Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

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.

Conservatory Students Perform at Carnegie Hall

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Conservatory Students Honored at New York Celebration of Excellence Award Recital

  Music Conservatory of Westchester students Audrey Yusi Li of Scarsdale and Patrick Stanton of White Plains (front) performed and won awards for their musical achievements encouraged by their teachers Jaejin Lee and Dr. Douglas Bish (back) at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, February 18, 2018.

White Plains community music school Music Conservatory of Westchester students Audrey Yusi Li, of Scarsdale and Patrick Stanton, of White Plains took to the stage at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, February 18 for the New York Celebration of Excellence Award Recital.

Representing two of 48 performing students from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, Audrey was recognized as a Center Certificate of Excellence Winner, and Patrick as a National Gold Medal Winner.

Presented by the Royal Conservatory of Music, this performance opportunity at the Celebration of Excellence recital is for music students taking private lessons who have reached a national standard for achievement, determined by periodic performance evaluations as part of the program.

Piano student Audrey has been studying at White Plains community music school Music Conservatory of Westchester since 2013 under instruction of Jaejin Lee. “I’m turning 10 next week. I think it’s the perfect way to close being 9 years old,” Audrey said of her Carnegie Hall debut performing Creole Lullaby by Italo Taranta.

Of her experience at the Music Conservatory of Westchester, Audrey said, “I started piano with Ms. Lee at the Conservatory from the kindergarten year. She helped me develop the fundamentals and musical sensitivity. There are lots of performance and audition opportunities here that motivate me to work harder. I enjoy playing piano.”

For his second time performing at Carnegie Hall, 12-year-ol d clarinet student, Patrick Stanton, performed Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, accompanied by Music Conservatory of Westchester piano faculty member Song Gonzalez, at the New York Celebration of Excellence Award Recital. He studies clarinet at the Music Conservatory of Westchester with Dean of Students and Faculty, Dr. Douglas Bish. “Once I was accepted to the concert, I only had a month to prepare, and Dr. Bish helped me sort through the options I had to choose from, and gave me practice suggestions that let me succeed.”

Music Conservatory of Westchester Dean of Students and Faculty and Patrick’s clarinet instructor Dr. Douglas Bish, said, “Even the youngest of our students receive thorough training in the essential techniques of playing an instrument or singing, but also the musical insights and stage presence that allow them to communicate effectively with their audiences.”

Recalling the “outstanding” performances by Music Conservatory of Westchester students at Carnegie Hall, Dr. Bish continued, “This really is the world’s grandest stage.”

Feldenkrais Workshop for Musicians Coming to the Conservatory!

Friday, February 16, 2018

 Feldenkrais for Musicians Workshop

Tuesday, March 13th 4:30-7:30pm

with Dr. Lisa M. Burrell 

(Free and Open to the Public)

The Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education® is a movement-based educational modality created by the late Ukranian-born physicist and Judo master Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais. Musicians, dancers, athletes and other high-level performers have turned to Feldenkrais® in recent years to learn ease and fluidity in refined skills. Smooth, efficient movement yields healthier technique that can help overcome and avoid injury.

In Feldenkrais® lessons we explore patterns of movement that are often unfamiliar and puzzling in order to expand our awareness throughout ourselves, stimulate the development of new neural connections in the brain and allow us to expand our choices for how we think, feel and move. With more options, we can become free of the repetitive patterns that inhibit and injure us.

This freedom often allows people to not only feel better, stronger and more productive, but also can allow for enhanced expressivity, creativity, and communication.


Developmental Moves Workshop (ages 3-5) 4:30-5:00pm
We will explore movement of animals in contra and ipsilateral walking and crawling patterns, games with cross-body patterns, balance, and other age-appropriate movement puzzles. Mini-musicians are in various stages of development of handedness and coordination. This workshop provides a developmental boost for little musicians to explore some of the necessary connections useful in the finer motor skill and rhythmic challenges of playing an instrument. Parents are encouraged to attend!

Coordinating Our Bodies for Instrumental Success (ages 6-8) 5:00-5:45pm
In this workshop we will more advanced movement activities helpful in refining coordination, rhythm, articulation, balance, and posture. We will explore some contralateral and ipsilateral patterns of movement, tongue twisters, and differentiated movements of the eyes, jaw, arms, legs, head, and torso. We will explore activities in sitting, standing, and lying on the floor, so comfortable clothing for easy movement is important. Parents are welcome to attend!

Group Awareness Through Movement Lesson (ages 9 - adults) 5:45-6:30pm
Following a brief description of the Feldenkrais Method and it’s relevance with musicians, we will engage in one of Moshe Feldenkrais’s original Awareness Through Movement sequences. The lesson will be about 35 minutes long and involve lying and sitting on the floor. Please wear comfortable clothing for easy movement and bring a TOWEL or YOGA MAT to lie on.

Feldenkrais Masterclass (all ages) 6:30-7:30
Invited students will perform on their instruments. We will look at ways to apply ideas from the Feldenkrais Method directly to learning and practice with instrument in hand. Work with each student will also allow opportunities for audience participation and questions.

