Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Tango Band Abaddón to Perform at the Conservatory

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Brush up on your tango dance steps! On Friday, October 27, the Music Conservatory of Westchester will host tango band Abaddón for a tango concert at 7:30PM in the Conservatory’s Recital Hall. The event will offer the option to dance or sit while enjoying the live tango music. Refreshments will be included with admission. Tickets are available for purchase online at for $20 and available at the door for $25.

Abaddón is a sextet of New York City-based musicians with members hailing from Colombia, Argentina, Korea, Guatemala, and the U.S.A., comprised of two bandoneons, two violins, piano, and bass. Band members Shinjoo Cho (bandoneon), David Hodges (bandoneon), Sergio Reyes (violin), Sara Silva (violin), Antonio Boyadjian (piano), and Pablo Lanouguere (bass) play music by well-known tango musicians such as Astor Piazzolla, Raul Garello, Sexteto Mayor, as well as original compositions. Abaddón’s debut album will be released in 2017, featuring six pieces intended to make a statement in the contemporary tango scene. The group performed at the Bronx World Film Festival in 2016, and individually, group members have performed in orchestras and tango groups both domestically and internationally. Abaddón violinist Sara Silva is also on the faculty at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

For more information about this event, contact Adriana Rivera, Communications and Development Assistant, at or 914-761-3900.

Back to School means Back to Music! Announcing Fall Open Houses

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Music Conservatory of Westchester, voted Best of Westchester’s “Best Music School” of 2017, is offering Open Houses at their 216 Central Ave. White Plains, NY location Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons in August and September. Prospective students and parents are invited to explore the Conservatory’s robust roster of classes that appeal to the diverse musical interests of children, teens, and adults.

Open House dates:
Saturday, August 12th 10:00am-1:00pm CANCELED
Tuesday, August 22nd 5:00-7:00pm
Wednesday, August 23rd 5:00-7:00pm
Tuesday, September 5th 5:00-7:00pm
Saturday, September 9th 10:00am-1:00pm
Tuesday, September 12th 5:00-7:00pm
Saturday, September 16th 10:00am-1:00pm

The Conservatory extends its class schedule to 7 days per week this fall, perfect for busy students and parents to keep music education a priority. Featured this fall is Suzuki Piano, the newest addition to our Suzuki instrumental program; First Notes for Babies and Toddlers; Intro to Rock Band; Hip-Hop Music Workshop; Buckets & Beats drumming class; Honors Program for serious teen musicians. Come visit us for an Open House this fall and join a musical community like no other!


Music Conservatory Reaches New Heights With Annual Golf & Tennis Classic

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Laurence Keiser, Board Vice President, of West Harrison accepting the “Distinguished Leadership Award” at the 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic benefiting the programs at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Event Shatters Record; Nets $245,000 to Benefit Its Signature Programs

Records are meant to be broken. Last week, the Music Conservatory of Westchester reached an all-time high with $245,000 raised in net proceeds at its 16th Annual Golf & Tennis Classic, shattering last year’s record ($127,000) by nearly double – and that number will expand as donations continue to come in.  The not-for-profit organization held the 16th incarnation of their premier fundraising event once again at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase.

The June 26 event began with a round of golf and tennis followed by a celebratory awards dinner. This year's entertainment was emceed by Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis and featured performances by fellow Tony nominees Robert Cuccioli and Mary Bridget Davies. Awards were presented to longtime Conservatory trustee and well-known attorney Laurence Keiser, entertainers and charitable couple Chazz and Gianna Palminteri, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love.

"This was the most successful event the Conservatory has had in the 22 years I’ve been here,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “From start to finish, it was a triumph, and everyone had a great time!”  She noted that it was the first time in its history that the Golf & Tennis Classic "sold out." There were 120 golf players on the greens that day, and a 300-seat capacity ballroom filled for the entertainment that followed.

Cheryl and Joel Breitkopf, Board President of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, of Scarsdale take in the beautiful day at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase, NY.

Newton said many factors contributed to this year's success. First and foremost, the dedicated board of trustees helped ensure success. "They invited all their friends and colleagues to share in the festivities.” she said. “They truly love this organization and want to spread the word to everyone they know."

The executive director, who resides in Edgemont, also noted that her staff worked "around the clock" to make sure every detail was taken care of and that everything would proceed without a hitch. "This event was seamless. I'm so grateful to our staff," she said.

Lastly, Newton thanked everyone who came out to support the event, the "beautiful" club, and the show-stopping performers and honorees. The weather, she joked, also deserves some credit. "It was a gorgeous day," she said.

Keiser received the first award of the night for his Distinguished Leadership. Keiser, a partner at the White Plains-based law firm of Stern Keiser & Panken, LLP, is currently the board's vice president and has served since 2000. Last year’s honoree Rodd Berro, a longtime board member and past president, presented the award to Keiser. Berro's speech emphasized his colleague’s dedication and hard work, which he does with modesty and humility, for love of the institution – not for the recognition. Following a poignant speech by Keiser, his son Ross, a former vocal student at the Conservatory, paid tribute to his dad with a special performance.

Former student of the Music Conservatory of Westchester Ross Keiser of Armonk singing an aria in honor of his father, Laurence, who was honored at the 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic benefit.

Chazz and Gianna Palminteri received the Conservatory's Arts Achievement and Community Leadership Award for their extensive charitable work, their arts advocacy, and of course, their film credits.  Chazz Palminteri in particular has over 50 film credits including Bullets Over Broadway (Oscar nomination), The Usual Suspects, and A Bronx Tale, for which he was the writer and co-star. In her acceptance speech Gianna stressed the importance of the arts, while Chazz drew on a line from his signature Tale (and a phrase from his own father) - “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” pointing out that the Conservatory ensures that no talent is left unfulfilled.

