Monthly Archives: November 2013

NewWSO: Stars of Stage and Screen!

On Monday, November 18, 2013, 27 members of the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra participated in the shooting of a scene for an Amazon series pilot! The series, called “Mozart in the Jungle,” is based on the memoir of the same name by Blair Tindall. This particular scene was shot at SUNY Purchase in Westchester County, NY.

NewWSO horn player Heidi Giarlo looking fabulous!

They needed an orchestra in the background and tapped NewWSO and The Chelsea Symphony to fill the roles. They wanted the orchestra to look as real, so rather than hiring random extras they called us. They wanted us to play to track rather than play for real, a perfect arrangement which allowed our musicians to enjoy the experience rather than stress about putting on a performance.

The day was long, but sharing the stage with a world-famous violinist (whose name we won’t mention here, but it’s not hard to find out who!), even if we were only “fake accompanying” him, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the highlight of the day. And most of us got to experience, for the first time, the behind the scenes action that goes into the making of a TV show. Also on set (among others who have not yet been officially announced!) was one of the stars, Gael Garcia Bernal, and co-writer Jason Schwartzman of Coppola family and Rushmore fame (Schwartzman is Talia Shire’s son, i.e. Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew). More about the series from Deadline Hollywood:

Mozart in the Jungle was written by Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola, actor and musician Jason Schwartzman, and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers. The project is based on the memoir Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall. Mozart in the Jungle is all about sex, drugs—and classical music—and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens on stage.

“Many shows are in a single world; Mozart in the Jungle is an unusual show in that there are two worlds fused together. On one side is the high-level skill and sophistication that comes with classical music, and at the same time it’s a story that includes people rising up from the bottom, trying to make it in the big world. I love the sense of contrast, the high and the low, the refined and the more base—I hope audiences will love it too,” said Roman Coppola, co-creator of Mozart in the Jungle. “Amazon has been incredibly supportive and they have given us their blessing to make this show. We are very much in harmony and we feel lucky to be working with a partner that is so in sync with us and what we want to do.”

Checkout pics on our Facebook page, and stay tuned for information on  release date for the pilot, probably sometime in 2014. Pickup a copy of the book today!


Conductor Ben Niemczyk Invites YOU to our Messiah Sing on Dec 8

Conductor Ben Niemczyk shares his thoughts about our upcoming Messiah Sing-Along event on Sunday, December 8 in Briarcliff Manor:

New Westchester Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah Sing-Alongs are great for many reasons. First, it allows the audience (aka the singers) the opportunity to sing the complete choruses from Messiah, not just Part 1 and Hallelujah chorus. We will definitely sing the thrilling finale movement, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

Second, it allows the audience to sing the arias they’ve always wanted to sing, without the pressure of singing as a soloist in front of an audience. The audience will have the chance to sing the following arias as a section:

  • 2. Comfort Ye, My People (tenor)
  • 3. Ev’ry Valley (tenor)
  • 6. But Who May Abide? (alto)
  • 20. He Shall Feed His Flock (soprano & alto)
  • 45. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth (soprano)
  • 47. Behold I Tell You a Mystery (bass)
  • 48. The Trumpet Shall Sound (bass)

So sing out strong!

Third, it allows the audience to sing to the accompaniment of a full orchestra. NewWSO will play from the Mozart/Prout edition of Messiah, scored for full orchestra. It is a true testament to our members’ love of great music when an audition-free, amateur orchestra commits to learning Handel’s oratorio in just a few short weeks.

Having others with whom to make this great repertoire is priceless. Come join us for an afternoon of true community-created music!

NewWSO’s 2nd Annual Messiah Sing-Along, Sun Dec 8

In just two weeks, Thanksgiving will be upon us. And less than two weeks after that, New Westchester Symphony Orchestra will host its 2nd Annual Messiah Sing-Along on Sunday, December 8 from 305pm at the historic Briarcliff Congregational Church, 30 S. State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.

If you love Messiah sings, don’t miss your chance to sing the complete Messiah choruses (not just Part 1) with full orchestra accompaniment. You will even get a chance to sing a few of the arias that you’ve always wanted to sing. There are no soloists for this event – YOU are the soloists and the chorus!

Tickets are $10 and include optional score rental. Children under 8 free. Purchase advance tickets online at

Special thanks to Interim Minister Jack Lohr at Church in the Highlands, White Plains, for posting this blog entry about our event.


Video: “Jagdleid,” Arranged by our 17-Year Old Horn Player

It’s not everyday that you get a young person who arranges music for an orchestra with musicians five times his age (yes, we have two 85-year young members!).

Max Rosen, a junior in high school here in Westchester, arranged  Jagdlied (The Hunt) for the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra brass ensemble. Originally a choral piece written by Felix Mendelssohn, Max (on the far right) plays Wagner tuba on his arrangement, which also includes trumpet and horn. Ain’t it great to be young!

Compare to the choral version: