The Music Conservatory of Westchester recently celebrated their 80th Anniversary milestone with a special year-end performance featuring world renowned concert pianist and Conservatory alumnus Garrick Ohlsson. The 80th Anniversary Concert, held at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, also highlighted the Conservatory’s performing ensembles. A second concert, showcasing the Conservatory’s youth ensembles, took place in the afternoon.
A native of White Plains, NY, Garrick Ohlsson began his piano studies at age eight at the Music Conservatory of Westchester and, at thirteen, entered the Julliard School. Since his 1970 triumph as the first American winner of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Mr. Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of Frédéric Chopin, Mr. Ohlsson delighted the Conservatory’s audience with an all Chopin program.
Performing in the first half of the evening concert were the Conservatory’s Chamber Orchestra, Teen Vocal Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Piano Quartet, and Piano Partners. The afternoon concert featured performances from the Conservatory’s Youth Chorus, Suzuki Violins, Junior Strings, Chamber Strings, Brass Ensemble, Piano Trio, Piano Partners, and String Quartets. Participating students ranged in age from 5 to 65.
At a reception following Mr. Ohlsson’s performance, Carol Shiffman, the Conservatory’s Executive Director, presented him with framed photos from a concert in the late 1970’s in which he appeared as soloist with the Conservatory’s orchestra. The photographs were provided by the orchestra’s conductor, Gabriel Banat.
“The Music Conservatory of Westchester’s 80th Anniversary Concert was a fitting end to a marvelous year filled with many wonderful anniversary-themed events,” said Shiffman. “We are privileged to have such a distinguished artist as an alumnus and proud of all our students who did such a phenomenal job in both the afternoon and evening performances.”
In addition to performing recitals worldwide, Mr. Ohlsson has appeared as a piano soloist with many of the top symphony orchestras across North America and Europe. He is an avid chamber musician who has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takács and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. A prolific recording artist and Grammy Award winner, Mr. Ohlsson can be heard on the Arabesque, RCA Victor Red Seal, Angel, Bridge, BMG, Delos, Hänssler, Nonesuch, Telarc, and Virgin Classics labels.
Shiffman continued, “The Conservatory is a center where the arts are celebrated in an integral, accessible way. Regardless of age or ability, our doors are open to all. Our faculty is dedicated to nurturing the casual enthusiast, up-and-coming performer, and everyone in between.”