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What is Ethnomusicology?

Ethnomusicology involves the study of all kinds of music from all over the world, using a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The Department of Ethnomusicology, the largest and first of its kind in a U.S. university, offers courses that cover the music of virtually every region of the world and of many ethnic groups in the U.S., as well as courses on popular music and film music. Most courses combine an interest in music as an art form with questions about how musical art and practice relate to other aspects of culture, society, politics, and economics. Courses are also given on the philosophy and aesthetics of music. In addition to lecture courses, the department offers performance ensemble courses in several world and American music traditions.

The Department of Ethnomusicology is aligned with the departments of Music and Musicology and aspires to promote productive collaboration between performance and scholarship, a cross-cultural global understanding of the art of music, and preparatory training for a broad range of careers in music after students graduate.

Nine years ago, the Armenian Music Program was started with a single student ensemble-in-residence. @UCLAalpert is thrilled to present the second annual Day of Armenian Music at UCLA on Tuesday, May 31st beginning at 12 PM to explore the depth and breadth of the Armenian Music Program. 🇦🇲  This celebration of Armenian Music includes a concert in Schoenberg Hall featuring the UCLA VEM Ensemble, the UCLA Armenian Music Ensemble and world-renowned guest artists, including folk singer Hasmik Harutyunyan (@hasmikharutyunyanofficial) and jazz pianist Vardan Ovsepian (@vardanovsepianmusic). 🎶  A culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of ambitious work in programming, community outreach and global touring, join us in celebration of all this artistry and history. After the workshops, concertgoers are invited to reunite outside Schoenberg Hall for a communal dance class 💃 and book fair 📚. 
To learn more, click the link in our bio ⬆️
#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #ArmenianMusic
Join us on Friday, April 8 at 11 AM for a screening of “Āvānegār”, a collaborative documentary narrated by Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi, the Director of Indo-Persian Music at UCLA, as he explores the history of transcription of Iranian music 📜, based on decades of research in various archives in Iran, Europe, and the United States. The screening event will include a Panel Discussion featuring @UCLAalpert faculty members Richard Danielpour and  Mohsen Mohammadi (@mohammadigram) moderated by Dr. Shahab Paranj 💙💛  Rare historical documents and sources are presented in the film, and several historical notations of Iranian music are performed.  Exclusively for the film Professor of Composition at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Reza Vali, arranged a five-movement piece that is performed by an ensemble of notable American musicians. Moreover, several prominent Iranian musicians are featured, including Navid Afghah (@navid_afghah), Ali Bahramifard (ali _bahramifard), Kazem Davoudian (@kazem.davoudian), Siroos Jamali, Siamak Jahangiri, Layla Ramezan (@laylaramezan), and Behzad Ravaqi (@behzadravaqi).  This film is dedicated to the memory of Mohammad-Taghi Massoudieh (1927–1999), whose publications are invaluable and incomparable sources for researchers, musicians, composers, and all who are interested in Iranian music. 🎶  To learn more about the screening and the panelists, click the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #Composition #MusicTheory
We are proud to congratulate 🎉 the eight faculty and student music projects at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music that have received grants from the UCLA Library’s Hugo and Christine Davise Fund for Contemporary Music to support both creative and scholarly endeavors. 📚  The program, which is administered by the UCLA Music Library, chose projects for their potential to advance the field of contemporary music which span a range of departments and programs, from performance to composition to ethnomusicology, and include commissions, performances, recordings, residencies and a scholarly symposium.  “Because of Hugo and Christine Davise’s legacy of generosity and the leadership of the UCLA Music Library, we are able to continue to explore and expand the wonderful creative possibilities for contemporary music in all of its diverse genres and applications,” said Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. “This is an exciting alignment with the Herb Alpert School of Music’s mission that centers on the integration of scholarship and practice.” 🎵  We can’t wait to celebrate all the music faculty and student projects to come from this generous grant! 😍 💙💛  To learn more about the projects, the recipients, and the UCLA Library, click the link in our bio ⬆️.
@uclalibrary | #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #Music #UCLA #UCLALibrary #Scholarship #Grant #Research  @janberrybaker
@bentfrequency
@pianitis 
@lmoh000
@gernotwolfgang
@ninaeidsheim
@quatuor_diotima
@noiselibrarian
