Colburn School

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For the Massachusetts historic school, see Colburn School (Lowell, Massachusetts).
July 2007, along Grand Avenue

The Colburn School is a music, dance, and drama school located in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art and across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It consists of four divisions: the Conservatory of Music, the Music Academy, Community School of Performing Arts, and Dance Academy.


The school was originally established in 1950 as a preparatory arm of the USC Thornton School of Music, and was located across the street from the Shrine Auditorium, in a warehouse that had been converted into extra USC practice rooms, rehearsal halls, and dance studios. It later broadened its mission and changed its name to the Community School of Performing Arts. In 1980, it finalized its split with USC and branched out on its own. In 1985, the school received a significant endowment from Richard D. Colburn, and it was renamed in his honor.[1] It moved from its original location near the USC campus to its current location in 1998.[2]


The Conservatory of Music was established in 2003 and offers a Bachelor of Music degree, a Master of Music degree, a Performance Diploma, an Artist's Diploma, and a Professional Studies Certificate to students. The Conservatory offers full scholarship, housing, and stipends to all of its students.

The Young Artists Academy was established in 2010, and offers a comprehensive curriculum of courses, which include music theory, ear training, voice and a vigorous chamber music program for gifted young musicians. The Dean of the Academy is Ory Shihor.

The School of Performing Arts has open enrollment and serves children in the community through age 18.

In 2014, Colburn launched a Dance Academy for pre-professional ballet dancers ages 14-19 under the direction of former New York City Ballet principal dancers Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, with artistic advisor Benjamin Millepied. [3]


In an unidentified year, 227 applicants applied to the school and 25 were accepted for an 11% acceptance rate.[4]

Facilities and architecture[edit]

The school's main building was designed by the architectural firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and includes the Lloyd Wright designed studio of Jascha Heifetz, which was originally situated in Heifetz's backyard, and was saved from demolition and rebuilt on the second floor of the school's Grand Avenue building.

Also located in the building is Zipper Hall, a concert venue that hosts professional as well as student performances throughout the year. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have both performed chamber music concerts in the facility.

The Conservatory expansion was designed by Pfeiffer Partners Architects (after Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates became three separate firms in 2004).

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Luther, Claudia (2004-06-04). "Richard D. Colburn, 92; Major Benefactor of the Musical Arts in L.A.". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-03-05. 
  2. ^ Mermelstein, David (2008-01-06). "A Conservatory Stresses the Music, Eliminates the Bills". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-29. 
  3. ^ David Ng, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2014
  4. ^ "The Colburn School Conservatory of Music". Retrieved 2013-04-14. 

Coordinates: 34°3′15″N 118°14′59″W / 34.05417°N 118.24972°W / 34.05417; -118.24972