Dr. Lisa Burrell is a violinist, violist, string clinician, and a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner®. She is on the faculty of Lone Star College in Houston, TX, and the summer faculty of the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary and the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival. In addition to performing, she is a regular clinician in the Houston public schools, giving an average of 60 clinics yearly, emphasizing pedagogy that promotes healthy playing through movement-based learning. She sees professional musician clients to prevent and overcome injuries/difficulties associated with neurological issues, repetitive strain, and performance anxiety.

Conservatory Mourns Passing of Sari Magaziner

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Conservatory mourns the passing of Sari Magaziner, wife of longtime faculty member Elliot Magaziner who has taught here for over 35 years. Our deepest sympathies to Elliot and his family.

Summer Open Houses Around the Corner!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Get to know the Music Conservatory of Westchester Summer Programs at our upcoming Open Houses on:
Tuesday, February 6 6:30-8pm
Tuesday, February 27 6:30-8pm
Saturday, March 10 10am-12pm

Sign up for the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s Summer Music Programs today! Call 914-761-3900 or visit

The Conservatory 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!

Celebrate the Piano with this Free Concert Series

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2:00 pm North Castle Library
Saturday, March 24, 3:00 pm White Plains Library
Sunday, April 15, 2:00 pm Ossining Library

Join Us for a Livestream Masterclass with PubliQuartet

Monday, January 22, 2018

On Saturday, February 10, Associated Chamber Music Players will be holding a Live Stream Chamber Music Masterclass featuring PUBLIQuartet, recipient of the 2015 CMA/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming. The free two-hour masterclass will be held at the National Opera Center in NYC with a multi-camera crew where award-winning, PUBLIQuartet, will be conducting sessions on Astor Piazzola's Oblivion and Prokofiev's Quartet No. 2 (2nd movt). Attendance for the live event in NYC is free, click here to register!

Join your fellow students and musicians at the Music Conservatory of Westchester and experience this unique event together! The Conservatory is inviting anyone interested to view the live stream on Feb 10th from 2:30 - 4:30pm in Rm 203. Participants will be able to submit questions or comments through a live chat feed. Those unable to make it Saturday can still tune into the live stream at home. To find out more information about PUBLIQuartet, how to view and downloading scores go to:

Livestream Masterclass Facebook Event

Free Baby & Me Music Classes at Local Libraries

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This New Year, Music Conservatory of Westchester of White Plains is giving Westchester County families a chance to experience their 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, New Rochelle, Greenburgh, and Ossining during early afternoon hours in 22 total classes starting January 20 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:

New Rochelle Public Library 

1:00pm, 3-5 yrs
Jan 20, Jan 27, Feb 3, Feb 10, Feb 17
Greenburgh Public Library
1pm, 4mo-2 yrs & 1:45pm, 2-4 yrs
March 3, March 17, March 24
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

Students Excel In and Outside the Conservatory

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Congratulations to MCW Music Therapy Student Matthew Welling (age 12), student of James Maxson and Donald Stevens
• Matthew was part of a group of Garden of Dreams kids that sang the National Anthem at the NY Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, 12/10.
• Matthew has been a student at the Conservatory since 2010.

Congratulations to MCW Student Audrey Li (age 9), student of Jaejin Lee, piano
• Audrey received an honor from the latest Royal Conservatory MDP assessment. She scored best in level 2 in the Center Certificate of Excellence.
• Audrey has been a student at the Conservatory since 2013.

Congratulations to MCW Student Patrick Stanton (age 12), student of Enid Press and Doug Bish, clarinet
• Patrick has won the National Gold Medal, State Certificate of Excellence, and Center Certificate of Excellence for level 4.
• Patrick has been a student at the Conservatory since 2010.

Congratulations to MCW Student Benjamin Gotian (age 17), student of Nicholas Brust, saxophone
• Benjamin received a talent scholarship (saxophone), to Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.
• Benjamin has been a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Conservatory Awarded $500,000 REDC Grant

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Governor Cuomo Announced More than $755 Million in Economic and Community Development Resources Awarded Through 2017 Regional Council Competition

Recently, the Regional Economic Development Council announced its Grant Awards for 2017 and the Music Conservatory of Westchester is thrilled to announce it has been awarded a $500,000 grant toward facilities improvements and upgrades.

The funds, offered as a challenge grant, will cover half of the costs of a piano technology lab, recording studio, percussion studio, and new studios for jazz, ensembles and music therapy. New technology-based classrooms and programs will create construction jobs, teaching positions, and attract new, diverse students. The Conservatory will be fundraising for it's half of the challenge grant this year, and the $1 million project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

The details of the grant and the Conservatory's plans are highlighted in Westfair Communications' recent article, "In evolving music world, Music Conservatory of Westchester plans $1 million upgrades," by Ryan Deffenbaugh.

The Conservatory would like to thank all of its supporters in the community that made this grant award possible and looks forward to implementing these improvements. Click here for more information on the REDC and to view the official announcement on page 110 of the booklet click here.