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Incontri in Terra di Siena–2016 music festival announces events

May 11th, 2016 · No Comments

Professor Lysy’s well known summer festival near Siena, Italy, will be featuring the following program of events. You may want to participate in the program or just come to the concerts! For more information, check the event’s website at:



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Chancellor’s Residence Recitals, April and May, 2016

April 28th, 2016 · No Comments

Mrs. Carol Block has forwarded to us more snaps from the most recent recitals at the Residence.

The first one, from April 27th, features cellist Charles Tyler and RJ Pearce on the piano. They performed Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for cello and piano. Here is a photo of both musicians with Mrs. Block.


From May 3, 2016 —

Ryan Nealon, from Ethnomusicology, along with fellow Ethnomusicology majors Grant Milliken, Cody Dear, Nashir Janmohamed, Sara Sith-Amnuai, and Nick Velez. Mrs. Block is in the front, slightly to the left.

They gave a great jazz program:

Old Devil Moon–Burton Lane
The Meaning of the Blues–Worth-Troup
Georgia On My Mind–Hoagy Carmichael
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was–Lorenz Hart (Intro composed by Ryan Nealon)
Pure Imagination–Bricusse-Newley
A Song for You–Leon Russel

From May 4, 2016 —

Catherine Arai, Julien Altmann, Mindy Cheng, Ema Jordan,and Matthew Tong performed Schubert’s piano “Trout” quintet.


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UCLA Profs Take Part in LA Opera Teacher Training Seminar

April 20th, 2016 · No Comments

Professor Peter Kazaras, Director of Opera UCLA, reports that he, Professor Mitchell Morris from the Musicology Department, and Professor Michael Hackett from the School of Theater, Film & Television, participated recently in a teacher training seminar with LA Opera.

He says:

“I was invited to participate on Saturday in the LA Opera Teachers in Training seminar on La Boh?me in order to provide the stage director?s point of view. When I arrived, I realized that one of the other speakers was Mitchell Morris, and the other was Michael Hackett. In addition, one of the sopranos for the recital portion of the program was Jamie Chamberlin, a UCLA alumna. All in all, a really nice showing for UCLA and a great example of how what we do impacts the entire community.”

Professor Michael Hackett addresses teachers group

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Update on Voice/Opera Alumni Successes

April 19th, 2016 · No Comments

We have heard from several of our voice/opera alumni recently with good news regarding their ongoing career successes and awards.

First, from Tracy Cox (L.A. Opera’s 2010 Young Artist of the Year)?in addition to appearing locally in some of Pacific Opera Project?s productions, and winning a number of prestigious awards and prizes, travelling and singing a lot, Tracy will now have her first roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017.

She says she will be covering the Foreign Princess in the new production of Rusalka, and Marianne Letzmarin in Der Rosenkavalier (in which Renee Fleming will be singing her last Marschallin) both in 2017.

Congratulations Tracy!

Here?s a phot of Tracy in our production of Gianni Schicchi in 2008.

Second, graduate Peabody Southwell is singing in a world premiere as part of the L.A. Phil’s Green Umbrella series. The piece is “Begin” by Juhi Bansal, which was commissioned by the LA Philharmonic today,Tuesday, April 19.

Peabody in one of our opera galas.

Third, graduate Brian Vu has just won top prize in the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition. UCLA grads have won this prestigious prize for excellence in singing and acting three out of the last four years. Congratulations, Brian!

Here is Brian, in the middle, with other top finalists in the competition
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Next on our list is UCLA Extension alumnus Jesus Leon, who studied voice with us and performed in a number of productions. He just starred at Arena di Verona in ?La Sonnambula?, and in ?Les P?cheurs de perles? in Florence before that. Next, he sings the title role in Gounod?s ?Romeo et Juliette? in Atlanta.

Jesus Leon, featured here with Khori Dastoor in Ian Krouse’s opera “Lorca, Child of the Moon.”

Last but Not least, UCLA alumnus Rodell Rosell, who just sang ?Mime? in Wagner’s “Siegfried” in Houston


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Second Annual Thomas Lee Student Composition Competition

April 13th, 2016 · No Comments

From Professor Travis Cross:

“Dear music students and faculty,

For the second year now, the UCLA Wind Ensemble has hosted the Thomas Lee Student Composition Competition, which invites current UCLA students to submit original works for band and wind ensemble, with a winner chosen for performance by the UCLA Wind Ensemble.

This year’s entries were judged by Dr. Patricia Cornett, associate director of bands at California State University, Fullerton, and Dr. Travis J. Cross. The quality of works submitted remains high, showing both great musical creativity and technical understanding about how to write for winds and percussion.

The winning entry is Glide Path by Sam Young. The judges selected Green Mountain by Pin Hsin Lin and Nne Na Tatu by Daniel French for honorable mention.

