Queens students are among the young musicians taking part in the Face the Music program, which Jenny Undercofler began in 2005 at Manhattan’s Kaufman Music Center, with an aim to focus gifted student musicians from across the city on learning works by living composers.
“It’s unusual, because when you’re studying music, you’re usually dealing with [composers] who are no longer living,” said Undercofler. “With [this program], students can engage with composers who are living, and whenever possible, rehearse music with them.”
She said students had been especially excited to work with the Kronos Quartet, which has sold more than 1.5 million records, ahead of the May 13th event at The Church-in-the-Gardens.
“Kronos seems incredibly cool to them,” she said. “They’re very rigorous and they’re able to bring the kids to the next level. That’s always amazing to watch. Kronos sets the bar very high and the kids rise to it.”
She said a highlight of Wednesday’s performance, in rehearsals at least, was the world premiere of a new piece by Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, All in One, which required the use of props throughout the performance.
“We were working on it yesterday, and some students had to use props, like blowing a whistle,” she said. “That can be tricky, but of course people were getting silly. The piece is fairly rhythmically complicated, but it’s a really fun piece.”