Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


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’ Nänie.

Visit www.westchesterchoralsociety.org 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 www.musicconservatory.org/musical-masters-lecture-series. 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
914-761-3900

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!

StudyPrep Series Comes to the Conservatory

Friday, November 30, 2018

 

Want better grades? Want higher test scores? Want to be a better student? The Music Conservatory of Westchester is partnering with Novella Prep to bring an introductory study skills course to students in grades 7-12. 

In this StudyPrep introductory course from Novella Prep, students will learn how to achieve success by applying these two types of skills:

Will Skills
1. Increase motivation
2. Improve focus
3. Develop teacher rapport
4. Manage priorities
5. Enhance self-advocacy
6. Implement goal-setting

Study Skills
1. Increase retention
2. Refine information filtering
3. Structure note-taking ability
4. Enhance critical thinking
5. Implement effective study habits
6. Improve content comprehension

Sessions will take place in four 1 hour sessions at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains.

  • Wednesday, January 9th at 7pm
  • Wednesday, January 16th at 7pm
  • Wednesday, January 23rd at 7pm
  • Wednesday, January 30th at 7pm

Tuition: $250 for four sessions

Students will, after completing these four sessions, have been taught how to be better note-takers, will know how much time they should spend on homework, will know how to build rapport with teachers toward their goals, and will appreciate more how much being disciplined as a student, therefore connected to preparing for college and beyond.

Session 1: Students will assess their personal and academic success and goals, learn new time utilization techniques, and create a more effective homework schedule.
Session 2: Students will improve outline and note-taking skills, and learn how to build better rapport with teachers.
Session 3: Students will examine their progress developing Will Skills and Study Skills through goals set during the first session.
Session 4: Students will compare their progress from their first session, better understanding the 3R’s Retention, Relationships, and Responsibility.

For More Information and to Enroll:
Tony Di Giacomo, Ph.D., 914-586-2800, events@novellaprep.com, https://novellaprep.com/

Music Conservatory of Westchester
216 Central Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606

Conservatory Students to Perform at WinterFest in Downtown White Plains!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

  

Come see Conservatory Suzuki and Jazz Band Students Perform at WinterFest in Downtown White Plains!

Thursday, December 20th, 2018 from 5-7pm
Downtown White Plains on Court Street
Visit whiteplainswinterfest.com for more info

The Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains presents student performances from its Suzuki music program, Rock Band, and Jazz Ensemble at WinterFest 2018! Voted Best of Westchester’s ‘Best Music School’ for 2017 and 2018, the Conservatory’s Suzuki students will start with a performance on violin from 5-5:30pm. From 6-7pm, some of the Conservatory’s teen ensembles will entertain with pop and rock songs performed by its Rock Band as well as smooth stylings from its Jazz Ensemble.

Participating performers include:

Suzuki program coordinator, Suzanne Wagor

Rock Band

Alice Cabral, vocals

Jason Ling, keyboard

Charles Gomez-Burke, drums

With special thanks to our intern Nicole Estelami on bass

Jazz Ensemble

Pablo Paucar, tenor saxophone

Joanna Green Delgado, marimba/flute  

Adam Pascual, piano

Jacob Dunefsky, guitar

Hugo Daniel Vera, bass 

James Cardosi, drums

 

Adult Student Performance Hour & Holiday Party

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Come join us at the Adult Student Performance Hour & Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 4th at 7 PM. Award-winning author Amy Nathan will be joining us for the concert to share her newest book, Making Time for Making Music: How to Bring Music into Your Busy Life. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity! You can find out more about Amy Nathan’s books at http://www.amynathanbooks.com/.

Please inquire with your teacher about performing in the concert. All students are invited to attend and support their fellow adult students. Family and friends are invited as well for the concert and the holiday party following the performance. Festivities will include food, drinks, and even a hot chocolate bar!



Raise Funds for Scholarships at Performathon 2018!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

 

At the Music Conservatory of Westchester, students learn much more than how to play music; the White Plains nonprofit music school also teaches the importance of community. On Saturday, December 8th, 2018, the Music Conservatory will hold its Performathon fundraiser, an all-day event featuring 13 hours of student performances and family-friendly activities, to help support the school’s Scholarship Program and new Digital Piano Lab.

For more than 15 years, the Music Conservatory of Westchester has held this event as a fun way to get its student community involved in raising funds for the school’s mission-specific programs, in order to provide the extraordinary benefits to all in our community. The Conservatory’s Scholarship Program makes it possible for financially qualifying students to study at the school who might not otherwise have that opportunity.

“The Conservatory is such a special place. When you walk through our doors, you hear the music and you feel the joy,” said Executive Director Jean Newton. “Performathon brings it all together to share with the entire community.”

The Conservatory’s Digital Piano Lab will create new opportunities for students of all ages in the Westchester County community to hone their keyboard and studio composition skills, tying into the studio facilities that will be constructed on the music school’s lower-level by the end of 2020, thanks to a $500,000 challenge grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.

To raise funds this year, the Conservatory will hold a raffle with exciting prizes to include a beautiful upright piano, as well as a 55’’ LG LED Ultra HD 4K Smart TV, a Nintendo Switch game console, and a 15.6” HP laptop donated by P.C. Richard & Son.

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 a variety of donated food, either homemade by families or from local restaurants. It takes a community effort to organize Performathon and ensure a successful outcome. The entire Conservatory community gets involved including parent and student volunteers, local vendors and food establishments, donors and sponsors, and the Conservatory’s faculty and staff.

Student performance is the centerpiece of the day. Students of all ages will take the stage in the Conservatory’s Helen Demetrios and Michael Stadther Recital Hall 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 proudly play for their family and friends.

Voted Best of Westchester’s “Best Music School” of 2017 and 2018, the Music Conservatory of Westchester raises more than $500,000 each year to support its Scholarship Program, its Music Therapy Institute for children and adults with disabilities, and its Healing Our Heroes Program for military veterans.

For more information about Performathon, please visit http://www.musicconservatory.org/performathon

Donations to the Music Conservatory of Westchester are also accepted here: http://www.musicconservatory.org/giving/donate-now

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.


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