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Feb 21 2023

An Evening with R. Carlos Nakai and William Eaton

Lani Hall

Join Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai and guitarist/luthier William Eaton for a dual lecture, joint conversation, and musical demo. Areas of discussion will include the negotiative aspects of collective improvisation, the practice of duetting across musical traditions, and the complex relationships between performer and instrument.


Eaton designs and builds innovative guitars and stringed instruments and is a founder and Director of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, in Phoenix, AZ. William’s one-of-a-kind instruments have been featured in major museums, books, magazines, and art exhibits. A four-time GRAMMY nominee, Eaton has recorded 16 albums for Canyon Records and tours nationally and internationally. He has also produced and recorded several award-winning albums in his Wisdom Tree Studios in Sedona, including: Electric Harp Guitar Group, Ananeah, and Quiet Fire Trio.

In 2015 he received the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in the ‘artist’ category. Eaton has composed for and performed with the William Eaton Ensemble, Electric Harp Guitar Group, Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra and Amadeus Trio among others.  He has performed and collaborated with R. Carlos Nakai, Will Clipman, Claudia Tulip, Allen Ames, Mary Redhouse, Arvel Bird, Susannah Martin, Edgar Meyer, Anthony Mazzella, Fitzhugh Jenkins, Gary Stroutsos, and others.

William has worked towards environmental activism since the 1980s and is a founder and director of Sustainable Arizona. He is also the founder of Wisdom Tree Institute, an online resource collective that explores the relationship between humans and trees, with a focus on luthiers and artisans who use wood as the primary material for their art and craft.


Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. Originally trained in classical trumpet and music theory, Nakai was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to see what he could do with it.

Nakai began playing the traditional Native American flute in the early 1980s and has released more than 50 albums in his career (with 40 on the Canyon Records label).  Nakai has earned two gold records for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit. In 2014, Canyon Trilogy reached Platinum status, (over 1 million units sold), the first ever for a Native American artist performing on a traditional instrument.  In addition to solo appearances throughout the United States , Europe and Japan, Nakai has worked with guitarist William Eaton, flutist Paul Horn, pianist Peter Kater, composers James DeMars and Phillip Glass and various symphony orchestras.

While well grounded in the traditional uses of the flute, Nakai has explored new musical settings including new age, world beat, jazz and classical.  His cross-cultural collaborations have included Tibetan flutist, Nawang Khechog and Hawaiian slack-key guitarist, Keola Beamer, as well as a Japanese folk group, Wind Travelin’ Band.  He has recently begun working again with his world-beat jazz group, the R. Carlos Nakai Quartet, including Will Clipman on percussion, Amo Chip Dabney on keyboards, and saxophone, and Johnny Walker on bass.

Carlos has earned eleven GRAMMY nominations and 10 NAMA awards, a Governor’s Arts Award, and an honorary doctorate from NAU.

This event is free and open to the public


Self-service parking is available at UCLA’s Parking Structure #2 for events in Schoenberg Music Building and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. Costs range from $1 for 20 minutes to $20 all day. Learn more about campus parking.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is eager to provide a variety of accommodations and services for access and communications. If you would like to request accommodations, please do so 10 days in advance of the event by emailing ADA@schoolofmusic.ucla.edu or calling (310) 825-0174.


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music welcomes visitors to take non‐flash, personal‐use photography except where noted. Share your images with us @UCLAalpert / #UCLAalpert on Twitter + Instagram + Facebook


Food and drink may not be carried into the theaters. Thank you!


The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.