Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Music Conservatory of Westchester Students Play (Music) to Win

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

2018 is already a winning year for the Music Conservatory of Westchester community! The Conservatory is proud of its students who have been recognized by the greater music community for their talents and hard work. Several students in our musical community received honors for their musical accomplishments and have had incredible performance opportunities so far this year. Congratulations to all of our students who have proved that practice does pay off!

Aniketh Arvind, 12 year old piano student since 2016 of Dr. Mikhail Zeiger at the Conservatory, won first place in the J.Y. Park Piano Competition in April 2018 at Western Connecticut State University, and performed at the Winner’s Recital and Award Ceremony. His teacher, Dr. Zeiger won the Teacher’s Award at the award ceremony.

Sarah Ashley Baldeon, 13 year old voice student of Christine Free-Rhodebeck since 2016, won second prize at the New York Concert Festival International Competition and performed at Engelman Recital Hall at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City in April 2018.

Alice Cabral, 12 year old student of Mary Elizabeth Poore, voice, and Francesco Barone, guitar, since 2013, and recipient of the Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship, presented at the Conservatory’s 2017 Golf and Tennis Classic, is now a contestant of the Celebration of Music Talent Search where she will perform at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford, CT live on PBS in a talent showcase on April 27, 2018.

Amanda Crewey, 13 year old cello student of Adriana Pera at the Conservatory since 2009, was offered admission to Special Music School (instrumental) and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (instrumental and vocal). She accepted a spot in the instrumental program at LaGuardia.

Benjamin Gotian, 17 year old saxophone student of Nicholas Brust since 2017, received a talent scholarship to Muhlenburg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Jones, 13 year old cello student of David Krieger, was awarded the esteemed Grand Prix at the Concert Festival Concerto Competition. A student of both David Krieger, cello, and Svetlana Gorokhovich, piano, since 2011, Elizabeth will perform with the Concert Festival Orchestra on May 6, 2018.

Audrey Yusi Li, 10 year old piano student of Jaejin Lee since, 2013 performed at the New York Celebration of Excellence Award recital in February 2018 at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and was recognized as a Center Certificate of Excellence Winner.

Patrick Stanton, 12 year old clarinet student of Dr. Doug Bish since 2010, performed at the New York Celebration of Excellence Award recital in February 2018 at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and was a National Gold Medal Winner.

Mariana Varriano, 13 year old piano student of Laetitia Ruccolo at the Music Conservatory of Westchester since 2014, won at the Golden Key Music Festival and will perform at Carnegie Hall on April 29, 2018.

Matthew Welling, 12 year old MTI student of music therapists James Maxson and Donald Stevens since 2010, performed in March at the Beacon Theater in New York City and with the Band O.A.R., and at Radio City Music Hall with the Garden of Dreams Alumni Choir. Both events were fundraisers for the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

Ruimin Zhang, 12 year old piano student of Marina Rozozhina since 2012, won second place in the 2018 New York Competition for Young Artists, and will perform at the award recital at Carnegie Hall on May 10, 2018.

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 For more information about the contest guidelines and to complete the submission form, visit:

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 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.

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.”

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.

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!

Congratulations to our NYSSMA All-Stars!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The following students all achieved a perfect score on their NYSSMA assessments. Congratulations to all our students and their teachers for doing an amazing job this year!

  • Ahonesty Nisbett, 7th grade, piano student of Juliet Gopoian
  • Adrian Pascual, 8th grade, cello student of Tatiana Longo
  • Kohko Kamimura, 6th grade, cello student of Nelly Rocha
  • Tiana Kaga, 3rd grade, voice student of Mary Elizabeth Poore
  • Elise Kang, 4th grade, and Ben Wien, 5th grade, French horn students of Amanda Tabor
  • Dylan Jansky, 9th grade, violin student of Tatiana Feigin
  • Luis-Joshua Casenas, 4th grade, Suzuki violin student of Kate Branch
  • Paul Gschneidner, 9th grade, voice student of Thomas Jamerson
  • Melody Yunong Wu, 1st grade, piano student of Haodong Wu, received a near perfect score
  • Amanda Crewey, 7th grade, cello student of Adriana Pera, received a near perfect score
  • Augustus Cai, 5th grade, trumpet student of David Hurd, received a near perfect score
We are so proud of you!

Conservatory to Celebrate its Own Along with Stars at Golf & Tennis Classic

Monday, May 22, 2017

On June 26, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold a star-studded awards dinner following its 16th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icon Darlene Love and Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri. Yet, it’s two members within the not-for-profit community music school’s community who arguably might be the biggest stars of the show.


Darlene Love


Gianna & Chazz Palminteri

Laurence Keiser, who joined the Conservatory’s board in 2000 and currently serves as its Vice President, will receive the White Plains’ organization’s Distinguished Leadership Award for his years of service. “He is incredibly generous in every way, supporting our mission, serving as Vice President, and connecting us to important community resources,” Jean Newton, the organization’s executive director, said.

“My philosophy may differ from that of some of my fellow board members, but we respect each other’s positions for the good of the Conservatory. I greatly respect the talents and dedication of those with whom I work,” Keiser said.


Laurence Keiser

And while he's “humbled” by receiving the honor, the White Plains resident stressed “I don’t do what I do for recognition. I do it out of love of music and this institution.”

Speaking of a love of music, Alice Cabral of Hawthorne will also have a big night on June 26. The 12-year-old voice student has shared her love of music with the Conservatory, and has honed her skills there since 2013. She will be the first recipient of the Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship that evening.

“Our Scholarship Program breaks down financial barriers, giving every student a chance to fulfill their musical dreams,” Newton said.  “Alice exemplifies this – she’s a dedicated, talented student and a wonderful young person.  We’re so proud of her.”


Alice Cabral

So is Alice’s mom Elsa Cabral.  “It is an honor and a privilege to receive this scholarship under the name of Darlene Love. Alice is a very capable girl, she is persistent and responsible. I always tell her that with hard work, she can make her dreams come true.”

She continued, “I extend my thanks to the Music Conservatory. Thank you very much for believing in her and giving her this great opportunity.”

Keiser and Cabral are part of a big evening for the Conservatory. Love will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for her career in the arts. Chazz and wife Gianna will receive the Arts Achievement and Community Leadership Award for their extensive film and theatre credits, charitable work, and arts advocacy.

Performances by Tony-celebrated artists will follow the awards ceremony.  Two-time Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis will emcee and perform along with Tony nominees Robert Cuccioli and Mary Bridget Davies. Tony winner Adriane Lenox will also perform.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the school’s Music Therapy Institute, which provides music programs for those with special needs, its Healing Our Heroes program which provides music therapy for returning military veterans, and its Scholarship program for low-income students.

To purchase tickets or sponsorships, visit For more information or to schedule an interview with any of the honorees or performers, please contact Jon Chattman at


Conservatory a Finalist in Mommy Poppins Bestie Awards!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
We've been nominated as the
"Best Place to Learn How to Play an Instrument"
Vote to help us win!

Cast your vote at
and be automatically entered to win a stay at Great Wolf Lodge or tickets to Quassy Amusement Park and Waterpark.

Save the Date for an Amazing Night!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We are thrilled to announce
that on June 26, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold a star-studded awards ceremony in which it will honor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend, Darlene Love, and Oscar-nominated star of screen and stage, Chazz Palminteri and his wife Gianna Palminteri. It will also award a longtime member of our board of trustees, Laurence Keiser, for his leadership.

Following the awards presentation, a cabaret performance of Tony Award - celebrated artists will light up the night. This is an event you won't want to miss!