The Neighborhood Classics concert series will hold its final performance of the season at PS 321's Auditorium (180 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn) today, June 3, 2012 at 3pm. Face the Music will perform Osvaldo Golijov's Last Round, for string ensemble; Steve Martland's Horses of Instruction, for mixed classical/rock ensemble; Anna Clyne's short quartet Primula Vulgaris; and Robert Honstein's Night Mixes. All ticket sales will benefit PS 321.
Praised for "stunning performances" by The New York Times, Kaufman Center's Face the Music is an "alt-classical" ensemble of more than 70 astonishingly talented teenagers from in and around New York City. Advancing Kaufman Center's commitment to modern music, Face the Music provides an unparalleled performance and education experience for the next generation of musical leaders. Under the direction of conductor Dr. Undercofler, Face the Music has played across New York City at venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, El Museo del Barrio, Merkin Hall, the River to River Festival and the Bang On A Can Marathon. The group has been featured on WQXR's Young Artist Showcase, NPR's All Things Considered, and played on a live broadcast marking the opening of NY Public Radio's Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. In 2011, Face the Music was honored with the ASCAP Aaron Copland Award.
Face the Music features middle and high school students from over 20 different New York area schools. Many of the performers are students or alumni of Kaufman Center's own Special Music School, the only K-8 public school in New York City that integrates pre-conservatory musical training with academic education. The group was founded in 2005 by Special Music School Music Director Jenny Undercofler and composer Huang Ruo.
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein founded the Neighborhood Classics series at PS 321, the school that her son attends and where her husband teaches, in 2009 and at Manhattan's PS 142 in 2010 in an effort to build relationships at a local level between neighborhoods and musicians. These one-hour, family-friendly performances, which are hosted by Dinnerstein and feature musicians she has admired and collaborated with during her career, are open to the public and raise funds for the schools. The musicians performing donate their time and talent to the program, and the concerts are organized and administered by PTA volunteers and faculty members. Neighborhood Classics has already raised enough funds to bring back the fourth grade band program at PS 142. At PS 321, proceeds benefit the school's PTA, which helps to fund art, chess, band, and chorus programs.
"This concert series is about bringing communities together around music," explains Ms. Dinnerstein. "It is a way for students, parents, teachers and neighbors to gather in a familiar and comfortable setting to listen to great music."