The UCLA Wind Ensemble will premiere Glide Path in Schoenberg Hall on May 25, 2016.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the competition, and thanks for devoting some of your creative energies to writing for the vibrant wind ensemble medium!”

Professor Cross also mentioned that an announcement would be coming about for the third-annual competition, with scores due in fall 2017.

Professor Emeritus D. Thomas Lee

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Chancellor’s Recital photos, March 17 through April 7

April 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Mrs. Block has shared the following photos from three recent successful recitals at the Chancellor’s residence.

On March 17th, the recital featured clarinetist Shaniee Parker and pianist Ge Gao in a program of English composers

Shaniee Parker and Ge Gao with Mrs. Block

On April 5, 2016, the Residence recital featured pianist Tim Rantung in a program which included Liszt, Chopin, Stravinsky and Gershwin.

Tim Rantung with Mrs. Block

On April 6, 2016 pianist Anli Tong performed a program of Rachmaninov and Ma Shui-Long

Anli Tong with Mrs. Block

On April 7, the Chancellor’s Residence was host to the UCLA Guitar Ensemble – Aaron Dozal, Hanna Yocute, Naim Dehghani, Juan Rivera, Joan Greenwald (alumni) directed by Peter Yates


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Vocal Vision Awards 2016

April 4th, 2016 · No Comments

From Director of Opera UCLA Peter Kazaras:

“The results are in for the inaugural Vocal Vision Awards at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, held on Sunday afternoon April 3, 2016. A distinguished panel of three judges including Robin Guarino (Professor of Opera and J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera at University of Cincinnati ? College-Conservatory of Music), Yuval Sharon (Stage Director, founder of The Industry and Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Stacy Brightman (Director of Education and Community Programs at Los Angeles Opera) awarded the following prizes:

First Prize: Nathan Granner, MM2
Second Prize: Annie Sherman, MM2
Third Prize: David Childs, Senior

Sixteen students competed, and all were accompanied beautifully by Victoria Kirsch, who put in a monumental amount of work.

The Vocal Vision Awards were made possible by a generous gift from Suzanne Weiss Morgen, who created the Awards in memory of her mother and grandmother. Suzanne herself won the Sinatra prize in her junior year at UCLA, and has decided to give back in this meaningful way to our current students.

Congratulations to all who competed ? the performances were outstanding and the audience was thrilled.”


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UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Hosts EDM DJ Competition

March 31st, 2016 · No Comments

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music recently partnered with legendary DJ Paul Oakenfold to hold a DJ competition. UCLA students competed to win the extraordinary opportunity to spin at the official after party for the inaugural Electronic Music Awards & Foundation show ? co-produced by Paul Oakenfold and FOX on April 14th.

On Saturday, March 26, the top four student DJ finalists competed for the after-party spot at Avalon Hollywood in front of judges Paul Oakenfold, Dave Dean and Mark Lewis . Finalists included Shan Sunil Tambat, fifth-year mechanical engineering major; Nolan Isozaki (a.k.a. Chilled Moose), fourth-year English major; Gillis Wang, first-year actuarial math major; and Joshua Kiley (a.k.a. AVTR), third-year psychology major.

After thoughtful deliberation, the judges selected Nolan Isozaki, a.k.a. Chilled Moose, as the winner!

All the photos from the event can be seen here.

The Development Office at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music would like to recognize Musicology Ph.D student and DJ, Tiffany Naiman (a.k.a. Bit Baker) and Professor Bob Fink for their wonderful partnership on the event!

Nolan Isozaki, DJ Finalist

EDM finalists with Paul Oakenfold

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VEM Quartet in Armenia!

March 29th, 2016 · 2 Comments

The VEM Quartet along with mezzo soprano, Danielle Bayne, and Professor Movses Pogossian has returned from Yerevan with full stomachs and the music of Armenia in our hearts.

We had a wonderful week, packed with music, food, instant friendships, and curious exploration of a rich and beautiful culture.

After a long journey of air travel and a rest, we dove right into the music making (and of course after a delicious homemade breakfast of sweet apricot jam, savory cheeses and veggies, and plenty of lavash to go around?I cannot help but mention the food!)

The ladies at the sweet hotel we stayed at were happy for us to rehearse, and so we did. Music by Armenian composers such as Komitas, Mansurian, Tchichyan, and Hovhaness echoed through the courtyard of the Golden Eagle B&B for hours a day as we prepared for concerts Friday and Saturday.

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We stayed close by and used the facilities at the American University of Armenia, where we were welcomed by Artur Avanesov, a wonderful composer, pianist, and music professor at the school. Artur?s piano quintet was to have its world premiere at the Komitas Chamber Music Hall on Saturday’s program, which was the culminating event of our stay. The VEM Quartet, with Movses Pogossian taking the role of first violin, collaborated with Artur in many intensive rehearsals to prepare for the premiere.

