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Casey Kearney: Former MCW Student Becomes the Teacher

Oct 13, 2020

An alumna of the Music Conservatory of Westchester and an original member of the school’s chamber orchestra, Casey Kearney has since performed with the Chicago Symphony and San Francisco Symphony. She returns to the Conservatory starting this fall to teach oboe lessons to students of all ages. Douglas Bish, the Conservatory’s Dean of Students and Faculty, who formerly conducted the chamber orchestra, was thrilled to welcome her to the Conservatory faculty.

“I don’t think I realized it then, but the Conservatory’s chamber orchestra was my first step in playing in a collaborative orchestra environment,” Kearney said of her experience starting at 12-years-old. “Even rehearsing and playing with Dr. Bish as conductor helped build my confidence in my playing. It really stuck with me.”

Her interest in playing the oboe and English horn stemmed from her father’s love for classical music. “I thought I might want to play violin or guitar. My dad played a piece for me, Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and during the middle movement, I heard an instrument and said, ‘I want to play that.’ It was a moment of self-discovery.”

In high school, she had an interest in studying science and was also an All-County and All-State musician. “On the way back home from All-State, I realized music was all I wanted to do.” Kearney went on to earn a Bachelors of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and a Masters in Music from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her experience performing Gustav Holst’s The Planets with Chicago Symphony Orchestra came full circle, as it was the same piece that she performed with the All-State orchestra in high school.

Thrilled to return to the Music Conservatory of Westchester, she said, “I remember it was always a warm, welcoming and supportive environment.”

Now as a Conservatory faculty member, she recognizes that her early experience playing in the community music school’s chamber orchestra was a great example for her own teaching. “It blows my mind when a student makes a breakthrough,” Kearney said of what she enjoys most about teaching. “I enjoy helping a student discover the instrument.”