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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – for early intermediate students with ability equivalent to NYSSMA Level 2-4. Sessions are 45 minutes in length, 24 weeks per year.
Chamber Music II – for intermediate to advanced students with ability equivalent to NYSSMA Level 4-6. Sessions are 60 minutes in length, 24 weeks per year.
Piano Ensemble – for intermediate to advanced piano students who would like to develop ensemble and sight-reading skills in preparation for playing in mixed ensembles with strings, woodwinds and/or brass players. Pianists new to the chamber music program will be placed in the Piano Ensemble Program. Exceptions will be made for experienced chamber music pianists. Sessions are 60 minutes in length, 24 weeks per year.
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.
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.
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!