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Face the Music

New York City, NY            

Praised for “stunning performances” by The New York Times, Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music is the only youth ensemble in the country solely devoted to the music of living composers. Advancing Kaufman Music Center’s commitment to modern music, Face the Music draws over 200 students from all over the New York region.  


Under the direction of conductor and founder Dr. Jenny Undercofler, Face the Music has played at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Roulette, BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the Bang On A Can Marathon; and has worked with professional musicians such as the JACK Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, David Robertson, and Vijay Iyer. Now in its tenth season, Face the Music has been featured on WQXR’s Young Artist Showcase, NPR’s All Things Considered, and has been the subject of feature stories in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.


Face the Music performs music for large groups (orchestra, jazz band, improvisation ensemble); cultivates, workshops and performs music by its own member-composers; and partners with the Kronos Quartet in a one-of-a-kind string quartet program devoted to contemporary music. The five string quartets in the Kronos at Kaufman program represent the best string students in the city, drawn together by a shared desire to explore the “brave new world” of new quartet repertoire.

Highlights of the 2014-15 season include a performance of Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven’s “On Parole” with the Kronos Quartet at Zankel Hall; the first ever performance by a youth symphony of Michael Gordon’s epic Trance at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society as part of the Intersections Festival; world premieres of 17 new works by Face the Music member composers;  four-concert series at Queens Museum, Firehouse Space in Williamsburg, Roulette in downtown Brooklyn and Players Theatre in the West Village; and a March 9 collaboration with the 21-member new music ensemble Contemporaneous featuring “And Then It Rained” by David Moore plus works written by Face the Music members.