World Music Center Director, Münir BekenAssociate Professor, Ethnomusicology
Contact: Jael Cosico at or (310) 206-1382

In 2015, the World Music Center at UCLA was founded to harness the remarkable assets of three entities established in the 1950s-60s:

  • Our World Musical Instrument Collection, with more than 800 instruments, is one of the largest such university-based collections anywhere in the world.
  • The Ethnomusicology Archive*, founded by renowned ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood, was one of the first of its kind, and today is the joint second-largest in the United States, behind only the Library of Congress.
  • And Ethnomusicology Publications distributes and publishes reports, CDs, songbooks, DVDs and monograph series on a range of specialized topics – from Ghost Dance songs to jazz to traditional music of Thailand.

With this new chapter, the Center’s mission is already being realized through topical lectures, performances, exhibitions and film screenings presented with campus partners and with Los Angeles cultural and municipal organizations. A recent project examined colonial and postcolonial African drumming laws and featured lectures and exhibitions of instruments at the Los Angeles Law Library and the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Students and faculty appeared in a sold-out concert at The Getty Center to inaugurate the exhibition Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road. The Center’s reach extends across the globe. A large-scale 2015 project to restore UCLA's historically significant Thai instrument collection and repatriate rare 1960s recordings of Thai classical music led to our faculty and archivists cooperating with Thai colleagues on a major recent symposium in Bangkok, and on a panel presented at the Fourth Symposium of the International Council for Traditional Music Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia, held in Penang, Malaysia.

*Beginning Friday, March 30, 2018, the Ethnomusicology Archive will be closed for a much-anticipated expansion and renovation. During this period, most Archive services may be unavailable. The Archive will re-open in Fall 2018.