Photo Courtesy of Dennis Thorton

Ariel Rudiakov

Music Director and Conductor

Ariel Rudiakov, conductor and violist, is the newly appointed Music Director of the Yonkers Philharmonic. He is also co-founder and Artistic Director of Taconic Music in Manchester, VT, Music Director and conductor of Danbury Symphony Orchestra, CT, Assistant conductor of the Greenwich (CT) Symphony Orchestra and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Indianapolis, where he conducted the chamber orchestra and coached chamber music from 2017 to April, 2022. He attended pre-college at Manhattan School of Music and went on to receive Bachelor and Master’s degrees at SUNY Purchase and University of Illinois at Champain-Urbana. Rudiakov was a scholarship student at Yale University’s master’s program where he studied viola with Jessie Levine and chamber music with members of the Tokyo String Quartet. 

He enjoys a diverse musical life, performing to critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and abroad with many fine musicians including members of the Shanghai, Lark and Indianapolis Quartets, current and former members of the Tokyo, Juilliard and Guarneri quartets, pianists Ruth Laredo, Davide Cabassi, Andre Michel Schub, and Drew Peterson, among many others. He is a former member of the New York Piano Quartet and Equinox String Quartet, and was a founding member and president of SONYC (String Orchestra of New York City).  

Mr. Rudiakov was Artistic Director of the Manchester (VT) Music Festival from 2000 to 2016. Among his recordings are the complete string quartets by Camille Saint-Saens and the piano quintet by Vittorio Giannini (MSR Classics), which Fanfare Magazine described as “utterly superb”.  Composers Richard Lane, Philip Lasser and Coleridge Taylor Perkinson have dedicated works to Mr. Rudiakov. At the podium, he has collaborated with noted musicians Jaime Laredo, Sharon Robinson, Michael Rudiakov, Bernard Greenhouse, David Deveau, Christopher O’Reilly, and others. Resident and guest conducting positions have included the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra, Metropolitan Symphony, Bergen, and Yonkers Philharmonics, Antara Ensemble, Manchester Chamber Orchestra, Harlem Chamber Players, Sage City Symphony and recording sessions with Dance Theater of Harlem. Recent chamber music activity includes performances at the Pikes Falls Festival in Vermont and the Kawai a Ledro festival in Italy. 

As a devoted fan of progressive and other kinds of rock music, Ari plays electric viola on a recently re-booted and released song called Wizards by his band, The Region of Where. Wizards can be heard on Bandcamp and other streaming platforms. In addition, occasional acting has beckoned Rudiakov. He can be seen in the feature film Breathe In (starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones) playing, not surprisingly, the conductor.

James Sadewhite, Conductor Emeritus

James Sadewhite

James Sadewhite was born in Yonkers in 1946, passed away in 2013. His parents moved to Valhalla New York where he attended the Valhalla Schools. As a high-school student he studied the clarinet with Jerome (Gino) Sala, played in the Mount Vernon Philharmonic, The Westchester Pops Band, and the Westchester Youth Symphony where he studied conducting with Norman Leyden.

Mr. Sadewhite attended the State University at Potsdam New York, where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Education, a Performance Degree on the clarinet and was selected to play in the annual Concerto Program. While in college he studied conducting with James DePriest of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and the harpsichord. Upon graduation, he was employed bt the Bay Shore Public Schools and taught there for two years, playing performances on the clarinet around Long Island.

He then started a teaching job at the Dobbs Ferry Public Schools, where he taught instrumental and vocal music at all levels for the next thirty four years. He retired from teaching in 2002. Meanwhile, he earned two masters degrees from Columbia University with a major in conducting and was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the YMHA Orchestra in Livingston, New Jersey. Since then, he has been conductor of the Irvington New Jersey Symphony, The Summit New Jersey Symphony, The State Repertory Opera, New Jersey, The Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Philharmonic, the Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra, New York, the New Jersey State Opera, and of course the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra. He has received critical acclaim in the metropolitan area, especially for his performances of Massanet’s Thais, Bizet’s Carmen, and Gounod’s Faust as well as performances by the Chappaqua Chamber Orchestra with Ruth Laredo, Chu Yun and Peter Winograd and the Summit Symphony with Pamela Frank Norman Kreiger and Jane Brunnell.

