The Music Conservatory of Westchester Wants to Help Local Teens Learn From the Pros

At MCW Prep, young local musicians can learn one-on-one from stars of Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York Philharmonic.

The Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains has long been a bastion of culture in Westchester, and now it’s gearing up to help usher in a new generation of local virtuosos.

Unlike the music instruction most of us probably remember from high school — ducking out of class to attend “practice” every few weeks — the MCW Preparatory Program (otherwise known as “MCW Prep”) will allow Westchester high school students to experience one-on-one and ensemble instruction from some of New York’s most accomplished musicians as faculty.

Students entering grades 9 through 12 will audition for the chance to enroll in MCW Prep, and once admitted they can continue each year until they graduate high school. After-school classes include weekly music theory and performance ensemble sessions — 24 weeks, September through June — as well as weekly private instrumental or vocal lessons — 32 weeks, concurrently. Master classes, recital performances, audition prep, and college advisement are all also included, with annual tuition running $8,800.

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The inaugural faculty is set to include from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center violinist Ani Kavafian; violist Rebecca Young, flutist Cindy Kaufman, and clarinetist Pavel Vinnitsky of the New York Philharmonic; cellist Jerry Grossman, soprano Korliss Uecker, and bass Stefan Szkafarowsky of the Metropolitan Opera; and Tony-winning actress Randy Graff.

Photo courtesy the Music Conservatory of Westchester

“I am delighted and honored to be on faculty for this new exciting program,” Graff says. “The students will have an opportunity to train with some of New York’s finest professional musicians, performers and teachers, watch each other grow, and have a wonderful time in the process. I wish I had MCW Prep when I was in high school!”

Kaufman, herself a MCW alumna, is looking forward to start teaching Westchester’s younger performers. “The Music Conservatory of Westchester nurtured and prepared me for my job with the New York Philharmonic,” she says. “Now, I’m excited to give back to the next generation of music students and to be part of this innovative new program.”

MCW Prep’s first term will begin September 2019 and be open to students who practice violin, viola, cello, clarinet, and flute, as well as singers (both classical and musical theater). Auditions are to begin the last week of April and continue by appointment through the summer. Those looking for more information or to schedule an audition can reach out to the MCW Dean of Students & Faculty, Dr. Douglas Bish at

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