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We are proud to highlight the accomplishments of Professor of Ethnomusicology Cheryl Keyes who has authored a prize-winning book on the ethnography of Hip Hop and Rap, produced two award-winning albums on her own record label, and is currently chairing UCLA’s Department of African American Studies (@ucla_afam). 📚  In 2021, Keyes made headlines as one of ten members of an executive committee that selected music for the @Smithsonian Museum’s long-awaited "Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap". Keyes was the lone woman academic selected for the committee, sharing space with industry luminaries the likes of 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) and Chuck D (@mrchuckd_pe) of Public Enemy (@publicenemy).  She was selected over some who had written scholarly books on Hip Hop, but the Smithsonian’s choice of Dr. Keyes was a natural one. It was Keyes, after all, who undertook groundbreaking ethnographic field research in the 1980s, at a time when the genre was well out of the mainstream and dismissed as unworthy of serious study.  To learn more about Cheryl Keyes and her amazing work, click the link in our bio. ⬆️  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #HipHop #Rap #Smithsonian
“Mariachi music is such a lively type of music. When you play in person, you really feel the emotions. You really feel all the energy.” - Saveena Patel (@saveenapatel) Ethnomusicology 23’ and member of @UCLAAlpert’s Mariachi de Uclatlán ensemble.  After months of online rehearsals, the student performers of the Mariachi de Uclatlán (@uclatlan) are excited to be returning to in-person learning. In an article by the Daily Bruin (@dailybruin), students described their experience learning in a remote setting and what they are looking forward to in-person. Members of the group are preparing to focus on smaller details of a performance in a physical space and are ready to take their performances to the next level. 🎺🎻  “A pandemic like COVID, it’s not going to stamp (mariachi) out,” Skye Hoffman, violinist in the ensemble and design media arts student said. “Because it’s folk music, it speaks to the soul. And as long as people have souls, there’s going to be mariachi.”  We are thrilled to have the UCLA Mariachi de Uclatlán ensemble back on campus as part of our musical community! 🎵  To read the full article and learn more, click the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Music #Mariachi #Ethnomusicology
Join us as we honor Distinguished Professor of Ethnomusicology A.J. Racy as he retires from @UCLAAlpert following a 40+ year career of teaching, performance and research in a special virtual reception celebrating his many accomplishments on Wednesday, June 30 at 5 p.m. PT. ⠀
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“The things I will miss most after retirement include the peaceful ambiance of the UCLA campus, the guest lectures on various related topics and world music performances at university venues,” said Professor Racy. “I will also miss many colleagues and staff, as well as the undergraduate and graduate students with whom I have worked.⠀
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We will miss Professor Racy and thank him for being an integral part of our UCLA community! 💛 💙 ⠀
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In honor of his expansive career and dedication to student success, the School of Music has established the A.J. Racy Scholarship in Ethnomusicology to support graduate and undergraduate scholars in their studies. ⠀
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To learn more and to attend his upcoming reception, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology
At @UCLAalpert’s 2021 virtual commencement celebration 🎉 students from the departments of music, ethnomusicology and global jazz studies joined forces for a breathtaking performance of “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free” by Nina Simone and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder.  We hope you enjoy this inspiring rendition of both tracks by our School of Music students.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #GlobalJazz #Music #MusicIndustry #Musicology #Graduation2021
Join us Wednesday, June 2 at 12 p.m. PT for the third installment of the Musics from Around the World: Southern California Composers in Concert series, which is part of UCLA World Music Center‘s yearlong celebration of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive‘s 60th anniversary.  @UCLAalpert is proud to highlight Daniel Ho (@daniel_ho_creations), a six-time GRAMMY Award winner, eleven-time GRAMMY Award nominee, six-time Taiwanese Golden Melody Award winner, and recipient of multiple Hawaiian Music awards as he presents a virtual concert of his compositions.  Ho is a ‘ukulele virtuoso, slack key guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, singer-songwriter, producer, audio engineer and record company owner. As an artist and clinician, Ho performs throughout the U.S. and internationally. In pursuit of new musical adventures, he is the designer of the Romero Creations (@romerocreations) Tiny Tenor ‘ukulele, and the Ohana Bongolele and Shakerlele and his custom-designed six-string ‘ukulele is on exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum (@grammymuseum) in Los Angeles.  Learn more and RSVP via the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #GrammyMuseum #UCLALibrary
Explore the music that is inside of you this summer with Professor of Ethnomusicology, Dr. Diane White-Clayton (@dianewhiteclayton), in her course “African American Music,” offered in Summer Session A from June 21-July 30.  Students will study and perform the music of African American sacred traditions, including gospel, spirituals and hymns.  Summer Courses are open to high school students as well as musicians and scholars of any skill level. Study with expert instructors as you expand upon your current skill set or follow your curiosity to explore something new.  To learn more, click the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #BlackMusic
