Herb Alpert and Students

Center: Herb and Lani Alpert with UCLA students from the Ethnomusicology, Music and Musicology
departments. Photo credit Aimee Rentmeester.

November 16, 2007 — UCLA announced today the formation and naming of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and a $30 million endowment gift made possible through the generosity of the renowned, performer, producer and philanthropist Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall Alpert. This endowment gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation in support of the new school is the largest ever made to the arts in the UC system and the single largest individual gift to music higher education in the western United States.

Aligning the university’s Departments of Ethnomusicology, Music and Musicology, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will be devoted to the performance and study of music in all of its global diversity, including world music, popular music, jazz and classical music. UCLA students will have the opportunity to augment their academic studies in music with such courses as the music business, music in the public sector, and music and health. This balanced approach to performance, scholarship and practical knowledge, as well as to the broad sweep of music in today’s world represents a significant departure from the emphasis in many U.S. schools of music on the theory, history and performance of European classical music.

“The importance of the arts at a major research university cannot be overstated,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “At UCLA we are deeply committed to excellence and contemporary thought throughout a full range of arts study and practice. With its mission to explore new horizons in music, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will stand tall alongside today’s most progressive models in science, humanities and the arts, and will be a proud complement to the leading-edge work underway across UCLA.”

Herb Alpert first gained fame as the celebrated trumpet player and leader of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, bringing Latin sounds into the pop music limelight in the 1960s. The co-founder of A&M Records, he has five #1 hits, eight GRAMMY® Awards, 15 Gold and 14 Platinum albums to his name. Alpert was pioneering crossover music long before there was a term for it.

“Music is a powerful force, and sharing music between people and cultures has the power to change the world,” Alpert said. “The world today is smaller but also more complicated than ever before, and students engaged in the study and performance of music can be ambassadors for a new educational paradigm.”

Alpert’s history and reputation for blending and “crossing over” is a perfect fit for UCLA’s new School of Music. “Since UCLA’s founding, music has always been a part of our story,” said Christopher Waterman, dean of UCLA Arts. “For nearly half a century, our university has supported the instruction, scholarship and performance of music that serves diverse communities, reaches across cultural boundaries and is global in perspective. The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will contribute to what we hope will be a transformation of music studies in American higher education through an open and inclusive approach to all music. The Herb Alpert Foundation’s gift ensures the opportunity for future generations of musicians, teachers, scholars and activists to study, engage with, and create musical culture in all of its fascinating and continually evolving forms.”

“The new school’s mission also mandates a holistic approach to training students – no matter their major – as creators, performers, artists, activists, scholars, and professionals,” said Professor Timothy Rice, the inaugural director of the school. “The school’s curriculum combines musical diversity, interdisciplinary studies, liberal arts values, and professional training in a way that takes advantage of its position within a great research university. Students will develop the practical and critical skills that prepare them for careers not only in professional performance and academia, but also in music journalism, the entertainment business, and the public and nonprofit sectors.”

Rona Sebastian, president of the Herb Alpert Foundation, said that Mr. Alpert’s philanthropic involvement with UCLA spans nearly four decades and includes, among other things, establishment of the Herb Alpert Jazz Studies Scholarships and support of the UCLA Arts Music Partnership Program, which brings music education to K-12 students in Los Angeles area schools. “The Foundation was interested in UCLA as the recipient of this gift for many reasons including the quality of the faculty, the new vision for music being developed there and the opportunities that the position of music studies within a major research university would bring,” said Sebastian. “Herb and Lani are longtime supporters of the arts, and longtime friends of UCLA. With its diverse and dynamic student body, outstanding faculty, and its location in one of the world’s most exciting cities, UCLA is well-suited to receive and leverage this major gift in support of cross-cultural collaboration, the sharing of traditions, musical experimentation and the education of the whole student.”

