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Generations of Musicians to Gather and Perform Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

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The new Westchester Symphony Orchestra (NewWSO) under the direction of conductor Benjamin Niemczyk is bringing together musicians from all over Westchester, ages 10 to 86, in a concert this Sunday at White Plains High School.

The program and the intergenerational component are meant to highlight the joy of music and Beethoven’s 5th was selected as the highlight of the program because it is the quintessential orchestral piece, explained Niemczyk.

The program begins with keyboard virtuoso and Bedford resident Anthony Newman performing Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor. Newman is known for his freewheeling style and approach to the classics.

Following the harpsichord, the honors choir of Walter Panas High School from Cortlandt Manor, will join NewWSO for a heartfelt rendition of Sibelius’ Finlandia.

The program concludes with Beethoven.

Intended to facilitate a stress-free music zone, the NewWSO invites musicians of any age to come and play. They never hold auditions and musicians are free to come to as many rehearsals as they are able. The roster of members is at about 80, said Niemczyk, “but they don’t all come at once. We usually have about 50 musicians at our rehearsals.”

For the intergenerational concert, 10 students, the youngest aged 10, will join the adult players.

Many of the orchestra members are seniors, who once played an instrument and are happy to bring music back into their lives and to play in concert with other musicians.

For the younger students, playing Beethoven in its full form is a treat as most schools offer an adapted version of the music to the younger players.

“The students have everything within them to do well,” explained Niemczyk. “Few players can produce everything and no one wants to stand out and make a mistake. I find that I often have to be a cheerleader, encouraging the younger players to step up, and they do. There is a lot of energy in the room during rehearsals.”

Sitting next to each other during the performance will be White Plains’ own Harry Bright (he’s the oldest member of the orchestra) and 11-year-old New Rochelle student Leilani Aggarwal, playing the violin.

Also teamed up are Jonathan and Steven Katz, a father-son clarinet team from Croton-on-Hudson.

“Great Music Played by Anyone, for Everyone,” is the NewWSO motto. For this performance, NewWSO stays true to its core values by not requiring the students to audition, unlike other area youth orchestras. “The goal of the Intergenerational Concert is to give anyone, at any age, an opportunity to play well-known orchestral repertoire. And many people would agree that there is perhaps no single orchestral piece better known than Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5,” said Niemczyk.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. and will last about 80 minutes. It will take place at the White Plains High School auditorium, 550 North Street, White Plains. A reception with refreshments supplied by local supermarkets and food stores will be held after the performance. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased by visiting


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