The New Westchester Symphony Orchestra (NewWSO) offers amateur instrumental musicians in and around Westchester County an opportunity to build musicianship in a supportive, non-competitive setting while practicing and performing significant orchestral and ensemble works.
For a history of volunteer orchestras in Westchester, click here.
The New Westchester Symphony Orchestra (NewWSO) was founded in November 2011 when conductor Benjamin Niemczyk and adult-beginner bassist Belinda Kan decided to create new and exciting opportunity for musicians in Westchester County and beyond. Their vision was to create a group where instrumentalists of any age and ability could gather together to play great music together, pure and simple.
The musicians of the New WSO range from people who have played an instrument their whole lives but chose not to make their professional career in music, to people who haven’t played their instrument in many decades. Some may play one instrument proficiently or professionally but want to learn a new instrument with NewWSO. Most have not played with an orchestra since high school or college and are thrilled to make music with others in a supportive, non-competitive setting.
NewWSO’s repertoire is drawn from original orchestrations of the greatest works in music history. All music is carefully selected to suit the wide range of skill level amongst the members. Musicians who want to “take it easy” have many pieces to enjoy, while members who are eager to tackle more challenging pieces are given ample opportunity to do so.
In its short history, NewWSO has made numerous appearances in Westchester County, including venues such as assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers and public libraries. The regular annual concert schedule is a major Spring Concert, Fall Concert, and Messiah Sing-Along in December, with the rest of the year dedicated to outreach concerts. The musicians take pride in bringing great music to people who might not otherwise be able to travel to a performance. NewWSO is living proof that great music can be played by anyone, for everyone.
Due to its growing reputation as Westchester’s premiere community orchestra, NewWSO was recently asked to participate in two film projects. In November 2013, NewWSO musicians shot a scene for an Amazon.com series pilot entitled “Mozart in the Jungle,” sharing the stage and scene with the great Joshua Bell, Malcolm McDowell, and Bernadette Peters. The pilot was released in February 2014 and is currently available for viewing on Amazon.com. More recently, NewWSO played the orchestra in a scene for the upcoming film “Boychoir,” starring Dustin Hoffman. Filming took place on March 27 at Riverside Church in NYC, with Hoffman “conducting” both the orchestra and the real-life American Boychoir in his role as a demanding choir master. “Boychoir” is slated for release in late 2014.
Benjamin Niemczyk is a conductor, singer and composer of uncommon range. Recent seasons include performances of Beethoven Christus am Ölberge, Choral Fantasy (with Hélène Grimaud), Symphony No. 5, Symphony No. 7 (excerpts), Brahms Schicksalslied, Symphony No. 3 (excerpts), Liebeslieder Waltzes, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Concerto in A minor for Two Violins, Haydn Kleine Orgelmesse, Bach Cantata excerpts, Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor (with Anthony Newman), B Minor Mass, Bruch Kol Nidrei, Sibelius Finlandia, film music of John Williams, Schubert Deutsche Messe, Bizet L'Arlésienne, Carmen, Pearl Fishers (excerpts), Puccini Turandot (excerpts), Messa di Gloria, Verdi Rigoletto (excerpts), Grieg Peer Gynt, Mahler Symphony No. 1 (excerpts), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder (excerpts), Symphony No. 7 (excerpts) with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Barber Reincarnations, Dvorak Slavonic Dances (excerpts), Ravel Ma mère l'oye, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Tristia, Vaughan Williams Greensleeves, Gould Home for Christmas, works by Elliott Carter, Bernard Rands, George Boziwick, John Harbison, Schoenberg A Survivor from Warsaw, Mozart Requiem, Symphony No. 40 (excerpts), Rachmaninoff Vespers, Mendelssohn Elijah, Händel Messiah (with REBEL Baroque Orchestra), and Requiems by Duruflé and Fauré.
He has performed with Anthony Newman, Hélène Grimaud, Ennio Morricone at Radio City Music Hall and the United Nations General Assembly, John Nelson, Marin Alsop, Harold Rosenbaum, Amy Kaiser, Frank Nemhauser, the Orchestra of St Lukes, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
He has held administrative positions with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Grant Park Orchestra, New Westchester Symphony, Canticum Novum Singers, New York Virtuoso Singers and C4. He is a founding member of C4. He served on the original jury for the composition competition of the New York Virtuoso Singers. He is the co-founder of the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra.
He is conductor of Westchester Oratorio Society, New York Session Symphony, Chrysalis Consort, and Director of Music at St Boniface Oratory Church in Brooklyn.
Also an amateur violist, he is a member of the New York Late Starters Orchestra.
He attended Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and DePaul University School of Music. His principal conducting teachers are Cliff Colnot and Harold Rosenbaum.
NewWSO Board of Directors
The New Westchester Symphony Orchestra does not discriminate in its policies and practices with respect to compensation, terms, or conditions of employment or membership because of an individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, height, weight, marital status, political belief, genetic information, disability or handicap which does not impair an individual's ability to perform adequately in that individual's particular position or activity.