"At first glance the ensemble setting up in a fifth-floor classroom at the Kaufman Center on West 67th Street in Manhattan seems like any other student group and exactly what you would expect to find in a building that houses two music schools and Merkin Concert Hall," writes Allan Kozinn in the New York Times. "Teenage string and brass players tune their instruments and play fragments of pieces they are working on; saxophonists see to their reeds; percussionists contribute spiritedly to the din; and a guitarist and a bassist quietly pluck figures from the scores on their music stands.
"But when the conductor, Jenny Undercofler, using a pencil as a baton, leads her Face the Music ensemble through Steve Martland’s rhythmically pointed, texturally jagged “Horses of Instruction,” you realize that this is not the sort of student orchestra you may remember. It is instead an alternative-universe high school band: a new-music factory that focuses on works written in the last 50 years, with an emphasis on the new alt-classical style. Its musicians, who began studying new music before anyone had told them that it was incomprehensible or unlikable, are thrilled to play it, and their spirit has impressed composers whose music they perform."