bring people together like nothing else! In the event of inclement weather, the Mural Unveiling Party will have a rain date on Sunday, October 7th from 1pm-4pm at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Mural Unveiling Party
Date: Sunday, September 30, 2018
(Rain Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018)
Time: 1-4pm
Free Admission
Location: Music Conservatory of Westchester
216 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606



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