Category Archives: From the Conductor

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!

A Kinder, Gentler Orchestra

Does the thought of a conductor waving a stick at you scare you? Not excited about the prospect of playing music with a bunch of anti-social music geeks? Well you’re in luck, because the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra is nothing like that at all. Well…maybe a little? Listen to Conductor Ben Niemczyk talk about the culture of NewWSO and you be the judge!

Summertime…Do I Practice, or Do I Be Lazy?

Summertime sloth is at its most slothful in August, especially at the end of August – which just happens to be right about now. Many usual routines fall by the wayside, including practicing one’s instrument.

Conductor Ben Niemczyk gives some gentle encouragement on why you should consider picking up your instrument despite the heat, humidity, and relaxation:

An Opulent Performance Space at The Osborn in Rye, NY

Yesterday, twenty-seven musicians from the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra performed for the residents of The Osborn, a senior living community in Rye, NY.

NewWSO has performed at numerous senior living communities since our inception in November 2011. We have performed in spaces big and small, modern and historic, and in various states of repair (or disrepair). At one venue, we performed in a small kitchenette which is in the corner of their recreation room. Wherever it is, we make it work because we know the residents appreciate having great music brought to them.

However, The Osborn was in a separate class. The main building is an immense neo-Georgian style residence opulently decorated and built expressly as a senior residence since its opening in 1908. The best part for us was their gorgeous auditorium/music room with a stage and an original Steinway piano from 1907. The residents are blessed with music every Sunday, and we felt privileged to be a part of their Sunday afternoon concert series.

Now, we won’t NOT play in a space just because it isn’t as fancy as The Osborn. But once in a while, it’s nice for us to have a treat as well as the residents! In this video, Conductor Ben Niemczyk explains how a performance space can contribute to great music-making.

Playing “The Hard Stuff”

As an audition-free orchestra, NewWSO encourages players of all musical abilities to join us in making great music together. However, we do not compromise on repertoire, playing the same editions of music that professionals orchestra play whenever possible. We believe this is part of the reason amateur musicians are drawn to this orchestra, because where else can “hobbyist” musicians try their hand at playing Beethoven Symphony No. 5? Not many places!

“Hard” is a subjective term. In the NewWSO, one musician may find a particular piece easy, where another might find the same piece difficult. However, most of our musicians currently agree that a fairly new piece in our repertoire, the Brahms Symphony No. 4, Mov’t 2, has difficult spots for all instruments. It’s Brahms, after all! But the orchestra musicians voted it in because it is a great and beautiful piece of music that they are willing to work on.

In this video, Ben shares his philosophy on how playing “hard” pieces of music helps us improve other pieces that we play:

What are your thoughts on the level of difficulty of NewWSO pieces?

The Real Deal: A Message from Conductor Ben Niemczyk, from Lincoln Center

This past Saturday, NewWSO Conductor Ben Niemczyk and Executive Director/bassist Belinda Kan attended the free first concert of the 2013 Mostly Mozart Festival at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC. Belinda waited in line for the free tickets starting at 7:45am. It was worth getting up early, because she was able to get great seating on stage, right behind the orchestra (conveniently for both of them, behind the basses and almost directly in front of Conductor Louis Langrée), when ticket distribution started at 10am.

The program was Mozart Symphony 40 and Beethoven Symphony 7. NewWSO, being the ambitious group that we are, plays movements from both works. From their seats Ben and Belinda could see that the Mostly Mozart orchestra musicians were playing from the same editions as NewWSO musicians. NewWSO is the real deal and plays the real deal, except without the auditions!

The Mostly Mozart orchestra performs Beethoven Symphony 5, another piece in the NewWSO repertoire, on Friday and Saturday, Aug 9 and 10. We highly recommend that you attend, and attempt to get stage seating tickets…if there are any left! Ben and Belinda will be there on Aug 10. Hearing Beethoven 5 performed live by a professional orchestra will be a great way to prepare for our performance of the first movement at our Fall Concert on October 20, 2013 in White Plains.

Here’s a post-concert video message from Ben: