Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

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.

Students Raise Funds with the Power of Performance

Monday, November 27, 2017


For more than 15 years, the not-for-profit Music Conservatory of Westchester has held an annual fundraiser called Performathon that truly gets its students involved. It’s a marathon day of student performances to raise funds for mission-specific programs at the Conservatory. On Saturday, December 9, 2017, over 200 participating students will donate their time and talent to perform in support of their community music school. This year, students will raise funds for scholarships for financially deserving students to enroll at the Conservatory, as well as for some important new equipment: orchestra chairs for student ensembles and music therapy students, and a stage piano with amplifier for student performances taking place in various community locations.

“For any not-for-profit, fundraising is essential. The fact that we can involve our students in this process with their musical performance at the center, instead of separate from their studies and training, is an ideal representation of that aspect of our mission. This way, everyone has a hand in sustaining and supporting the important work the Conservatory is doing,” said Dean of Faculty and Students Douglas Bish about the rewarding Performathon experience.

The Conservatory has garnered a list of generous sponsors, including P.C. Richard & Son, Guitar Center, Alamo Movie Theatre in Yonkers, Scattered Books in Chappaqua, Fun Fusion in New Rochelle, and Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Yonkers. Local sponsors are donating their products to benefit children in the communities the businesses serve.


All students who raise funds for Performathon will receive a gift, and the students who raise the most will compete for super prizes from the aforementioned sponsors. Last year, the grand prize was an upright piano!

“Music study isn’t complete without performance, and since our students can now look forward to Performathon every year, they are able to plan much of their musical preparation around this exciting event,” Dean Bish said.

Performance is a major part of the day. Child, teen, and adult students will take the stage in the Conservatory’s two performance spaces - the Helen Demetrios and Michael Stadther Recital Hall and the Performance Salon - 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 have the opportunity to proudly play for their family and friends.

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 donated food, either homemade by families or from local restaurants. It takes a community effort to organize Performathon to support a successful outcome. Parent and student volunteers, local vendors and food establishments, donors and sponsors, and the Conservatory administrative staff make this event possible for students to share their talents and generosity with other music lovers.

Voted Best of Westchester for “Best Music School” of 2017, the Music Conservatory of Westchester started Performathon in 2001 as a musical day powered by its students, giving back to their fellow students. Each year the school raises more than $500,000 to support its Scholarship Program, its Music Therapy Program for children and adults with disabilities, and its Healing Our Heroes Program for military veterans.

Donations to the Music Conservatory of Westchester are also accepted here:

Come Join Chamber Starters for Adult Students!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Interested in playing chamber music with other adult students? Want to expand your musical experience and improve your skills? Are you ready to take on a new challenge and have some fun? Join Chamber Starters for Adult Students!

Starting fall 2017, intermediate to advanced level adult students can sign-up to participate in short-term ensembles of 4-6 weeks. You’ll play alongside other adult instrumental and/or vocal students, matched up for similar musical ability and interests, with coaching from one of our esteemed faculty members. Of course, you are welcome to work with your ensembles on your own as well. An optional performance in one of our Adult Student Performance Hours will cap off your experience.

For questions and more information, please contact Amanda Tabor at or 914-761-3900 ext. 114.

Adult Student Fall Social

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Welcome (And Welcome Back!) to a brand new school year at the Music Conservatory of Westchester! To kick off the semester, please come join the Adult Student Association on Friday, October 6th at 6:00 PM in Room 200 for an evening of socializing, fun, and best of all, music! Meet up with new and familiar faces at our first adult student event of the year. Please click here to visit our online potluck sign-up if you would like to bring food!

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!


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


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.

“School of Rock” Broadway Star chats with Port Chester Middle School Students

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


On Feb. 2, Port Chester Middle School welcomed Scarsdale resident Rachel Katzke for a Q&A following a 4 p.m. performance of School of Rock at the school’s Archie Jacobs Auditorium.  Katzke, a student at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, spoke to students about her current experience starring in the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show. 

Port Chester Middle School is the first school production in the county to take on the Broadway offshoot of the 2003 Jack Black film . Students played electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer, and drum live on stage as well as sing and dance.  



MCW student's Composition Performed by NY Philharmonic

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A huge congratulations to Benjamin Araujo, MCW piano student of Mikhail Zeiger on the performance of his original composition, "A Postcard from New York City" by The New York Philharmonic.


Benjamin, age 14, participates in the Very Young Composers program which enables students from diverse backgrounds to compose music to be performed by Philharmonic musicians through the Composer's Bridge program at David Geffen Hall.

For more information about the program visit Well done Benjamin, keep up the amazing work!