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From the earliest stages of proficiency, students are encouraged to join one or more of the School’s ensembles and instrument clubs. Orchestral, choral, jazz, and chamber ensembles enrich and enliven music learning and provide the unique pleasure of performing with peers. Through their participation, students learn the value of collective effort and develop beneficial life skills such as shared leadership and teamwork. Each group performs periodically throughout the year. Ensembles are included in the price of our Comprehensive Program, and as an option for students in our Beginners Programs. Other students may enroll a la carte.

View detailed information about ensembles and clubs here.

YOUTH ORCHESTRAS

Hoff-Barthelson is the only community music school in Westchester with a four-tiered youth orchestral pyramid, culminating in a full symphonic orchestra for high school students at the highest level of technical ability and musical artistry. Students hone their technical skills and musical sensibilities in Young People’s Symphonette, Chamber Orchestra, and Wind Ensemble in preparation for membership in the audition-only Festival Orchestra. Each ensemble performs three times a year.

Young People’s Symphonette
The Young People’s Symphonette is a beginning string orchestra for string players in grades 2-5 conducted by Robert Schwartz. Students must be ready to study the last piece in Suzuki Book 1 (or its equivalent) and be able to read the notes on all four strings. Rehearses Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Chamber Orchestra
The Chamber Orchestra is an intermediate string orchestra for string players in grades 6-10 conducted by Robert Schwartz.  Rehearses Mondays from 7:00-8:30.

Wind Ensemble
Led by Joseph Piscitelli, this ensemble is for intermediate to advanced (NYSSMA Level 3 and above) woodwind, brass and percussion players in grades 6-12. The Wind Ensemble performs throughout the year at the School’s music festivals. Rehearses Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 pm.

Festival Orchestra
The Festival Orchestra is a full symphonic orchestra for high school students at the highest level of technical ability and musical artistry. Under the direction of conductor Jun Nakabayashi, the orchestra performs three concerts annually; two are with guest artists of international stature. Festival Orchestra members also receive coaching from members of the NY Philharmonic. Audition required. Rehearses Tuesdays from 7:15-9:30 pm.

Auditions for oboe, bassoon, trumpet and strings for the Festival Orchestra will be held on December 14, 2021, from 7:15 – 9:30 pm. An information meeting for parents and prospective students will be held via Zoom on November 20, 2021, at 5:00 pm. To learn more about audition requirements, to request an audition appointment, or to attend the Information meeting click here.

CHAMBER MUSIC

Hoff-Barthelson’s Chamber Music Program offers small ensemble experience to intermediate and advanced instrumentalists and pianists. The program is open to students who will maintain the highest standard of dedication, commitment, and attendance. The Chamber Music Program is directed by Donna Elaine. The Piano Ensembles Program is coordinated by Tomoko Uchino.

Chamber Music I – String, woodwind, and brass players with ability equivalent to NYSSMA Level 2-4. Pianists by teacher recommendation and placement meeting. Coached sessions will be 45 minutes in length.

Chamber Music II – String, woodwind, and brass players with ability equivalent to NYSSMA Level 4-6. Pianists by teacher recommendation and placement meeting. Coached sessions will be 60 minutes in length.

Piano Ensemble – Intermediate pianists new to chamber music; also available to intermediate and advanced students who prefer to play in a piano ensemble. Coached sessions will be 60 minutes in length.

We do our best to place every student, but we cannot guarantee placement. Ensembles are formed based on age, ability and availability.

NEW: Chamber Music Piano Ensemble Program
We are excited to announce a new Piano Ensemble Division of the Chamber Music Program. This program is available for intermediate to advanced piano students who would like to develop ensemble and sightreading skills as well as enjoy the social and emotional benefits of participating in music-making with others. The curriculum will focus on the development of sightreading and ensemble skills necessary for playing in a mixed (piano/winds/strings) chamber music ensemble. The program will be held in our state-of-the-art piano lab.

Learn more about Chamber Music and the Piano Ensemble Program here.

VOCAL ENSEMBLES

Choral groups at Hoff-Barthelson provide opportunities for students to develop their musicianship, ensemble skills, and vocal talents, all while experiencing the joy of making music with others. Through our four-tiered choral program, vocal ensembles are available to K-12 students at all levels of advancement.

JAZZ ENSEMBLES

Ensembles explore improvisation and performance techniques essential to jazz, rock, and a variety of music styles. Parts are individually tailored to the skill level of the participants. Sections are available for beginning, intermediate, and advanced players, ages 10 and up.

INSTRUMENT CLUBS

In popular weekly instrument clubs, students studying the same instrument or family of instruments play and perform together under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Through the Clarinet, Flute, and Viola Clubs, and The Westchester Double Reed Band, students of different ages and levels of advancement develop instrumental technique, explore core repertoire, and learn to mentor each other in their musical development. Clubs are open to all students looking for a supportive, social, high quality music learning experience, regardless of their primary instrument of study.

CHIMES AND HANDBELLS

Chime and handbell ensembles are ideal for students who enjoy learning concepts through a hands-on approach.

Have questions or want to register?

We take great care to assess each child’s particular interests and needs before assigning teachers, classes, and ensembles. The first step is for you and your child(ren) to meet with one of our deans. This meeting is not an audition, but a welcoming introduction to the School and our individualized approach to music education.

To get started, schedule a placement meeting with one of our deans, or call 914-723-1169.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!