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Art, Drama, Music and Books
Art, drama, music & books

Concordia Conservatory to Present 'Musical Adventures at the Library' Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7 PDF Print Email


By Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory

Apr. 5, 2017:  "Musical Adventures at the Library with Concordia Conservatory" will take place on April 6 and 7 at the Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe libraries. "The Opening of Baseball Season" is a fun and lively event that blends literature and music to create a unique storytelling experience. The program features musical readings performed by Conservatory faculty flutist Clare Hoffman and storyteller Kellie Norrgard.

The Musical Adventures at the Library with Concordia Conservatory series is sponsored by The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe and is a partnership of Concordia Conservatory, the librarians of the three community libraries, and the librarians of the three public school districts. This grant-funded series is designed to offer free programming of music and literature presentations that enhance the language arts and music curricula of our communities for children from ages 3 to 13 and their families.

The event will take place on Thursday, April 6, at the Eastchester Public Library at 1:30 pm and the Bronxville Public Library at 4:00 pm and on Friday, April 7, at the Tuckahoe Public Library at 4:00 pm. 

The programs are free and open to the public. For information, call the Concordia Conservatory office at 914-395-4507 or contact the Eastchester, Bronxville, and Tuckahoe Public Libraries.

Photo courtesy Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory

Curator Megan Fontanella to Speak at OSilas Gallery about Creating a Modern Guggenheim Thursday, April 20 PDF Print Email


By Elizabeth Vranka, Executive Director, OSilas Gallery

Apr. 5, 2017:  Megan Fontanella, curator of collections and provenance at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, will give a presentation on April 20 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on the six pioneering arts patrons who established the Guggenheim Foundation and contributed the artwork that became the formative collection of the Guggenheim's modern art holdings.

Learn about what motivated the founders to collect modern art and which artists figured prominently in their collections. The presentation will showcase some of the museum's exceptional modern holdings. 

Ms. Fontanella is the organizer of the Guggenheim's current Visionaries:  Creating a Modern Guggenheim exhibition, which is on show through September 6, 2017.

A light lunch will be included, and there will be time for questions and answers. The charge is $45 per person and $40 for OSilas Gallery members.

To secure your reservation, call Executive Director Elizabeth Vranka at 914-337-9300, ext. 2173. Space is limited.

Pictured here:  OSilas Gallery.

Photo by A. Warner

Noted Pianist Vassily Primakov to Play at Bronxville Women's Club Concert and Dinner on Saturday, April 22 PDF Print Email


By  Staff

Apr. 5, 2017:  On Saturday, April 22, The Bronxville Women's Club will host a concert by world-renowned Russian pianist Vassily Primakov and friends Ben Capps on cello, Regi Papa on violin, and Oxana Mikhailoff on piano. The concert will start at 7:30 pm and will be held at the Anna Lawrence Bisland 1928 House at 135 Midland Avenue.

Vassily Primakov has been winning awards since he was a teenager at Juilliard, having come from Moscow to study with piano master Jerome Lowenthal. His awards include, among others, a piano recital award at Juilliard, the silver prize and audience award at the Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, and first prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. National Public Radio named his recording of the Chopin mazurkas "Best of the Year," and BBC Music Magazine said of Primakov, "The piano playing is of exceptional quality: refined, multi-coloured, elegant of phrase and immaculately balanced . . . . The rhythm is both shapely and dynamic, the articulation a model of subtlety."

Dinner starting at 6:00 pm will be provided before the concert. Tickets for the concert alone are $20 in advance ($18 in advance for seniors), $25 at the door ($20 for seniors), and $5 for students and children. Tickets for dinner require advance reservation, which can be made at 914-337-3252 or, and are $30 ($12 for children under 12).

Pictured here:  The Anna Lawrence Bisland 1928 House, clubhouse of The Bronxville Women's Club.

Photo by A. Warner

High School Students Attend Innovative Artist Discussion at OSilas Gallery PDF Print Email


By Elizabeth Vranka, Executive Director, OSilas Gallery at Concordia College

Mar. 29, 2017:  March 21 was a special day in OSilas Gallery. Artists featured in the gallery's current exhibition, History of the Present, spoke in the gallery and gave area high school and college students an inside look at their work and life in art.

Students from Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, and St. Jean Baptiste high schools were invited to attend, as well as students from Concordia College. Due to space constraints, the event was limited to these area schools. Over 50 students were in attendance. 

This informative program was organized by History of the Present’s curators, Sarah Rowe and Rachel Sydlowski. Both Rowe and Sydlowski are working artists and educators. They created this program so local students could hear directly from the featured artists in order to better connect with the artwork on show and to understand the various ways one can have a creative life in the visual arts. 

According to Rowe, the chair of the art department at St. Jean Baptiste High School, "It was my hope that students would learn about the artists' working methods and materials as well as the conceptual basis for their work. By listening to the artists, I also hoped that students would learn about the various means for building a meaningful life in the arts."

The artists, Rose DeSianoJames Raczkowski, and Melissa Vandenberg, led the conversations. DeSiano spoke about her interest in photographs as documents and her fascination with American iconographic history. She also talked about her surprising redirection at a young age from aspiring scientist to photographer. Raczkowski spoke about his pathway to becoming an artist, which included a tour of duty as a special ops soldier in Iraq. He discussed his artistic training (both formal and self-taught), his preferred painting technique, the intention of his work, and his work practices. Vandenberg talked about her youth in Detroit, art education, repurposing old materials for use in her art, and recurring themes in her work.  

