Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Piano faculty Irena Portenko releases new CD

Thursday, October 06, 2016


Congratulations to MCW piano faculty Irena Portenko. Ms. Portenko will celebrate her “Versus” CD release of Tchaikovsky’s First and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerti with the Ukrainian National Orchestra, making musical offerings with her friends: Sergei Kvitko, Svetlana Gorokhovich, Elisabeth Halliday, Jordan Smith and Nargiza Yusupova.

The CD release will take place Saturday, 11/12/16, with a pre-concert at 7:00pm and Concert at 7:30pm. CLICK HERE for more info and tickets.



Celebrating the Life of Marco Quartero

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Please join us for an evening of music in his honor as we celebrate the life of a true original.

Thursday, September 29th at 6:00pm
Music Conservatory of Westchester
216 Central Ave
White Plains, NY 10606

please RSVP to Katie Goulart

Earlier this summer we lost a true original - a talented composer, artist, and friend. Marco Valentino Quartero, the creator and composer of the Ensemble "Tango Quartero," was a fixture in our community, gracing us with his passion for Tango and his warm presence. Marco began taking lessons at the Music Conservatory of Westchester and within a few years, composed numerous Tangos, starting for piano solo and further evolving for duo, trio, quartet and quintet.

The first commision was a Tango for 6 pianos 24 hands by the Conservatory performed at Alice Tully Hall in New York in 2005. In 2011 and 2012, he received two awards for his compositions by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). We'll miss our gifted friend who always had the best interests of our community music school at heart. We'll miss his "Tango Quartero" performances, but take solace in the fact we were able to know him. To know Marco was to love him.


15 Minutes for 15 Years - Honoring Those Who Serve

Thursday, September 01, 2016


On the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, fifteen one-minute works will be premiered at Trinity Church by the West Point Band to honor the memory of men and women who serve. In a unique collaboration, the West Point Band joins contemporary music organization, Vox Novus to present Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: A Celebration of Service. The West Point Band will premiere 15 one-minute pieces created by composers who were responding to the theme “service” and what it means to all different kinds of people - such as military, first responders, community service, and everyday kindness. The West Point Band and Cadet Glee Club from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point will also perform Americana works and the Armed Forces Medley that will stir the patriotic soul of all those in attendance.

The following 15 composers’ works represent this Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame for this performance include: James Anderson, David Avshalomov (winner of the 2014 American Prize), Sy Brandon (recipient of the 2018 Thor Johnson Memorial Commission), Steve Cohen, Harrison J. Collins, Cindi Hsu, Nicholas Ryan Kelly, George David Kieffer (whose fanfare was selected for the Los Angeles Special Olympics,2015), Alan Kinningham, Anthony O'Toole, David R. Peoples, James Peterson (whose work Moving Images Suite was featured at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards), Bradley Sampson, Richard G Smith, and R. Andrew Yates.

These 15 works written specifically for the West Point Band is part of Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame a Vox Novus music project. Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: A Celebration of Service will be premiered by the West Point Band at Trinity Church, 75 Broadway, New York City at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2016.

Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame is a project which features fifteen one-minute works by fifteen composers, written specifically for the performers. The purpose of the project is to promote a great variety of contemporary music to audiences hungry to hear what living composers are writing today.

The West Point Band is the Army’s oldest musical organization and continues to provide world-class music to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets and to serve as ambassadors of the United States Military Academy and the Army to local, national, and international communities. Its innovative programs and performances are enjoyed across the globe through regular television, radio, and recordings. The West Point Band traces its lineage back to a single drummer and fifer left to maintain the tradition of military music at West Point after the Revolutionary War. Over the past 200 years, the band evolved into one of the most capable and versatile professional performing groups in the world.

Vox Novus is a new music production and promotion company. Through concert programs such as Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame, Vox Novus seeks to empower composers, musicians, and community music creators. Finding innovative methods of concert formats and presentation, Vox Novus introduces audiences to the vast wealth of music being created by today’s composers and musicians. Since 2000, Vox Novus has premiered the works of thousands of composers in more than 500 performances throughout the world. Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame creates opportunities for 15 composers to express themselves and have the chance to write for a prominent ensemble. More about Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame can be found on the website

For more information, contact Robert Voisey at



JazzFest coming this September!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Music Conservatory of Westchester Faculty will be performing for this year's JazzFest, September 20-25!

