UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

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UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Established2007 as a unit of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.
2016 as a standalone school.
Parent institution
University of California, Los Angeles
Endowment$30 million
DeanJudith Smith
Academic staff
118 [1]
Students484 [1]
Location, ,
United States

34°04′00″N 118°26′37″W / 34.066792°N 118.443491°W / 34.066792; -118.443491Coordinates: 34°04′00″N 118°26′37″W / 34.066792°N 118.443491°W / 34.066792; -118.443491

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, located on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, is “the first school of music to be established in the University of California system.”[2] First established in 2007 under the purview of the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture and the UCLA Division of Humanities, the UC Board of Regents formally voted in January 2016 to establish the school.[1] Supported in part by a $30 million endowment from the Herb Alpert Foundation.[1]

The interim/founding dean Judith Smith was appointed the school's first dean, effective March 1, 2017.[3] The school is subdivided into the Department of Ethnomusicology, the Department of Music, and the Department of Musicology.


With the creation in 1919 of an art gallery and music department, the UCLA leadership committed to offer the study of the arts in a liberal arts research university context. The College of Applied Arts was established in 1939 with the inclusion of an art department. In 1960, the college was renamed the College of Fine Arts, which carried departments of art, dance, music, and theater arts.

In 1988, several big changes occurred in departments throughout the school: Ethnomusicology and Musicology separated from Music, while Design and Art History separated from Art. Art History and Musicology entered the umbrella of the Humanities division of the college while Design and Ethnomusicology remained in Fine Arts.

UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music logo

Then in 1991, the College of Fine Arts was disestablished, giving rise to two separate schools: the School of the Arts and the School of Theater, Film and Television. With the conjoining of architecture to the School of Fine Arts in UCLA's Professional School Restructuring Initiative in 1994, the school was then renamed the School of the Arts and Architecture.

In 2014, a proposal was made for the creation of a School of Music for the college. The new school, called the Herb Alpert School of Music, created in 2016, would join the trio of “independence but complementary arts-centered” schools: the current School of Theater, Film, Television, a redefined School of the Arts and Architecture, and the new School of Music.

In 2017, UCLA announced the Herb Alpert School of Music would establish the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music to support research and performance of American Jewish music.[4]

The name Herb Alpert School of Music was approved by the Board of Regents after the acceptance of a generous gift of $30 million from the Herb Alpert Foundation in 2007.


The entire school is housed in either the Schoenberg Music Building, established in 1955 and 1965, and the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center, a pair of buildings completed in 2014.[5]

Schoenberg Music Building

The Ostin Music Center at UCLA.

Named in honor of former UCLA faculty member and composer Arnold Schoenberg, this facility houses the Dean's office, administrative offices for the three departments, most faculty offices, as well as two large theaters. Schoenberg Hall, which seats about 520, is the main auditorium of the Schoenberg building. The Jan Popper theater is a 140 seat house intended mainly for small performance groups and lectures, although it has been used for many other types of events.”

Aside from the performance venues, Schoenberg Hall also contains the Henry Mancini Media Lab as well as the World Music Center. The World Music Center acts like a composing studio, a recording studio, and a classroom. The World Music Center includes the Ethnomusicology Archives, the World Musical Instrument Collection, and is home to publications by the Ethnomusicology department. Additionally, the building contains a keyboard lab, a computer lab, six classrooms, 36 practice rooms, an orchestra room, a band room, a choral room, the headquarters office of the UCLA Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance as well as the Music Library.[5]

Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center

The Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center, completed in 2014, “includes a high-tech recording studio, spaces for rehearsal and teaching, a café and social space for students, and an Internet-based music production center.”[10] Paid for in part by a $10 million donation by Music Industry Executive and Philanthropist Morris “Mo” Ostin and his late wife, Evelyn Ostin, to his alma mater, the center was designed by LA-based architects Daly Genik Architects under the direction of principal Kevin Daly. The center was honored in 2016 at the 46th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards by Los Angeles Business Council.[5]


The Herb Alpert School of Music has 45 active ensembles that perform classical, contemporary, jazz, popular and world music. Under the direction of performance faculty, students also premiere new works, including those by established composers, students, faculty and alumni.

Chamber Ensembles[edit]

Chamber ensembles at UCLA include Brass Ensemble, Camarades, Early Music Ensemble, FLUX Contemporary Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Woodwind Chamber Ensemble.

World Music Ensembles[edit]

World Music Ensembles include Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Irish Music Ensemble, Klezmer Music Ensemble, Mariachi de Uclatàn, Music of Bali, Music of China, Music of India, and many others.


