Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester


Performathon Exceeds Expectations Raising Funds for Scholarships and Digital Piano Lab, Plus Raffle Winners!

Thursday, December 13, 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!”

 

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.

 

“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!

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.

Congratulations are in Order!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Congratulations to our amazing students on their wonderful accomplishments!

Congratulations to Ben Wien, age 12, student of Amanda Tabor, horn
• Ben received State Certificate of Excellence and Center Certificate of Excellence for Level 4 in the 2018 Royal Conservatory of Music Certificate Program, an international evaluation standard for music students.
• Ben has been a student at the Conservatory since 2016.

Congratulations to Yusi Audrey Li, age 10, student of Jaejin Lee, piano
• Audrey received State Certificate of Excellence and Center Certificate of Excellence for Level 3 and Level 4 in the 2018 Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
• Audrey has been a student at the Conservatory since 2013.

Congratulations to Olivia DiLallo (age 8), Sydney Harris (age 9), and Rowan Pedraza (age 13), students of Mikhail Zeiger, piano

• Olivia, Sydney, and Rowan received Center Certificate of Excellence for Level A and Level 4 (Rowan) in the 2018 Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
• Olivia has been a student at the Conservatory since 2016.
• Sydney has been a student at the Conservatory since 2014.
• Rowan has been a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Congratulations to Cathy Stanton (age 15) and Agustin Otero (age 17), students of Doug Bish, clarinet

• Cathy was selected for the Area All-State Band, and Agustin was selected for the Area All-State Orchestra.
• Cathy has been a student at the Conservatory since 2008.
• Agustin has been as a student at the Conservatory since 2017.

Community Celebrates Music-Themed Mural at Conservatory Block Party

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

 Associate Director of Programs at ArtsWestchester Sue Abbott,  “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest judge Lynn Honeysett, Mayor of White Plains Thomas Roach, MCW Executive Director Jean Newton, MCW Board President Joel Breitkopf , New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch, student artist Mya Madison Davis of Pelham, student artist Emma Farley, and student artist Ciara Sergi celebrate the ribbon cutting for the music-themed mural painted on its building at the Mural Unveiling Party.

Sunday, September 30th was a beautiful, sunny day for music and art! The Music Conservatory of Westchester invited the entire Westchester County community to a Mural Unveiling Party to celebrate the painting of a music-themed mural on the nonprofit music school’s building on Central Avenue in White Plains. Live music, food trucks, and fun family activities drew more than 150 community members to the Music Conservatory’s campus throughout the exciting afternoon event. Click here to see all the photos!

This new public art collaboration between professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch and Westchester County high school students is made possible with support by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funds for the event were donated by TD Bank, with mobile stage equipment and services provided by the City of White Plains.

“Music and art bring people together like nothing else can,” Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton said during the mural presentation at the event. “We are really thrilled to have this opportunity to do this project and paint this beautiful design on our building.”

Fios 1 News Broadcasted the event!

With the painted mural as a bright and vibrant backdrop for the festive event, students of the Conservatory as well as a faculty band showcased their talents in live musical performances, food trucks from around Westchester County were on premises with diverse cuisine, and event attendees of all ages enjoyed free activities and outdoor games. The Music Conservatory also offered a booth for exploring a sample of instruments taught at the music school and event participant Faust Harrison Pianos was on site sharing information about their piano services.

Conservatory Board President Joel Breitkopf, professional artist Jonathan Villoch, City of White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin joined the Music Conservatory Executive Director in presenting the mural to the community with an address to the event attendees and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Breitkopf explained his initial idea to beautify the Conservatory’s building which started four years ago at a board meeting. “Now it will have an amazing physical presence in the community.”

MCW Board President Joel Breitkopf of Scarsdale, professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch, Mayor of White Plains Thomas Roach, and New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin admire the detail in the collaborative mural design with Westchester County students and professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch.

The collaborative mural design was decided through the Conservatory’s “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest which called upon local Westchester County middle and high school students to submit their artistic vision of what the theme of “multicultural music” means to them. Art experts from Westchester and Manhattan voted to determine the winning design. Mural concepts by Pelham Memorial High School 10th grader Mya Madison Davis and White Plains High School 10th grader Ciara Sergi won the contest in a tie. Emma Farley of New Rochelle, 8th grader at Albert Leonard Middle School and Lucy Schwartzreich of Chappaqua, 12th grader at Horace Greely High School were finalists in the contest.

Student artists Mya Madison Davis, Emma Farley, and Ciara Sergi were in attendance at the Mural Unveiling Party as their talents and creative ideas were celebrated and appreciated by event attendees.

Over the summer, winning students Mya Madison Davis and Ciara Sergi participated in a mural art workshop with professional artist Jonathan Villoch for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the final design together.

“We are very excited to share the mural with you,” Jonathan Villoch said at the mural presentation. “The students really gave it their all. They were here every day, created great ideas, and worked tremendously to complete this project.”

Painters from Mural Painter NYC continue progress on the music-themed mural at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Mayor Thomas Roach emphasized the importance of the arts as a critical element of education for youth in presenting the mural to the community. “I am particularly pleased that we got young people involved. I feel strongly that we need the arts. The arts bring the most out of young people,” he said. “This will not only brighten people’s day, but let people know the wonderful things that are happening inside this building every day.”