A great highlight of the trip was our coaching with Tigran Mansurian, a highly respected and beloved Armenian composer. We had been working on his String Quartet No. 3 all quarter. This was our chance to get a real sense of his intention for the piece and to have our questions answered from the man himself! He was ceaselessly kind to us as we went through the piece, making adjustments here and there. The coaching was translated by Professor Pogossian, but it felt as though he was able to reach us without words at all. His eyes twinkled when we played something to his liking and he had hopeful expectations for the areas which we could improve.

We are so grateful for our time with him for his knowledge and contagious devotion and passion for music.


Our days were rich with experiences as we also took the time to get out and see the city. Yerevan in March is in transition. Having just roughed the winter, people seem excited by hints of spring popping up in the form of tulips, outdoor markets, and fountains (which they started to fill back up for the warmer part of the year on the day we left.) On our day off, Easter Sunday, we set for sights outside the city with Prof. Peter Cowe, professor of Armenian Studies at UCLA. We took this tour with other UCLA colleagues there for the workshop called ?The Interface between Music and Nationalism.? We all learned a lot from talking to each other but were quieted by 1st century sights such as the Geghard Monastery, with echoing chambers beautifully carved into stone, and a pagan temple in Garni, which boasted a magnificent view of the countryside with its deep valleys and jagged mountains.

Our two performances were the focus of trip and the real reason we had come. Performing at the Komitas Museum and at the Komitas Chamber Music Hall was a chance to share what we had learned of Armenian music with the locals. We hoped that our respect and interest for their culture would be heard in our interpretations. We were very warmly received. We got the sense that the audience really appreciated our careful study of the music beloved to their country. Earlier that day, before the concert, we had visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial which sits atop a hill overlooking Yerevan. There resides the eternal flame which burns in remembrance for this devastating time in Armenian history. Playing on a speaker as you entered the memorial was a piece that VEM quartet would play at the concert that night, a short Komitas piece called ?Spring.? It was one of the many moments in which we realized the importance of this music, not only for the pleasure of hearing it?s beauty, but for the way it unifies the Armenian people and speaks volumes to the rest of the world.

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Some highlights of the final concert included the premiere of Artur Avanesov?s piano quintet, which went wonderfully and was very well appreciated. Professor Pogossian played a violin and piano work by Vache Sharafyan with his always stunning tone and interpretation. Danielle Bayne was adored for her beautiful renditions of Komitas and Mansurian songs. We ended the concert with VEM Quartet and Danielle Bayne together with three Armenian folk songs that had the crowd very pleased and everyone clapping in unison rhythm. We celebrated afterward at a locally favorited restaurant where the delicious food kept coming, the traditional music was excellent, and the love was spread with many toasts that revealed just how pleased and moved everyone had been with the concert as a collaboration between friends.

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It was an experience we will never forget. We will always be grateful to everyone who made it happen, especially to Professor Pogossian who dealt with everything to coaching us tirelessly and lovingly before we left, to getting us in cabs all over the city and feeding us constantly while we were there. We hope that this is just the first step in our continued exploration of Armenian music and the start of many cross-cultural friendships and collaborations to come.

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UCLA Wind Ensemble performs at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA)

March 29th, 2016 · No Comments

Here’s an update from Wind Ensemble Director Prof. Travis Cross–

“The UCLA Wind Ensemble gave an invited performance at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Western/Northwestern Division Conference at the University of Nevada, Reno, on Saturday, March 19, 2016. CBDNA is the primary professional organization for college band directors, and appearances at division and national conferences are among the most significant peer-reviewed performance opportunities for bands and wind ensembles. After the performance, the UCLA Wind Ensemble also served as the demonstration group for a conducting masterclass led by UCLA director of bands emeritus Thomas Lee.

En route to Reno, the UCLA Wind Ensemble performed at the Paul Shaghoian Memorial Concert Hall at Clovis North Educational Center and the McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center at Saratoga High School. The ensemble also visited Clovis High School for a side-by-side rehearsal with their band and individual instrument masterclasses led by UCLA students.”

UCLA senior composition major Thomas Feng explains a musical passage to a band student at Clovis High School on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

UCLA graduate performance major Josiah Morales works with trombone students at Clovis High School on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

The UCLA Wind Ensemble at the McAfee Performing Arts and Lecture Center at Saratoga High School in Saratoga, California, on Thursday, March 17, 2016. Photo credit: Nick Lie.

UCLA director of bands emeritus Thomas Lee coaches UCLA graduate conducting student Ian Richard with the UCLA Wind Ensemble during the CBDNA Western/Northwestern Division confence conducting masterclass on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Photo credit: Nick Lie.

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