Neighborhood Classics Presents CONTEMPORANEOUS and FACE THE MUSIC Concerts, 12/1 & 2

The Neighborhood Classics concert series presents two concerts the weekend of December 1 and 2, 2012. On Saturday, December 1 at 7pm, new music group Contemporaneous will perform a concert hosted by James Matheson, composer and Neighborhood Classics Artistic Director at P.S. 142, entitled "Shut Your Eyes" at P.S. 142 (100 Attorney St., NYC) on Manhattan's Lower East Side. On Sunday, December 2 at 3pm, the talented teenagers of Face the Music will perform a concert entitled "Why Am I Hearing Rock in my Classical Music?" at P.S. 69Q (77-02 37th Ave.) in Queens. All ticket sales for these one-hour, family-friendly concerts benefit the host schools.

Contemporaneous a New York-based collective of 40+ musicians, was founded at Bard College in 2010. In "Shut Your Eyes" at P.S. 142, the ensemble presents a kaleidoscopic voyage of powerful new music that draws from minimalism, rock, and folk traditions as disparate as Anatolia and Ireland. The concert features works by Conor Brown (Scrolls, world premiere), Bryce Dessner (O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind), and Donnacha Dennehy (Grás agus Bás/Love and Death)

A founding member of Contemporaneous, Boulder-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Conor Brown draws from Turkish and Balkan folk as well as American minimalism to create a highly original and compelling musical voice. Contemporaneous will give the world premiere of his large-scale work, Scrolls, a wild, haunting, rock-infused, Anatolian folk-inspired work for four vocalists and ensemble. Best known for his work as a guitarist with the indie-rock band The National, Bryce Dessner is an active composer in the new music scene as well.

Contemporaneous performs his recent work O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind, a dreamscape that takes its title from an evocative poem by Black Mountain poet Larry Eigner. Inspired by the rich sean-nós vocal tradition of his native Ireland, Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás (Love and Death) is a dramatic epic for vocalist and just-intoned chamber ensemble. Contemporaneous vocalist Finnegan Shanahan will be the beacon on this uniquely powerful journey of ecstasy and destiny.

Kaufman Center's Face the Music is an "alt-classical" ensemble of more than 70 unusually talented teenagers from in and around New York City, praised for "stunning performances" by The New York Times. At P.S. 69Q, jazz and rock meet contemporary classical music in a program that includes Andy Didorenko's Concerto for Two Violins, featuring two of the groups longtime violin virtuosi; hip-hop violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain's La La La La for chamber orchestra; and Face the Music's own Ethan Cohn's Lionfish for large jazz combo. The concert will also include Philip Glass' sparkling String Quartet No. 5, as well as a string quartet by one of the Philip Glass Ensemble's current members: David Crowell's Open Road. Finally, the ensemble will present a work by the young Abe Gold, Four NYC Pieces, bringing the sounds of the city – car horns included – right onto the concert stage.

Contemporaneous, a New York-based ensemble of 40+ musicians, performs the most exciting music of this generation, music that describes the world and captures the spirit of the present moment. Founded in 2010 at Bard College, Contemporaneous has played over 40 concerts at venues including the Merkin Concert Hall, Galapagos Art Space, Roulette, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Stone, and gave the first ever performance at Van Dyke Park, New Amsterdam Records' space in Brooklyn. In April 2012 Innova Recordings released Contemporaneous' debut album, Stream of Stars - Music of Dylan Mattingly, comprising music written for the ensemble by its founding co-artistic director. For more information, visit

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

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

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