A Warm Welcome Back to The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

5 min read

Photos by Juan Tallo

At an event in Schoenberg Hall on Sept. 21, associate dean Robert Fink welcomed students back to The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music for the 2022-23 academic year – the first year most of the community had been together in person since the pandemic began.

Students ranging from first-years brand new to the School of Music and UCLA as a whole to older undergrads whose time till now had been almost completely remote to more seasoned doctoral candidates filled the auditorium with enthusiasm, focus, and positivity for the year to come. Faculty representing each of the school’s five departments joined the student body to represent the entire musical community.

Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Arturo O’Farrill delivered remarks addressing the school’s strong commitment to growing a supportive environment for students from all backgrounds and experiences to achieve their creative and research goals, providing a firm foundation for success not only during their time at the School of Music but well beyond graduation.

Director of Student Affairs Adam Fox encouraged students to share their ideas to help his office expand its resources and activities, and effectively address the needs and goals of everyone enrolled at the school. He introduced two new student affairs officers, Khalia Byrd and Lucie Leerer, while pointing students to the new, larger location that the office occupies in 1642 Schoenberg.

Demonstrating the importance of student voices and contributions to school leadership were Austin Ali and Shahwar Kibria Maqhfi, president and vice president of the School of Music’s Graduate Student Council respectively, followed by Yeremiya Wright and Lorenna Garcia, co-presidents of the school’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board.

After the initial set of welcome remarks, attendees filed out of Schoenberg Hall to attend department breakout sessions throughout the rest of the building.

Global Jazz students perused copies of Downbeat Magazine before their breakout session inside the recently renovated Choral Room.

Steve Loza, chair of the Global Studies Interdisciplinary Program, welcomed students already enrolled within the program as well as those curious to know whether it might be a good fit for them. The department’s faculty and staff joined the breakout session to introduce themselves and encourage students to reach out to them for support.

Students of the Global Jazz Interdisciplinary Program at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music during the 2022-23 welcome event

Robert Fink, professor of musicology and chair of the school’s music industry programs, welcomed students during the Department of Musicology’s breakout session inside the school’s recently renovated Orchestra Room. Both before and after the department’s faculty and staff introduced themselves, students took advantage of the time to get to know their peers and make new connections.

Pizza was served for all students, faculty, and staff during a casual lunch in the school’s main courtyard, providing additional opportunities for reconnection with old friends and as well as getting to know new ones.

Inaugural Dean of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Eileen Strempel spoke with members of the community during a pizza lunch at the 2022-23 all-school welcome event.

After lunch, students took advantage of an open house to learn about the school, from its vast world music instrument collection, its ensembles, the music library, rehearsal rooms, and more.

Everyone was treated to a mid-afternoon cookie social with Dean Strempel within the school’s Sanctuary Space, where some took the opportunity to share their musical talents and passions freely.

Professor and Chair of Global Jazz Studies Steve Loza poses with students during the cookie social as part of the 2022-23 welcome event.
Dean Strempel speaks with students during the afternoon cookie social.

With a student population of more than 630, the School of Music continues to grow not only in size but also in opportunity, resources, diversity, ingenuity, and equity. The 2022-23 welcome event was an opportunity to celebrate this richness and the boundless prospects for a new academic year.