Sister Institutes[edit]

Institute Of Ethnomusicology

Founded in 1960, the Institute of Ethnomusicology was established under the supervision of Dr. Mantle Hood by UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block. Mantle Hood brought to the program a belief that “ethnomusicology includes the musical practice, and "instrument" is interpreted in its literal meaning. Performance, under experienced leadership, is an integral part of the program at U.C.L.A.”[13] The ethnomusicology student is taught practical training in the performance of various types of non-Western music.[7] Since its founding the institute has hosted a large number of internationally-known master musicians and instructors from different world traditions; purchased an impressive collection of world musical instruments; the collection of traditional sound recordings for what is now one of the largest sound archives in the U.S.; supported scientific work in systematic musicology, particularly the development and use of the melograph, an automatic music writer, for musical transcription; and 5) supported the research work of ethnomusicology faculty by creating a publications program for the dissemination of their work.”

UCLA's 2018-2020 Thelonious Monk Institute Fellows

Established as a college outreach program by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Washington D.C., the UCLA Thelonious Monk Institute of Institute of Jazz Performance is a two-year tuition free study program.

The Institute only accepts one ensemble per class annually with students participating in many international and domestic outreach events such as “40th anniversary of the coronation of the King of Thailand.” This program seeks to emulate the example of Thelonious Monk, who taught his own students in his Manhattan apartment throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s.[8]

Notable Alumni[edit]

  • Cristian Amigo – composer, guitarist, ethnomusicologist and former Guggenheim fellow
  • Brian Asawa – countertenor
  • Angel Blue – operatic soprano, classical crossover artists
  • Carol Burnett – actor, comedian, singer
  • India Carney – singer, songwriter, arranger
  • Don Davis – film composer (The Matrix franchise)
  • Akin Euba – Mellon professor, emeritus in Music at the University of Pittsburgh and founder of the Center for Intercultural Music at Cambridge University
  • Gila Flam – director Music Library at the National Library of Israel
  • Martha Gonzales – lead singer for the Grammy-winning Chicana band Quetzal
  • Ara Guzelimian – dean and provost of the Juilliard School
  • Jake Heggie – classical composer (Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick)
  • James Horner – film composer (Avatar, Titanic, A Beautiful Mind
  • Laura Kuhn – executive director of the John Cage Trust
  • Cristina Magaldi – musicologist and award-winning author
  • Dan Marschak - jazz pianist, composer and professor at Las Positas College
  • Randy Newman – composer and performer
  • Dan Sheehy – director of Folkways Recordings at the Smithsonian Institution
  • Leonard Stein – pianist
  • Bonnie Wade – former chair of the department of music at UC Berkeley
  • Kamasi Washington – jazz saxophonist and composer
  • I Nyoman Wenten – chair of the world music program at the California Institute of the Arts
  • John Williams – Academy Award-winning composer (Star Wars, Jaws, E.T.)
  • Kalil Wilson - jazz vocalist, pianist, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist
  • Nora Yeh – archivist with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
  • LaMonte Young – avant-garde composer and musician

Notable Faculty[edit]

  • Justo Almario - director of Mongo Santamaria band
  • Boris Allakhverdyan - Principal clarinet, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Denis Bouriakov - Principal flute, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Bruce Broughton - ten-time Emmy Award winner and composer
  • Kenny Burrell - award-winning Jazz guitarist and composer
  • Gloria Cheng - Emmy and GRAMMY® award-winning contemporary pianist
  • Vladimir Chernov - award-winning opera singer
  • Richard Danielpour - internationally famous composer
  • Michael Dean - American vocalist
  • Inna Faliks - Ukrainian-born piano soloist
  • Aubrey Foard - American tubist
  • Gary Gray - clarinetist
  • Herbie Hancock - fourteen-time Grammy Award winner and chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance
  • Tamir Hendelman - Israeli-American jazz pianist
  • Jeffrey Jampol - GRAMMY® award-winning music industry executive
  • Mark Kligman - Mickey Katz Chair Professor of Jewish Music
  • Jens Lindemann - Canadian trumpet player
  • David Leaf - American writer, producer, director
  • Steve Loza - professor of Ethnomusicology
  • Barbara Morrison - American jazz singer
  • Wayne Shorter - American jazz saxophonist and composer
  • Wolf Marshall - American jazz guitarist, author and composer


  1. ^ a b "Overview". UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. ^ Hampton, Phil. "UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music formally approved by UC Board of Regents". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  3. ^ Newsroom, UCLA. "Judith Smith is appointed the first dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  4. ^ "UCLA receives 1.5 million from Lowell Milken Family Foundation to advance American Jewish Music". April 6, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Facilities – UCLA Alpert". info.schoolofmusic.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  6. ^ "Ensembles - The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music". The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  7. ^ "News - The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music". The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  8. ^ "College - Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz". monkinstitute.org. Retrieved 2018-11-21.