The New Face of 21st Century Music
Read about Face the Music in The New York Times and the National Sawdust Log.
Face the Music is Kaufman Music Center’s contemporary music education program for teenagers, and the country’s only youth program dedicated to studying and performing post-genre music by living composers.
Praised for “stunning performances” by the New York Times, Face the Music features a collection of ensembles including a chamber orchestra, a jazz big-band, an improvisation collective, string quartets and mixed chamber-ensembles, all dedicated to studying and performing experimental, new-classical, new-jazz & avant-garde music written exclusively by living composers.
Face the Music members have unparalleled performance opportunities at high-profile NYC spaces like Merkin Hall, National Sawdust, Roulette, The Jazz Gallery and BAMcafé as well as experimental performance spaces and schools. Face the Music also offers mentorship, support and unique promotional opportunities to developing young performers and composers through its unparalleled network of professional contemporary musicians, organizations, media and venues. In partnership with Luna Composition Lab, Face the Music mentors young female composers.
Rehearsals take place on Sundays during the school year.
See the full rehearsal schedule.
Who can participate in Face the Music?
Music students ages 12-18 who want to explore cool and exciting new music, while creating and collaborating with some of the biggest names in contemporary music today. At least three years of instrumental experience are recommended. String players should have completed Suzuki Book 5. Composers at all levels, including beginners, are welcome.
How can I become part of Face the Music?
Registration is open throughout the school year. Seating auditions are held Sunday afternoons during the first few weeks of September. Students are placed within the program based on interest, enthusiasm, commitment and skill. For information and registration, call 212 501 3360 or email email@example.com.
What kind of music does Face the Music play?
Face the Music plays experimental, new-classical, new-jazz and avant-garde music written exclusively by living composers. Past seasons have included works by Maria Schneider, Greg Saunier, John King, Rhiannon Giddens, Sean Friar, Rudresh Mahanthappa and young composers in the Luna Composition Lab mentorship program for young women composers. Face the Music also performs works by its own member-composers. Students participate in ensembles including a chamber orchestra, a jazz big-band, an improvisation collective, string quartets and mixed chamber-ensembles.
Where is Face the Music, and what kind of time commitment is required?
Face the Music is based at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex on Amsterdam Ave. and West 66th St. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. All ensembles rehearse weekly on Sundays throughout the school year.
I’m a student composer. What kinds of opportunities could I have with Face the Music?
Face the Music is committed to studying and performing music written by its own student composer-performers! Student composers are also invited to apply to Luna Composition Lab, a mentorship program for young women composers that is a partnership between Kaufman Music Center and composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid.
Performance Program (all students) - $650
The core experience at Face the Music. All students play in a large ensemble, such as chamber orchestra, jazz band, improvisation ensemble, advanced jazz or advanced chamber. Weekly Sunday afternoon-evening rehearsals September to June (30 weeks). Multiple opportunities to work directly with living composers and prominent contemporary guest artists. Each ensemble gives four major concerts at exciting NYC venues. Special Music School High School students receive a 25% discount.
String Quartet (add-on) - $400
By audition for violinists, violists and cellists. Students play in a string quartet September to June (30 weeks) which is coached weekly on Sunday afternoons preceding large ensemble rehearsals. Students work closely with the annual Quartet-in-Residence. Recent quartets include Kronos Quartet and ETHEL. Each student group gives four major concerts at exciting NYC venues, including specialized performance opportunities. String quartet students play in the chamber orchestra for eight weeks.
Composition (add-on) - $400
Face the Music is committed to supporting the creation and performance of music by its own student composers! Students receive eight 40-minute private lessons, a music theory and software notation crash course (parents can attend this), and a reading-recording session by professional musicians. Select pieces are invited to be performed by Face the Music. Previous composition experience not required!
Workshops (add-on) - $100
Special workshops, such as Song-Writing, Conducting or Electronics & Technology, meet for 6 weeks on Sunday afternoon before ensemble rehearsals. These workshops are open to students outside of Face the Music for a $400 fee.
Scholarships are available. For financial aid information, call 212 501 3360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I audition for Face the Music?
Seating auditions are held Sunday afternoons during the first few weeks of September at Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex on Amsterdam Ave. and 66th St. Unlike traditional “seating auditions,” these are really meant to be more like informal playing-introductions, and are a fantastic opportunity to meet and play for our principal coaches and conductors. To sign up for a time to come in and play for us, please email email@example.com
What do I need to bring to rehearsals?
Your instrument, parts, a pencil and a positive attitude.
How do I know which room we’ll be rehearsing in at Special Music School High School?
The schedule and location are posted on a whiteboard outside the black box theater at SMS High School.
Who do I contact if I’m going to be late or need to miss a rehearsal?
Contact the Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212 501 3360.
I’m a parent/family member of a Face the Music student and would like to volunteer. How can I help?
Volunteers are needed for transporting equipment to and from performances, helping with check-in at venues, assisting with recruitment efforts, and reaching out to potential venues, artists and collaborators. To discuss opportunities, please contact the Program Coordinator at email@example.com or 212 501 3360. Volunteers working with students will need to have a background check as per Kaufman Music Center policy.
I have a miscellaneous question. Who should I contact?
Is it about scheduling? Logistics? Minute details? Email the Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask Vasu in person at rehearsal on Sundays.
I have a cool idea for a project.
Awesome! Share it with us! We’re totally open to new ideas and trying new things, and want to make this experience as exciting for you as possible!