A classically-trained musician’s education usually proceeds like a history class, in which old comes before new. Most musicians will make first brush with recently composed music in college, if they do at all; a few will discover that it exists while in high school, but may lack the infrastructure to be able to perform it. Musicians who engage substantially with new works anytime prior are practically myth.
For musicians of older generations, to watch the pre-college musicians of Face the Music perform Pamela Z on Feb. 11 at National Sawdust was to attempt to mute one’s envy. Organized by Kaufman Music Center, Face the Music is the country’s sole youth program dedicated to working with living composers, and is regularly featured at the city’s forward-thinking venues—BAM, Roulette, and the Ecstatic Music Festival among them. Here, joined by the singer and podcast host Helga Davis, Face the Music showcased its students’ latest explorations with a program of largely improvisation-based works by black female composers. Continue reading.