Sydlowski, the chair of the art department at Eastchester High School, hoped that the artist talks would open students up to the idea of art as a career. She said, "In the broadest sense, I wanted to normalize the idea of being an artist to my students. We had three artists speak about their processes and life experiences, and all have very different approaches. Students are in awe of the artists, but after the talks, they hopefully see them as regular people who happen to be artists. These kinds of experiences give students permission to envision themselves in the role of artist. It's important to foster and encourage the next creative generation."

The day also afforded students the opportunity to engage the artists in conversations about their work. "I was inspired by each of the artists' stories as well as their work. Hearing them speak convinced me that pursuing art as a career, though risky, is both plausible and fulfilling," said Eastchester junior Kelly Ryan. Another Eastchester High School student, Annalisa Reisman, added, "As a young artist, it's really important to hear from mature artists about their work and their process for creating a piece. At the gallery, the artists' backgrounds, ideas, and inspirations were passed along to all of us and showed us that anything is possible and to keep working and developing our ideas."

History of the Present features the work of Rose DeSianoShanti GrumbineValerie HegartyJames Raczkowski, and Melissa Vandenberg and is on show at OSilas Gallery through April 22. 

OSilas Gallery is located on the campus of Concordia College. Gallery hours are Tues./Wed./Fri., noon to 5:00 pm; Thurs., noon to 7:00 pm; and Sat./Sun., 2:00 to 5:00 pm. The gallery is closed on Mondays and April 13 to 17.

Please see for more information about exhibitions, special events, and programs. 

Pictured here:  Artists and their art at the History of the Present special day at OSilas Gallery.

Photo courtesy Elizabeth Vranka, Executive Director, OSilas Gallery at Concordia College

Pianist Raj Bhimani to Present Concert at West Center Church Sunday, April 2 PDF Print Email


By Susan Reisinger, Member in Charge of Publicity, West Center Congregational Church

Mar. 29, 2017:  Pianist Raj Bhimani will perform in the sanctuary at West Center Congregational Church on Sunday, April 2, at 2:00 pm. The critically acclaimed Mr. Bhimani will be premiering a new piece written for him by two French composers--Thérèse Brenet and Jean-Thierry Boisseau--each of whom contributed two movements to a work called Mixed Doubles (Double Mixte).

Mr. Bhimani will also be playing two favorite compositions by Maurice Ravel, Sonatine and Valses nobles et sentimentales, both of which are to be recorded on his next CD. Rounding out the program is Variations on a Theme by Handel written by Johannes Brahms, which Mr. Bhimani describes as being "full of joy and optimism." 

After graduating from Pomona College and the Peabody Conservatory, Mr. Bhimani studied in Paris with several teachers, including noted French pianists Nicole Henriot-Schweitzer and Seymour Bernstein. While there, he met the composer Henri Dutilleux, who declared him "a great artist who plays with sensitivity and intelligence." He has played a number of works by Mr. Dutilleux over the years. Mr. Bhimani worked closely with composer Thérèse Brenet, who was so moved by Mr. Bhimani's performance of her compositions that she composed several pieces especially for him, including Mixed Doubles. 

Mr. Bhimani presents concerts regularly in the United States, Canada, Europe, and India; in New York, he has performed in numerous venues, including Merkin Concert Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, St. Paul's Chapel, and St. Peter's Church. He has performed at the American Church in Paris and has presented concerts in Portugal and Italy. In addition to performing as a soloist, Mr. Bhimani performs with Syrinx: XXII, a trio he formed with musicians from Portugal that performs regularly in New York and Portugal. The trio also recently completed an extended tour of India.

Mr. Bhimani has released two CDs on the Delatour label, one of works written for him by Thérèse Brenet and the other of compositions by Franz Schubert. He also has recorded a CD of two more works that Ms. Brenet wrote for him and another of late solo works by Johannes Brahms released by Musik Fabrik. He will be recording in Poland this summer with the Polish National Radio Symphony. All his recordings are available online on iTunes, Amazon, and other sites. In addition to his performance career, Mr. Bhimani has an excellent reputation as an educator and has taught at the 92nd Street Y School of Music, New York University, and Concordia College. He has a private teaching studio in Manhattan and teaches master classes across the country. His students have received numerous prizes and have performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. For more on Mr. Bhimani, go to his website at or subscribe to his channel on YouTube.

West Center Church is celebrating the 105th anniversary of the founding of its Sunday school this year and the 90th anniversary of its official incorporation. The present sanctuary was completed in 1962 and is noted for its beautiful stained-glass windows designed by the Willet Studios of Philadelphia and its outstanding acoustics. The church is home to the Bronxville Montessori School and the Tai Chi School of Westchester, and various organizations hold meetings and events there, continuing a tradition of serving the community that started in 1912.

While there is no admission charge, there is a suggested donation of $10. The sanctuary is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, and there is parking on the street.  For further information, please call the church office at 914-337-3829, send an email to  CLOAKING , or visit its website,   

Pictured here:  Pianist Raj Bhimani.

Photo courtesy Susan Reisinger, Member in Charge of Publicity, West Center Congregational Church

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