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Jazz & Improvisation

Sound Bite Orchestra

Face the Music's Sound Bite Orchestra performs improvised and experimental music by today's leading composers. Over the course of a season, students will explore music across a wide range of genres and modalities. Students auditioning for this ensemble do not need to have any previous experience with reading music or improvising. Students read music and improvise, and will gain experience performing non-traditional forms of notation such as graphic and text-based scores. SBO's repertoire includes Walter Thompson's gesture-based Sound Painting composition system. In Sound Painting, students learn how to compose in real time using a variety of musical gestures to direct the ensemble. Each student participates in both leading the ensemble as a conductor and performing as an instrumentalist/vocalist. Since 2016, SBO has performed contemporary works by North Indian composers Tanmoy Bose and Nistha Raj on the Brooklyn Raga Massive concert series. Other collaborations include performing the music of Anthony Braxton with members of Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation, John Zorn's Masada, and music by AACM composer George Lewis. The Sound Bite Orchestra is conducted by saxophonist and composer Aakash Mittal.

Samurai Mama Big Band

Face the Music's Samurai Mama Big Band performs music by living jazz composers and music written by student members of the ensemble. SMBB focuses on music that uses traditional big band instrumentation. Students are expected to have experience reading music when auditioning for this ensemble. Students auditioning for the big band do not need previous experience with improvisation and will have opportunities to improvise in the ensemble. SMBB's repertoire includes works by Maria Schneider, Rudresh Mahanthappa and John Hollenbeck. The ensemble regularly works directly with the composers of the music they are rehearsing. The band has been visited by Mac Arthur "Genius" Fellow Anthony Braxton, Latin Grammy artist Arturo O'Farrill, Guggenheim fellow Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Doris Duke Performing Artist John Hollenbeck. During the 2017-18 season SMBB performed Anthony Braxton's composition 55 with trumpet player/composer Taylor Ho Bynum. Face the Music offers a unique opportunity for young composers to write, workshop and perform their own large ensemble jazz works. The big band regularly performs works written by student members of the band in such notable NYC venues as Roulette, The Jazz Gallery and the Dimenna Center. The Samurai Mama Big Band is conducted by Aakash Mittal.

Advanced Jazz Project

The Advanced Jazz Project is an opportunity for experienced Face the Music students to play challenging small ensemble music and the music of FTM composers. Students auditioning for this ensemble are expected to be proficient at reading music and to have experience improvising. AJP has performed works by composers including Mary Halvorson, Steve Lehman, Mainak Nagchoudhury and Anthony Braxton.  The Advanced Jazz Project is conducted by Aakash Mittal.

Copy above by Aakash Mittal, saxophonist, composer and Face the Music coach