About the Philharmonic
Now in its 34th season, the Westchester Philharmonic is the oldest, continuously running professional symphony orchestra and largest group of performing artists in Westchester County. The Philharmonic’s main stage concert series makes its home at the 1,300 seat Concert Hall at the Purchase Performing Arts Center, with outdoor concerts, chamber concerts, children’s programs, and special events throughout the area, attracting savvy music-lovers from Rockland, Bergen, Fairfield, and Putnam counties, New York City, and beyond.
Founded in 1983 as the New Orchestra of Westchester under the leadership of Music Director Paul Lustig Dunkel (who became Music Director Emeritus in 2008), the orchestra was later re-named the Westchester Philharmonic. Renowned artists who have performed with the Phil include Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, Branford Marsalis, Midori, Garrick Ohlsson, Itzhak Perlman, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Gil Shaham, Isaac Stern, and André Watts. The Philharmonic is now led by Principal Conductors Jaime Laredo and Ted Sperling.
Among the many new works commissioned and premiered by the Westchester Philharmonic is Melinda Wagner’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999. A new commission by Christopher Theofanidis, Dreamtime Ancestors, made its NY-area debut in October 2015. For the 2016-17 season, the Phil presents another newly commissioned work, a violin concerto by David Ludwig, composed for violinist Bella Hristova in celebration of their recent marriage.
The Westchester Philharmonic has a rich history of supporting artists of diverse backgrounds and is setting a new standard for how mid-size regional symphony orchestras can have an impact on the face of classical music. Many of the composers whose works have been commissioned or premiered with the Philharmonic are women, or are of diverse ethnic backgrounds. In just the past eight seasons the Phil has engaged 27 conductors or guest soloists of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian backgrounds. Women conductors and composers have appeared in seven of the last ten seasons.
The orchestra’s award-winning education program reaches thousands of elementary school students each year and culminates in a full orchestra concert. The Phil also partners with local organizations to present free and low-cost chamber concerts, as well as to provide subsidized seating at main stage concerts, welcoming hundreds of area residents each year who might not otherwise have an opportunity to attend.
The orchestra is comprised of the finest professional free-lance musicians from the greater metropolitan area, who also perform regularly with the New York City Ballet, Orchestra St. Luke’s, Orpheus, Mostly Mozart, and for many Broadway shows. Members of the Phil hold faculty positions at Juilliard, Mannes, Manhattan School of Music, Purchase Conservatory, Vassar and Bard Colleges, and at local public schools.
For thirty-four years the Westchester Philharmonic has made the musical arts accessible to the community, providing the highest quality educational programming in the classroom; enhancing the quality of life in the region through innovative professional performances; and showcasing the finest new artistry in the concert hall.