We are pleased to announce that Ethnomusicology faculty member, Supeena Adler (@supeenainseedler) and Music Education faculty member, Lily Chen-Hafteck at @UCLAalpert, will receive research grants from the UCLA Chancellor’s Council on the Arts and the university’s Office of Research and Creative Activities. 🎉 This year, funding was awarded to 12 faculty members to advance relevant arts and humanities research.⠀
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Adler will research a unique folk tradition of Northeast Thailand 🇹🇭 and acquire related instruments and costumes to incorporate into her Music of Thailand Ensemble course. Exploring music education and prejudice, Chen-Hafteck will investigate how Los Angeles elementary school students may benefit from learning the music and cultures of their fellow classmates, allowing for the appreciation of differences while reducing racial biases. 🎵⠀
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Additionally, the Ethnomusicology Archive and UCLA Library (@uclalibrary) have received funding to co-host a large-scale exhibition of Black music in Los Angeles that will feature familiar names and stories of musicians who have been excluded from the narrative of Los Angeles music making. 📚⠀
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“These research grants recognize the arts as essential to our lives,” said Eileen Strempel (@uclamusicdean), inaugural dean and chair of the UCLA Chancellor’s Council on the Arts. “The arts inspire innovation and creativity as they break down barriers to build empathy and understanding.”⠀
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We look forward to seeing how this funding will contribute to advancing the role of the arts as a vital part of the UCLA experience.💙⠀
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To read the full UCLA Newsroom article, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #Giving
Join the UCLA Film & TV archive (@uclaftvarchive) Thursday, May 6, at 4 PM PT for a free virtual screening of the Los Angeles-based TV 📺 music program “Frankly Jazz” from 1962 hosted and co-produced by noted disc jockey Frank Evans🎷, who was known for his laid-back cool and trademark sign-off, “later.” The Archive presents three episodes of this obscure local music TV series, as preserved from recently acquired, original master videotapes featuring legendary artists such as Gerald Wilson, the Jazz Crusaders and Sammy Davis Jr.⠀
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Introducing the performances will be jazz musician, educator, and @UCLAalpert Ethnomusicology alumnus, Ray Briggs Ph.D., ‘02, Jazz Studies Department Chair for the Pasadena Conservatory of Music (@pasadenaconservatoryofmusic), and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at California State University, Long Beach (@csulb_bccm), where he teaches courses in jazz history and ethnomusicology.📚⠀
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To learn more and RSVP for this event, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #Alumni
@UCLAalpert is proud to announce Professor Farzad Amoozegar (@farzad.amoozegar) as the new Director of the Iranian Music Program 🇮🇷. In this role, he is leading the creation of the Iranian Music Minor as well as organizing a series of conferences and workshops on aspects of Iranian music performance, aesthetics and ethics.  His appointment represents the continued partnership between the School of Music and the Farhang Foundation (@farhangfoundation), an organization dedicated to celebrating Iranian art and culture in the community.  Professor Amoozegar holds dual doctorate degrees in ethnomusicology and anthropology, and is an experienced performer of the Iranian musical instruments tār—a double-bowl-shaped, six-stringed instrument—and setār—a pear-shaped, four-stringed instrument.  The Farhang Foundation’s Executive Director, Alireza Ardekani (@rezakhan), connected with Professor Amoozegar for a Q&A to discuss Amoozegar’s passion for Iranian music, his teaching philosophy, his future plans for the Iranian Music Program and more.  “I could not have asked for more with my current position at UCLA,” said Amoozegar. “As the director of Iranian music, I have the chance to bring my academic and artistic background in conversation with my daily tasks and future goals.”  We are thrilled to welcome Amoozegar in his new role, contributing to the growth of diverse music to the Bruin community! 💙  To read the full article, click the link in our bio ⬆️.  #ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #IranianMusic
Join us Wednesday, 4/7 at 11 AM PT for the first concert in the brand new series, “Musics from Around the World: Southern California Composers in Concert”, launched by The World Music Center at @UCLAAlpert, spotlighting contemporary global music makers throughout the region. Kicking it off will be composer, performer and improviser Christopher Adler (@christopheradlerdotcom).⠀
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Adler will present his work with the khaen, the bamboo free-reed mouth organ of Laos and Northeast Thailand, an instrument he has championed for over 25 years. He will perform traditional and contemporary solos, as well as two duos with violinist Batya MacAdam-Somer (@lesterbangslives), including the world premiere of a new adaptation of a piece originally for Chinese instruments.⠀
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“Musics from Around the World: Southern California Composers in Concert” is part of the yearlong celebration of the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive's 60th anniversary.⠀
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To register for this event, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
#ThisisUCLAMusic #Ethnomusicology #WorldMusic