Chazz Palminteri, Gianna Palminteri, Jon Chattman of Mamaroneck, and Jean Newton, Executive Director, of Scarsdale presenting the “Arts Achievement & Community Leadership Award” to the Palminteri’s.

Music icon Darlene Love rounded out the evening by receiving the Conservatory’s Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Board member Nancy Goodman of Larchmont. Conservatory voice student Alice Cabral of Hawthorne was named the first recipient of the Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship. After many thank yous and before bidding adieu, Love ended her speech the same way that she did during her acceptance speech at the 2014 Academy Awards (she represented the forgotten voices featured in the winning documentary film 20 Feet From Stardom):  “I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,” she sang. As they did at the Dolby Theatre, the audience gave her a standing "O."

Darlene Love singing as she accepts her “Lifetime Achievement Award,” an honor bestowed by the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

The whole event deserves a standing ovation, according to Board President Joel Breitkopf.  “The board is so grateful that we were able to get record-breaking support from families and the business community that will contribute mightily to our scholarships,” he said. “Our children, seniors and veterans are going to benefit by the tremendous success of our best golf and tennis outing ever.”

Proceeds of the event will support three programs that are the heart and soul of the Conservatory: its Music Education Program for students of all ages, its Music Therapy Program for students with disabilities, and its Healing Our Heroes Program for Military veterans. The Conservatory awards sliding-scale scholarships for low income students and full scholarship for military veterans to participate in these programs. Founded in 1929, the Conservatory has provided the extraordinary benefits of music to everyone in the community for nearly 90 years.

Watch News12 coverage of this event HERE.

 Emcee for the annual fundraiser and Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis singing “Don’t Stop Believing” from the Broadway musical Rock of Ages.

 Music Conservatory of Westchester student and Darlene Love Vocal Scholarship recipient Alice Cabral of Hawthorne, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Darlene Love pose together at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 16th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic

Gianna Palminteri, Laurence Keiser, and Chazz Palminteri, all Westchester County residents and honorees of the evening stand together in support of the Music Conservatory of Westchester music scholarships.

Enter to Win tickets to the Cliburn Piano Competition Live on the Big Screen

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition


June 10th at 1:00pm 


Every four years, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition brings the world's best pianists to Fort Worth, TX to compete for the coveted Cliburn gold medal. For the first time in its history, the seventeen day competition will culminate on the big screen with concerto performances by six finalists accompanied by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Leonard Slatkin.

The Boston Globe once called The Cliburn “a cross between the Miss America Pageant, the Olympic Games, the Academy Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.” 

Don't miss the stunning conclusion of this major American cultural event LIVE in select cinemas nationwide. Plus, catch an exclusive interview with Maestro Leonard Slatkin and other classical music VIPs


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


Mother’s Day Piano Concert

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Join us for a musical Mother's Day. Make her feel special with a concert by the talented piano students of the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

This free family concert will take place Sunday, May 14th at 2pm at the Grinton Will Public Library, 1500 Central Park Ave in Yonkers. This concert is supported by the Westchester Community Foundation, The Rudyard and Emanuella Reimss Fund.


MCW Faculty John Lang Headlines at Local Restaurant

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

La Chinita Poblana of Irvington has spent its first year captivating the culinary senses - featuring the taste and smells of delicious traditional dishes and drinks prepared fresh by a world-class staff, alongside the sight of modern decor accented by classic paintings by native Mexican artists. It’s no wonder the New York Times and Westchester Magazine praise La Chinita as one of the best mexican restaurants in the region.

And now, Chef Juan Aguilar now sets a new standard in excellence for a different sense. Sound.

La Chinita is proud to present Wine and Jazz Wednesdays. Every Wednesday from 6 to 8 pm, renowned bassist John Lang and some of New York City’s best known jazz musicians will perform perennial favorites from the great American songbook. Special musical guests will add an element of surprise making every Wednesday a unique experience!

Wine lovers will indulge in featured wine specials, music lovers will delight in classic swinging sounds, and everyone will do what they have always done at La Chinita - fall in love with fresh, creative Mexican regional cooking.

Join us every Wednesday to see old friends, make new ones, and indulge in the best food and music Westchester has to offer. Featured musicians, wines and more are online 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.

Join Us for a Special Recital for Piano & Strings

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Please join us for a special Recital for Piano and Strings, Saturday, April 22nd at 3pm in the Recital Hall. Recital is free and open to all!

It will feature music by Brahms, Mozart and Granados performed by Mansoon Han Kim, piano and Suzanne Wagor, viola. Special guests will be Kate Dreyfuss, violin and Nelly Rocha, cello.

MCW Students Do Amazing Things!

Friday, March 03, 2017

Here are a couple examples of Conservatory students doing amazing things! Congratulations to all!

MCW Student Elizabeth Jones (age 12, student of David Krieger, cello, and Svetlana Gorokhovich, piano) has recently won American Fine Arts Festival Competition where she received 1st Prizes in cello and piano.

Elizabeth also became a Grand Prix winner in cello and received 1st Prize in piano at Concert Festival Competition. She will perform at winners concerts in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center this spring. Elizabeth has been a student at MCW since 2011.

MCW Student Timothy Guida (age 13, student of Svetlana Gorokhovich, piano) was a Grand Prix winner of NY Concert Festival International competition and will be performing with other winners in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on March 19th. Timothy has been a student at MCW since 2012. Best of luck Timothy!

Interlochen logo

MCW Student Jad Benslimane (age 10, student of Adriana Pera, cello) was accepted to the 4-week Advanced String Program at Interlochen this summer. Jad has been a student at MCW since 2010.