The outstanding faculty includes many award-winning musicians, composers, and scholars:

  • KENNY BURRELL, EMINENT GUITARIST AND NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS JAZZ MASTER
  • VLADIMIR CHERNOV, RENOWNED BARITONE
  • PAUL CHIHARA, DISTINGUISHED FILM AND CONCERT MUSIC COMPOSER
  • JULIANA GONDEK, AWARD-WINNING SOPRANO
  • SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN, SITAR MASTER
  • JENS LINDEMANN, VIRTUOSO TRUMPET SOLOIST
  • SUSAN MCCLARY, GROUND-BREAKING MUSICOLOGIST AND MACARTHUR FOUNDATION FELLOW
  • WALTER PONCE, INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED PIANO SOLOIST
  • A.J. RACY, MUSICIAN, COMPOSER AND PREEMINENT SCHOLAR OF MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE EAST.
  • ANTHONY SEEGER, ETHNOMUSICOLOGIST AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION’S FOLKWAYS RECORDS
  • ROBERT WINTER, GUGGENHEIM FELLOW, MUSICOLOGIST AND DIGITAL MEDIA PIONEER

Similarly, a list of former students includes leaders in their field such as:

  • CRISTIAN AMIGO, COMPOSER AND GUITARIST, GUGGENHEIM FELLOW, 2006-07
  • CAROL BURNETT, ACTRESS AND COMEDIENNE
  • NANCY HAO-MING CHAO-CHIN, PRODUCER FOR BROADCASTING CORPORATION OF CHINA
  • DON DAVIS, FILM COMPOSER (“THE MATRIX” FRANCHISE)
  • AKIN EUBA, MELLON PROFESSOR OF MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, ESTABLISHED CENTER FOR INTERCULTURAL MUSIC, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
  • GILA FLAM, HEAD OF THE MUSIC AND SOUND ARCHIVES, JEWISH NATIONAL AND UNIVERSITY LIBRARY, THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM
  • RICHARD S. GINELL, MUSIC CRITIC FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, FORMER CHIEF MUSIC CRITIC OF THE LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS, AND CONTRIBUTOR TO DAILY VARIETY AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
  • MARTHA GONZALES, LEAD SINGER FOR THE CHICANA BAND QUETZAL
  • ARA GUZELIMIAN, DEAN AND PROVOST, THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL
  • JAKE HEGGIE, CLASSICAL COMPOSER (“DEAD MAN WALKING”)
  • JAMES HORNER, FILM COMPOSER (“TITANIC”)
  • LAURA KUHN, DIRECTOR, JOHN CAGE TRUST
  • CRISTINA MAGALDI, MUSICOLOGIST AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
  • RANDY NEWMAN, COMPOSER AND PERFORMER
  • DAN SHEEHY, DIRECTOR, FOLKWAYS RECORDINGS, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
  • LEONARD STEIN, PIANIST
  • BONNIE WADE, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC, UC BERKELEY
  • I NYOMAN WENTEN, CHAIR, WORLD MUSIC PROGRAM, CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS
  • NORA YEH, ARCHIVIST, AMERICAN FOLKLIFE CENTER, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
  • LAMONTE YOUNG, COMPOSER

Recent student standouts include:

  • ANGEL BLUE, BRIAN CALI, DOMINGO-THORNTON YOUNG ARTIST PROGRAM, LA OPERA, 2007
  • JAMIE CHAMBERLIN, SOLOIST WITH LA PHILHARMONIC, SANTA BARBARA FOUNDATION PRIZE IN OPERA, 2007
  • EVAN HUGHES, SCHEDULED CARNEGIE HALL DEBUT, JANUARY, 2008
  • CARISSA KIM, NATIONAL CHOPIN COMPETITION FINALIST, 2006
  • KELLEY O’CONNOR, MM, SOLOIST WITH NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, LEADING SOLOIST IN SANTA FE OPERA FESTIVAL, 2004
  • RODELL ROSEL, NATIONAL GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA AUDITIONS, SCHEDULED METROPOLITAN OPERA DEBUT, 2009
  • RYAN ROWEN, PAULINE VENABLE TURRILL 19THC MUSIC AWARD, 2007
  • UCLA TRUMPET ENSEMBLE, NATIONAL TRUMPET COMPETITION, 1ST PLACE ENSEMBLE, TWO SOLO 1ST PLACE WINNERS, 2005
  • KAREN VUONG, FINALIST, OPERALIA INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION (PLACIDO DOMINGO, FOUNDER), 2006
  • KALIL WILSON, FIRST PLACE, METROPOLITAN OPERA REGIONAL AUDITIONS, OCTOBER

“Herb Alpert has excelled as a performer, a producer, an entrepreneur, an artist, and a philanthropist,” said Dean Waterman. “In this sense he is a perfect model for what we hope our students will achieve in their careers. It is particularly meaningful that this major gift to name the School of Music comes from such a Renaissance man.”