Wednesday is the MCW Jazz Faculty Quartet, featuring Rale Micic on guitar, John Lang on bass, Jake Robinson on drums, and Nicholas Biello on alto saxophone. The ensemble will be performing the music of jazz saxophone legend Michael Brecker, who resided in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester, NY. The Quartet’s members have extensive credentials, ranging from international competition winner to multiple albums to performances at Carnegie Hall, The Village Vanguard, and the Detroit Jazz Festival, to name only a few.

Thursday will be a jazz workshop and presentation at the Conservatory, followed by a jam session for any interested players. Hosted by the MCW Faculty Quartet in the conservatory’s Stadther Recital Hall, the workshop will discuss improvisation and the impact of Michael Brecker on jazz and beyond. The event is free and open to the public.

Don't miss out on this amazing week of jazz! Go to for more details...


MCW Faculty Jaejin Lee will Perform in Hastings-on-Hudson

Thursday, May 26, 2016

 MCW faculty member Jaejin Lee will be performing Saturday, June 4th at the First Reformed Church in Hastings-On-Hudson at 6pm as part of the River Arts Music Tour.

She will be performing with tenor Juan Franco and playing two song cycles by Beethovan and Schumann. For more info click HERE.

Jazz for the Gardens

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Meet the New Dean!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Douglas Bish, our new Dean of Students & Faculty, will begin at the Conservatory this Saturday, April 30. He looks forward to meeting our students and families from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm in the main lobby - feel free to stop by to say a quick “hello,” share your Conservatory experience, and ask him about his previous experience and future plans for our institution.

If you’re not here on Saturday, stop by for any of these Meet the Dean opportunities:

Monday May 2, Tuesday May 3, Wednesday May 4: 4:30-6:00 pm
Thursday, May 12: 4:30-6:00 pm

Dr. Bish returns to the Conservatory after serving on our faculty from 2006-2011, and has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as an academic leader, conductor, clarinetist, educator, author, lecturer, and music clinician. Most recently, he was Dean of the School of Fine, Applied and Communications Arts at the City College of San Francisco. Previously, he served as Chair of the Department of Music for the Nyack Public Schools. He has conducted professional, amateur, and student orchestras and wind ensembles around the world.

Conservatory Student will Perform with Chappaqua Orchestra

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Sakurako Saimaru, winner of The Chappaqua Orchestra’s Concerto Competition, will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Orchestra at their spring concert on Saturday, May 21st, 8:00 pm, at Wallance Auditorium, 480 Bedford Road in Chappaqua. 

The program will also include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and Coriolan Overture. The Conservatory was a sponsor of the Concerto Competition this year.  Our newest faculty member Enid Press (clarinet) plays with the orchestra, and Conservatory student Joe Konno won second place in the competition. 

Tickets are available at or

Suzuki Coordinator Suzanne Wagor will Perform at Carnegie Hall

Thursday, April 14, 2016

 MCW Suzuki Coordinator Suzanne Wagor will perform at Carnegie Hall Sunday, April 17th at 8:30pm. She will be performing at part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York Orchestra.See and hear an exciting combination of dance and music!

"DCINY presents the 20th anniversary of Misatango, in an evening combining the rhythm and melodic design of tango with the ancient beauty of the Latin choral mass. Martin Palmeri’s Misa a Buenos Aires (Misatango) features a chorus of singers from Argentina, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and the Netherlands, as well as soloists from around the globe. Richard Nickerson and Robert Westerberg conduct the Maine Festival Chorus."

Click HERE for more and to purchase tickets.

MCW Faculty Jake Robinson Plays in Ensemble with NYC's Finest Jazz Talent

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Drummer and MCW faculty Jake Robinson performed at renowned NYC jazz club "Smalls" this past February with up and coming trombonist Jimmy O'Connell, playing his original music and arrangements. Featured in this video is an arrangement of the classic J. J. Johnson song "Lament."

O'Connell, an exhilarating player who combines traditional bebop with fresh, contemporary language, leads a fantastic ensemble featuring some of NYC's finest jazz talent. O'Connell's forthcoming debut record promises to bring an inventive yet rooted sound to jazz audiences everywhere. Jimmy is also on Manhattan College's music faculty. To find out more about O'Connell visit his website

Jake is not only faculty at the Conservatory but is also the Assistant Dean and Director of Summer Programs. Send an email to or call 914-761-3900 if you're interested in taking lessons with Jake or in our Summer Music & Arts Programs!