Westchester Music Man Harold Rosenbaum Shares His Alphabetical Favorites

County people and places that strike a chord with renowned choral conductor Harold Rosenbaum.

Ancient houses. Not by European standards, but who cares?

Barber in Cross River, who also replaces watchbands. It reminds me of the Wild West, where barbers also extracted teeth!

Copland House in Cortlandt Manor. Yes, Aaron actually lived there. I conducted his choral masterpiece In the Beginning at his 80th birthday celebration at Symphony Space in NYC.

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Dirt roads. Sure, they can be a muddy mess when it rains, but they are a nice reminder of our past.

Edie, my amazing, talented, beautiful, kind wife, who, among many other things, runs our youth choir, The Canticum Novum Singers.

Farms. Real ones. One can join some of them to obtain organic produce weekly.

Grandsons. My three—who force me to be normal at times (well, at least goofy and regressive).

Horse & Hound Inn, which accommodates my diet every time (I haven’t had meat, fish, dairy, or grains for decades).

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Idealists. There are plenty of them here, with solar panels, food-producing farm animals, and world-class gardens. 

John Jay High School, which has more music and art classes and ensembles during school time than any in the tri-state area.

Kindness. Abundant. One example is the Community Center of Northern Westchester in Katonah, which provides services and goods for the needy.

Lake Waccabuc, where Pulitzer Prize winner Yehudi Wyner told me he swam with Elliott Carter (another PPW), and that they barely got out of the way of a motor boat.  

Mead Memorial Chapel in Waccabuc. I played its pipe organ at a wedding (no, not for Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, who were married there). 

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Nature. Everywhere I look in South Salem: gentle hills, a mountainous park, streams…so many composers were renewed by it and received inspiration from it.

Officers of the law, especially when they pull my car over for weaving, observe that I had been reaching for peanuts on the seat next to me, and then say, “Have a good day, Maestro.”

Piano Sonata. Samuel Barber’s, written in his Mount Kisco home where his life-long companion Gian Carlo Menotti created his opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. They threw many parties, with guests such as Leonard Bernstein and Vladimir Horowitz.

Quiet. Totally. At night. It took a while for this city boy to get used to it. 

Rachmaninoff, the great composer and pianist, who is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla.  Opera stars Beverly Sills, Anna Moffo, and Robert Merrill, plus the music critic Deems Taylor, are also there. I wonder if Mr. Taylor is writing reviews of their performances.

Stars. You can actually see many of them—both in the sky at night, and in stores during the day.

Trails in South Salem, beckoning us to relieve stress, enjoy nature, and become healthier.

UFOs. Yes—I, too, saw them in Pound Ridge. 

Various Westchester churches, which have hired me, a Jew, to be their music director! 

Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, created by Hélène Grimaud, one of the world’s best pianists. 

X-rays taken by the brilliant team of doctors, nurses, technicians, and others at the Mount Kisco Medical Group when my doctor thought I had pneumonia. I did.

YouTube, one of the greatest inventions ever. One can hear Benjamin Britten talk and see George Gershwin play there!

Znamenny Chant, a singing tradition used in the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Yonkers, where I had the great privilege of conducting Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, the greatest Russian choral piece ever written

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