“It’s really a great day,” New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, addressing the crowd, “When you think about the importance of art in all of our lives, it is so incredibly important for all of us. The Conservatory has been that presence in our community for a long time.”

Mural Painter NYC, a group of artists specializing in hand painted murals in the Tri-State area, is currently finishing painting the colorful design on the Music Conservatory of Westchester building’s south-facing wall.

Executive Director Newton added, “This is definitely something people will notice!”

Join Us for Some Free Family Fun at Our Mural Unveiling Party

Tuesday, August 07, 2018


The Music Conservatory of Westchester invites the entire Westchester County community for a free outdoor Mural Unveiling Party on Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 1pm-4pm on the Conservatory’s campus at 216 Central Avenue in White Plains! The community music school is celebrating the unveiling of the full-scale painted mural designed by local Westchester County students in collaboration with professional mural artist Jonathan Villoch as part of the “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest. This will be a family-friendly afternoon event with food trucks, live music, face-painting, outdoor activities, and more!

“We are very excited to unveil the finished mural, celebrate and share it with the entire community,” Executive Director Jean Newton said. “It is a thrill to bring art and music together for such a festive event.”

The mural will be unveiled to the community at 2pm with community leaders in attendance and the support of local sponsors Faust Harrison Pianos and Thomson’s Art Supply. Cuisine from a variety of local mobile food vendors as well as live music performed by Conservatory students and faculty, outdoor games and fun activities will entertain attendees of all ages throughout the party.

The “Colors of Music” Student Mural Contest, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for artistic youth in Westchester County to create their vision of what the theme of “Multi-Cultural Music” means to them in a large-scale mural form. Numerous entries were submitted by middle and high school students around Westchester County with the hope that their artwork would be chosen as the basis for a mural to be painted on the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s building on Central Avenue in White Plains.

“This mural project will reflect the Conservatory’s wonderful musical community, the rich diversity of our greater Westchester community, and the vital role music plays in all our lives,” Newton added.

Over the summer, the winning students participated in a week-long collaborative mural art workshop led by Cuban American artist and New York City-based art educator Jonathan Villoch, to develop the final design based on the students’ artwork. Elements of artwork submissions by the contest finalists will also be incorporated into the mural design. In a tie, based on scores from all eight members of the adjudication panel, two students were chosen as winners of the contest.


Winning students Mya Madison Davis, 9th grader from Pelham Memorial High School and Ciara Sergi, 9th grader from White Plains High School, collaborate with mural artist and workshop mentor, Jonathan Villoch, on the final mural design.

“I was happy to nurture the artwork that these students put so much effort into creating,” Jonathan Villoch said. “We will have to wait and see the final painted mural.”

Recently, the City of White Plains has embraced public art projects in the community representing the vibrant diversity of the city and Westchester County. White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach mentioned in a public statement that this community public art project will “not only beautify the city; it will also benefit an important community partner, which is the Conservatory.”

Join the Music Conservatory of Westchester from 1pm-4pm on Sunday, September 30th for an exciting mural unveiling and fun outdoor community party to celebrate how art and music bring people together like nothing else! In the event of inclement weather, the Mural Unveiling Party will have a rain date on Sunday, October 7th from 1pm-4pm at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

Mural Unveiling Party
Date: Sunday, September 30, 2018
(Rain Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018)
Time: 1-4pm
Free Admission
Location: Music Conservatory of Westchester
216 Central Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606


Conservatory Students Continute to Excel in May!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Thirteen-year-old Conservatory student Marina Varriano stuns the audience with her winning performance at Carnegie Hall on April 29, 2018 at the Golden Key International Music Festival.

May is a Musical Month for Conservatory Students! 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 during this month. Congratulations to all of our students who have proved that practice does pay off!

Jad Benslimane, 11 year old cello student of Adriana Pera since 2010, was accepted into the Advanced String Summer Program at Interlochen this upcoming summer and received a perfect score or NYSSMA.

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 performed with the Concert Festival Orchestra on May 6, 2018.

Kenny Poor, 15 year old violin student since2013 of Christina Khimm, received a perfect score for NYSSMA All State Level 6.

Ellie Takaki (age 7), David Takaki (age 10), Audrey Li (age 10), and Abigail Tsuji (age 14), piano students of Jaejin Lee won first place by scoring over 95 for their NYSMTA District 4 auditions. They played in an award recital at 2pm on Sunday, May 20, 2018 in the Conservatory Recital Hall. Ellie and David have been students at the Conservatory since 2015, Audrey has been a student since 2013, and Abigail since 2011.

Marina 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 performed at Carnegie Hall on April 29, 2018.

Serena Xu, 13 year old violin student of Tatiana Feigin since 2017, received a perfect score for NYSSMA.

Daniel Zhang, 13 year old violin student of Tatiana Feigin since 2016, received a perfect score for NYSSMA.

Ruimin Zhang, 11 year old piano student of Marina Rozozhina since 2012, won second place in the 2018 New York Competition for Young Artists, and performed at the award recital at Carnegie Hall on May 10, 2018.

Congratulations to our many talented students!



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