Michael Boriskin Of Copland House’s Favorite Westchester Things

The internationally acclaimed pianist and Copland House artistic & executive director on food, film, and fall foliage, all in alphabetic order.


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Arts. They’re all around us in Westchester’s concert halls, museums, galleries, and theaters.

Birdsong. Westchester’s parks and forests are the stage for nature’s symphony, composed by our extraordinary winged musicians.

Copland. The iconic composer and longtime Westchesterite who defined the sound and spirit of American music and whose Cortlandt Manor home is a National Historic Landmark.

Daughters. Two (pictured top). How isit possible that these little girls—always bright, never dull, sometimes confounding—are now in their 20s?

Elizabeth. Partner in life, love, and work. My soul mate and my sunshine. 

Fall foliage. With the riot
of vibrant colors and textures in Westchester,  who needs Vermont?

Gastronomy. Suddenly, it’s no longer enough for me to enjoy eating fine food (and Westchester is a gourmet’s bonanza); now I’m trying to prepare it. There goes the kitchen!

Hiking. Peekskill-Briarcliff and North County Trailways, Blue Mountain Reservation, the Croton Aqueduct Trail—even the dirt roads and hills of Bedford, which sometimes feel like nearly vertical inclines.

Imagination. The place without limits, where anything is possible. I try to visit often!

Jacob Burns Film Center. Is there a wider menu of films—new, old, obscure, classic, foreign, quirky—or a more congenial place to see them in Westchester?  

King Kone. Yes, I feel guilty. But I’ll take any of the homemade coffee ice creams, please.

Locavore. Treasured neighborhood spots like Table Local Market and the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market seem to be popping up everywhere across Westchester.

Merestead. The majestic former W & J Sloan family home in Mount Kisco, which has been the site for Copland House’s main stage concerts—the only series in the US that
exclusively champions American classical music.

Neuberger Museum. It began as a symbol of Roy Neuberger’s passion for contemporary painters and a home for his private art collection.

Optimism. I’m still foolish enough to think that an idea, determination, and a touch of thick-headedness can make nearly anything happen!

Peekskill Coffee House. Closest thing to a Greenwich Village hangout, without having to take the A train.  

Quiet. In the “wilds” of Northern Westchester, the crunch of a leaf beneath an animal’s foot or the flapping of a bird’s wing can reverberate grandly in the evening air.

Reading. Traveling into minds, hearts, souls, ideas, and far-off places, minus the long lines and frequent-flier miles. 

Steinway. My musical partner at countless performances on stages across Westchester and in more than 30 countries.

Turkey Mountain. An 800-foot trek up the Yorktown hills. On a clear day, you can Manhattan’s skyline and a hint of the Hudson River.

Usonia. A 100-acre gallery of architectural modernism designed or inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Visionaries. Westchester has long been an inspiring haven for generations of artists from Jasper Cropsey, Washington Irving, and Charles Ives to John Cheever, Samuel Barber, and Peter Martins.

Westchester, of course! Only “45 Minutes from Broadway,” as the George M. Cohan song (about New Rochelle) goes, and two minutes off my Saw Mill Parkway exit, I pass sheep, cattle, and chickens. 

X. The visual image for Crossings, the latest Copland House Blend CD release, featuring the dark, thrilling music of composer Pierre Jalbert.

Yorktown’s Baptist Church Road. A magical, two-mile long, hilly country path winding through woods, farms, grand Tudor mansions, and sprawling modernist homes.

Zipping into the city. Close enough to get in on a moment’s notice but also easy to get out.  

 

 

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