Join us tonight, 3/19 at 7 p.m. for the “End of the Quarter Showcase” organized by the Alpert Student Advisory Board! ⠀
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Tonight’s concert features performers from all departments at the School of Music, including the UCLA Percussion Ensemble, the Music of China Ensemble, Irina Bazik, Kelsey Ma (@melseyka), Valerie Stern, Professor Inna Faliks, and original works from Kian Ravaei (@kianraveei), Robby Good (@robbygood702), Shirunyu Li among many more. ⠀
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To watch the concert, click the link in our bio ⬆️. ⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #music #Ethnomusicology #GlobalJazz
In recognition of Women’s History Month, @UCLAalpert is proud to spotlight fourth year Ethnomusicology major and composer Kenedea Lee (@kenedea_music). ⠀
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Lee started classical training when she was 9 years old and only immersed herself in that style of music until her late teen years. During her senior year of high school, she realized that she wanted to learn music outside of Western classical music, which led her to pursue Ethnomusicology. Having fond memories performing at UCLA Alpert’s Schoenberg Hall during high school was a huge reason why she chose to attend the School of Music.⠀
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She began writing music after she was given an assignment to write and perform a short blues piece from her music theory professor. After hearing herself and other musicians play a simple melodic line with supporting harmonies, that nearly knocked her off her feet. ⠀
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“I was inspired to compose music ever since,” said Lee. “As I genuinely write from my heart, I aspire to bring a sense of joy and warmth to those who listen to my compositions.” ⠀
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One woman musician she looks up to is Lynette Williams (@hammondgal), the keyboardist for @ChildishGambino. ⠀
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“I am not only inspired by her talent, but also by her kindness and character,” said Lee. “She inspires me to be a better musician and a good person at the same time. The two should always be hand and hand!” ⠀
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Lee encourages other women wanting to pursue a profession in music to wholeheartedly believe in yourself. Acknowledging that the industry is heavily dominated by men, she wants women not to be discouraged by what looks like the "odds,” but to keep your eyes on your goals. ⠀
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Staying focused on her goals, Lee is releasing a short jazz album called "Warm Colors” in the coming months, which will be available on most music platforms. ⠀
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We are truly inspired and look forward to hearing Lee’s new music. 🎵💙⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #WomenInMusic #WomensHistoryMonth #Ethnomusicology
Lupita Infante ‘17 (@luinfante), Ethnomusicology alumna and GRAMMY nominee for her first studio album, “La Serenata,” in the Best Regional Mexican Music Album category will kick off the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony event with a tribute performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless classic Marvin Gaye track “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology).” Joining her will be several nominees, including former Bruin Kamasi Washington (@kamasiwashington). ⠀
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Infante will also have the honor of presenting the first GRAMMY Awards of the day, alongside Bill Burr (@wilfredburr), Chika (@chikalogy) and former Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam (@flytetymejam).⠀
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The Premiere Ceremony will be livestreamed internationally on Sunday, 3/14 at 12 p.m. PT via the @recordingacademy website before the 2021 GRAMMY Awards show. 💙 ⠀
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To learn more, click the link in our bio ⬆️.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #GRAMMYs #Ethnomusicology #Alumni
During a recent @uclawbb game against Oregon State, Ethnomusicology major Yeremiya “Yerry” Wright ‘23 (@itsyerry) and Psychology major Foluke Oduntan ‘21 (@rachealfolu) were invited to perform the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “The Star Spangled Banner” in honor of Black History Month.  Wright and Oduntan are members of the Leadership Team in the Department of Ethnomusicology’s Music of African Americans Ensemble at @UCLAalpert, which is directed by Dr. Diane White-Clayton (@dianewhiteclayton). We are beyond proud of our talented students. 💙  Happy Black History Month! 💛  #ThisisUCLAMusic #BlackHistoryMonth #BHM #Ethnomusicology
Share the love with 💙 Mariachi de Uclatlán 💛 this Valentine’s Day!⠀
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Donate to Uclatlán by 12 PM PT on Saturday, 2/13, and they will thank you with a personalized serenade on Valentine’s Day for you or your special someone!⠀
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Mariachi de Uclatlán will also close out Valentine's Day with a serenata of “Amor de mis amores" on their social media channels - @Uclatlan.⠀
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To donate, click the link in our bio ⬆️ and email or DM @Uclatlan your confirmation to choose your songs and special message you would like them to include in your serenade.⠀
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#ThisisUCLAMusic #SerenatasDeAmor #Uclatlan #ValentinesDay #Giving #Ethnomusicology

