About the Philharmonic
In the Concert Hall, the Classroom, and the Community
The Westchester Philharmonic has established itself as the most accomplished symphony orchestra in the northern suburbs of New York, attracting avid audiences from Westchester, Rockland, Fairfield and Putnam counties and beyond. It is also the largest company of performing artists in Westchester County. The orchestra was founded in 1983 as the New Orchestra of Westchester, under the leadership of Paul Lustig Dunkel, and, a few years later, re-christened as the Westchester Philharmonic. Created to enhance the quality of life in the community and provide educational opportunities for local school children, the orchestra has grown to become one of the most influential cultural institutions in the region - with a broad reach well beyond its immediate geography. From 2008-2010, the orchestra was under the artistic leadership of world-renowned Itzhak Perlman. Beginning with the 2014-15 season the orchestra will be led by Principal Conductors Jaime Laredo and Ted Sperling.
The Westchester Philharmonic's opening concert in 1983 featured White Plains native Garrick Ohlsson as guest artist. Already an established star on international concert stages, his participation set a high standard of artistry that continues into the organization's current season. Ohlsson paved the way for other stellar artists who have been guests of the Philharmonic in recent years, including Isaac Stern, Leon Fleisher, Jean- Yves Thibaudet, Frederica von Stade, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and André Watts.
Since the beginning, the Philharmonic has been committed to introducing audiences to the new: new artists, new composers, new compositions. Young artists who would quickly become renowned concert stars received early opportunities as guests of the Westchester Philharmonic. Among them have been Midori, Joshua Bell, Leila Josefowicz, Gil Shaham and featured this April, Michelle DeYoung. New works premiered at the Philharmonic have included Thracian Echoes, an orchestral work by Derek Bermel that was awarded the Westchester Prize during the Philharmonic's 20th season and, most notably, Melinda Wagner's Pulitzer Prize-winning Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion and The Yellow Wind by Tamar Muskal in 2005.
Beginning in 2008, the Westchester Philharmonic introduced its first-ever pops concert with Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell. An overwhelming success both artistically and at the box office, it led to annual programs that have featured Barbara Cook, the late Marvin Hamlisch and Kelli O'Hara. The last three seasons have been led by Tony-winning conductor Ted Sperling.
As a leading community resource, the Westchester Philharmonic partners with Westchester County government and local organizations to present free and lowcost chamber concerts for area residents. Youngsters in classrooms across the region are treated to the orchestra's award-winning education program, which reaches thousands of elementary school students each year.
For 31 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.