Neighborhood Classics, Contemporaneous, Face the Music
Under the direction of founder and conductor Dr. Jenny Undercofler, Face the Music has played across New York City at venues such as Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Hall, Roulette, BAMcafé and the Bang on a Can Marathon. The group has been featured on WQXR's Young Artist Showcase, NPR's All Things Considered, and they played on a live broadcast marking the opening of New York Public Radio's Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. In 2011, Face the Music was honored with the ASCAP Aaron Copland Award. Most recently, Face the Music opened for Philip Glass Ensemble at the River to River Festival. Face the Music features over 100 students, from 5th through 12th grade, from every borough in New York City, and beyond. Many of the performers are students or alumni of Kaufman's own Special Music School, the only K-8 public school in New York City that integrates pre-conservatory musical training with academic education. 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. For more information, visit www.kaufman-center.org/mch/series/face-the-music.
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein founded the Neighborhood Classics series in 2009 at P.S. 321, the school that her son attended and where her husband teaches, and expanded the series to P.S. 142 on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 2010. Neighborhood Classics builds 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 parent volunteers and faculty members. In 2012, composer James Matheson joined the Neighborhood Classics team as Artistic Director at P.S. 142.
In addition to evening concerts, Neighborhood Classics stages all-school happenings – last year, these included a "Bach Invasion" and a "Renaissance Revolution" at P.S. 321– which immerse the school in music, with dozens of musicians performing in all of the school's classrooms throughout the day.
"This concert series is about bringing communities together around music," Dinnerstein explains. "It is a way for students, parents, teachers and neighbors to gather in a familiar and comfortable setting to listen to great music." All of the performances take place in the evenings and on weekends, so that families may attend together.
Neighborhood Classics has already raised enough funds to bring back the fourth grade band program at P.S. 142. At P.S. 321, proceeds benefit the school's PTA, which helps to fund art, chess, band, and chorus programs.
Since 2009, the following top-tier musicians have been presented by Neighborhood Classics: pianist Simone Dinnerstein, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, cellist Maya Beiser, pianist Pablo Ziegler, cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Valentina Lisitsa, harpist Bridget Kibbey, violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Wendy Sutter, Face the Music (a teenage new music group), lutist Paul O'Dette, cellist Clive Greensmith, Cypress String Quartet, Chiara String Quartet, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). For more information, visit www.neighborhoodclassics.com.
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