“The school of music is a vibrant place filled with people from various musical backgrounds. Learning about different musical traditions changed my understanding of the role of music in different cultures.”

Guest Artists & Scholars Offer Students Unique Insights

A stream of high-profile artists and scholars from around the world have energized and inspired our students, helping to transform their educational experience. Among them are J.H. Kwabena Nketia, considered Africa’s premier musicologist/ethnomusicologist; Akin Euba, a Nigerian composer, musicologist, and pianist; MacArthur Fellow Steven Feld, an American ethnomusicologist, anthropologist, and linguist, who worked for many years with the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea; Judith Becker, professor emerita of ethnomusicology, University of Michigan; Mark Slobin, the author or editor of books on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, film music, and ethnomusicology theory; Chano Dominguez, award-winning Spanish-born pianist, composer, bandleader, and educator, and Hossein Omoumi, a scholar and teacher of Persian traditional music, among others.

Hossein Omoumi Hossein Omoumi Hossein Omoumi

Ethnomusicology News

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An Unconventional Genius: Martha Gonzalez (Ethnomusicology, 1999)
Martha Gonzalez has done it all. She completed a dissertation, won a Grammy, published a book, teaches at a top liberal arts college, and was awarded a 2022 MacArthur "genius" grant.
Prominent Advocate for Musical Sustainability to Deliver Regents' Lecture
Musician, scholar, and leading arts director Huib Schippers brings his wealth of experience to UCLA when he delivers the UC Regents’ Lecture as part of his Fall 2022 appointment as Regents’ Professor in the ethnomusicology department of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The lecture, titled “Sound Futures: Why Some Music Practices Thrive, Many
UCLA Ethnomusicology Professor Named Bakë-Jairazbhoy Chair for Indian Ocean Studies
Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Bakë-Jairazbhoy Chair for Indian Ocean Studies at the Pocker Sahib Memorial Orphanage College (PSMO), an affiliate with Calicut University in Kerala, India. The chair was created for the specific purpose of recovering and
Countering Anti-Asian Stereotyping on Stage and Screen
The subject of Asian representation in popular media is a pressing question. While the historical roots of negative Asian stereotyping in America extend back for more than a century and a half, the more recent strife in American politics has been accompanied by an alarming rise of Anti-Asian violence. “We wanted to talk about why
Telling the Story of the Vietnamese Diaspora through Music
On October 21 and 22, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will host a symposium about music in trans-Vietnamese film. Hear + Việt + Film will bring a multiplicity of perspectives to bridge transnational as well as transdisciplinary perspectives on this global medium. The event is free and open to the public. “We are
UCLA to Host Sitar Legend Shujaat Husain Khan
For more than four decades, Shujaat Khan has been recognized as a leading sitar maestro of Hindustani classical music. On Friday, October 7 at 7:00 p.m., Khan will cap a week-long residency as a Dr. Sambhi Visiting Artist at The Herb Alpert UCLA School of Music with a free public concert at Schoenberg Hall. Shujaat

Explore Our Degrees

Conducting
Graduate study and training in choral, orchestral, or wind conducting
Ethnomusicology
The study of global musical traditions through performance training, research, and field work
Global Jazz Studies
Jazz performance and musicianship courses are paired with African American Studies
Music Composition
Mentorship in the creation and realization of music for concerts, opera, and visual media
Music Education
Preparation for music educators leading to a B.A. and teaching credential in just four years
Music History & Industry
Combining Musicology and the Music Industry minor for practical hands-on training with the study of music within the context of different societies, cultures, and theories
Music Industry
Industry professionals and UCLA faculty prepare students for music-related careers
Musicology
The scholarly study of the histories, cultures, and critical interpretations of music and music-making
Music Performance
Study and training towards professional performance careers in Western classical music