Free Concert: Richmond County Orchestra Honors Memory of Board Member Dr. Dorothy Matthews with “Bach to the Beatles”

STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Richmond County Orchestra presents “Bach to the Beatles” this Saturday, September 25 at 4 pm, a free concert in honor of the late Dr. Dorothy Matthews, physician and long-time member of the Board of Trustees. The concert is a nod to his taste for classical music, Broadway arias and opera and is conducted by Maestro Alan Aurelia.

Emerging after mainly a year of remote practice and virtual performances, “Bach to Beatles” will take place on the lawn of the Conference House Park Conservancy, 298 Satterlee Street, at the end of Hylan Boulevard. The concert is free but donations are welcome. Spectators must bring blankets and garden chairs.

Check the event page at for updates as the performance lineup may be subject to change.

The concert features the world premiere of “Turn Again to Life” by Staten Island composer Valeda Zaage Bell, performed by soprano Alison Madill and music by the RCO Clarinet Quartet Utopia Winds and is conducted by Maestro Alan Aurelia.

Rika Rapoport, a 9-year-old child prodigy pianist, will perform Bach’s minuet in G G. Baritone Jay Stephenson is also present. performing Carmen’s song Toreador as well as Broadway favorites and a duet with soprano Alison Madill.

Staten Island Poet Laureate Marguerite Rivas who was spoken by Dr. Edward Matthews, husband of Dr. Dorothy Matthews, reads poems in honor of Dr. Matthews.

This performance is made possible with funding from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, NYS Council on the Arts, Northfield Bank, The Conference House Park Conservancy, and the Board of Directors and members of the County Orchestra of Richmond.

Previous archive photo: The Richmond County Orchestra performs “Music from the Movies”, conducted by Alan Aurelia. (Staten Island Advance / Bill Lyons)


Dr Matthews, a graduate of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania with a medical degree, began her career at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ, as one of their first female physicians. Dr. Matthews and her husband Edward J. Matthews Sr. MD, a frontline surgeon during World War II, and her son Edward J. Matthews Jr. MD, with a degree in internal medicine, opened a family practice. which has spread to all aspects of medicine.

Known as “Dr. Dorothy” to her patients, she retired at the age of 80 and returned to her first love of music and her devotion to the arts. She has served on the board of directors of the Richmond County Orchestra and as chair of the board of directors of the Riverside Opera Company. Dr Matthews of Tottenville died on January 15, 2021, aged 87.

Staten Island Advance

2014: Gathered at the RCO performance are, from left, Alan Arthur Aurelia, bassist; William Barone, tenor; maestro Alan Aurelia, founding conductor and musical director of RCO; and Nick Bayne, actor. Opposite, actress Ariana Fekett. (Advance from Staten Island)


Zaage Bell received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She attended Manhattan School of Music, Temple University, Brooklyn College, and Hunter College for her graduate studies. She studied piano with Charles Fischer and conducting and choir conducting with Elizabeth AH Green and John Sinclair. On July 29, 2009, she conducted a 120-part choir and 30-piece orchestra for a performance at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.

Recently, Zaage Bell recorded a CD of 20th century piano music for Patrice Editions. She has taught music at Curtis High School, New Dorp High School, Port Richmond High School and Wagner High School. She was the musical director of local productions of “Once Upon a Mattress”, “Marat / Sade” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

She has been organist, pianist and choir director of the Moravian Church of Vanderbilt for over 30 years. She is also the artistic director of a local recorder group, the Richmond Recorder Ensemble. His recorder group won Staten Island Has Talent in 2020.

Courtesy / artist

The Richmond County Orchestra concert will present the world premiere of “Turn Again to Life” by Staten Island composer Valeda Zaage Bell, performed by soprano Alison Madill. (Courtesy / artist)


RCO’s popularity has grown so much over the years that they have been called to perform at various venues throughout the Tri-State area including Carnegie Hall, NYC; the Guggenheim Museum, the Natural History Museum, Fairfield University, Washington Square Park, Asbury Park and more. Tickets for all Richmond County Orchestra concerts are free for students and children.

Last March, when schools closed and the world moved away, the Richmond County Orchestra had already launched its side-by-side programs at three New York City schools (Stuyvesant High School, Robert F. Wagner Middle School and Curtis High School).

The Richmond County Orchestra’s educational program pairs students who wish to pursue a career in music with musicians from the Richmond County Orchestra to learn and be coached in a side-by-side after-school program.

When Covid closed the schools and the ability to meet in person, the program managed to switch in three days to a remote program in time for the schools to open virtually. The music was playing.

Watch the Richmond County Orchestra’s Virtual Side-By-Side with Robert F. Wagner Middle School in New York City During the year of in-person performances interrupted and concert halls closed, the orchestra performed.

Founded in 1998, under the direction of Maestro Alan Aurelia, the Richmond County Orchestra continues its efforts to improve the musical and cultural life of Staten Island and New York students and strives to inspire a love of music through a presentation of the classical repertoire and programming. that encourages interaction with members of the public.

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