He has appeared as guest conductor numerous times in the metropolitan area and in Taiwan, most recently as the conductor of the Westchester County Area All-State at Purchase.

He was married in 1972, and he and his lovely and talented wife Elizabeth (Betsy) lived in Irvington, New York before his passing.  Their two grown children, Alec and Margaret, live in Oakland California.


Dr. Kathleen Pistone Carucci

June 25, 1930 – March 19, 2021

Dr. Kay, a beloved Yonkers native, touched many lives throughout her life as an educator, philanthropist, classical music supporter, animal lover, cherished family member and friend. 

In 1962, on their honeymoon in Italy, Conductor / Composer Pasquale A. Pistone and his bride conceived their dreams of establishing the Fine Arts Orchestral Society (FAOS) to fundraise and support the yet to be established Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra (YPO) which would provide live, orchestral concerts, free-of-charge, to Yonkers residents. 

As founder of the Fine Arts Orchestral Society (FAOS), Dr. Kay dedicated her lifetime to the promotion of the arts. Her vision, commitment and leadership have enriched Yonkers and its surrounding communities for more than 58 years.  

Over the years, with the support of Dr. Kay, friends, neighbors and generous grants, FAOS/YPO, now in its 59th year, has continued to thrive.  In recognition of Dr. Kay’s dedication and tireless efforts,  the Board of Directors of the FAOS, established the Dr. Kathleen Pistone-Carucci Legacy Fund.

Born to Isabel and Thomas Farago on June 25, 1930, Dr. Kathleen Pistone Carucci attended St. Dennis Parochial School and Gorton High School.  Dr. Kay, as she is affectionately known,  earned her master’s degree in Psychology at Manhattan College and her Ph.D. from Yeshiva University. During her professional career with the Yonkers Public Schools, she was an elementary school teacher; Director of Staff Development; and a member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet. As the Director of Performing Arts, Dr. Carucci was responsible for re-instituting the All-City Band and Choir. 

During the early 1970’s Mayor Alfred DelBello appointed Dr. Kay to coordinate music and art festivals throughout Yonkers. She later served as Trustee for the Department of Parks. After that, she served as a volunteer with Mayor Martinelli as chairperson of “Square Under the Stars”; was responsible for organizing musical programs in order to generate interest in downtown Yonkers; and also initiated and organized the highly successful outdoor concerts at the Yonkers Cross County Shopping Center. 

As chairperson of the Mayor’s Community Relations Committee, Dr. Carucci was involved in the re-institution of the “Christmas Tree Lighting”, a popular Yonkers tradition. She also worked closely with Senator Flynn in presenting concerts at the Hudson River Museum and Marina. May 15, 1987 was declared “Kathleen Pistone Day” by the Mayor and City Council of Yonkers.

Dr. Kay was, also,  a member of the Columbus Day Committee and inducted into the Westchester County Hall of Fame. She has been recognized by many organizations including PTAs, the American Committee on Italian Migration, and the East Yonkers Rotary Club. Dr. Kay was on the Sacred Heart Church Advisory Council and Chairperson of Leadership Training Program for (YEFI) Senior Citizens in Yonkers as well as a Board member of the Beczak Environmental Educational Center. 

Dr. Carucci also completed a Spiritual Development program in Westchester, trained in Bereavement at the Archdiocese of New York and was affiliated with the Thanatology Department of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. In addition to being a Bereavement Specialist, she was also a Pastoral Counselor.

Dr. Carucci was chairperson of the Enrico Fermi Scholarship Breakfast and initiated the Fine Arts “Pistone Music Scholarship Award” (now expanded into FAOS’ Young Artist Concerto Competition). Over the past 58 years, Dr. Carucci has served as an officer and now as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Orchestral Society of Yonkers. 

In addition to Dr. Kay’s love for music, she was an avid animal lover, having treasured pets all her life. When she learned that the existing Yonkers Animal Center was in disrepair, she joined a group of like-minded citizens to raise funds for a new facility. As President of the Building Hope for the New Yonkers Animal Shelter, she successfully provided a new, state-of-the-art Animal Shelter in Yonkers.

Throughout her adult life, Dr. Kathleen Pistone-Carucci has been a fine example of a “Professional Volunteer.” Dr. Kay will be missed by a host of loving friends and family, but her legacy of Music, as well as her love for animals and for her city of Yonkers, will speak for her now and forever.