Regina Carter, GRAMMY nominated violinist and recipient of the MacArthur “genius” and Doris Duke Artist Awards, will deliver the keynote address at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music 2021 commencement celebration on Friday, June 11 at 4 p.m. PDT.
The prolific musician has been widely recognized for her musical style, which spans multiple genres including jazz, R&B, Latin, classical, blues and others. Acclaimed for her mastery of her instrument, Carter has expanded artistic possibilities through her work while opening doors for female jazz musicians. In 2018, she was named artistic director of the New Jersey Performing Arts All-Female Jazz Residency, a unique summer immersion program designed for aspiring female jazz professionals. Later that year she received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Improvised Solo for “Some of That Sunshine,” the title track on vocalist Karin Allyson’s album.
“It’s an honor to recognize the class of 2021,” Carter said. “Our talented young musicians and scholars are more important than ever as we navigate this unique time in our history. Their creativity and resilience have the power to unify us and facilitate much needed healing.”
Carter, who began studying the violin at the age of 4, trained at the New England Conservatory of Music and at Oakland University in Michigan for jazz. After teaching violin for the Detroit public school system and on a U.S. military base in Germany, she began receiving recognition for her work with Straight Ahead, an all-female jazz quintet.
Since the launch of her self-titled debut album in 1995, Carter has released eight studio albums showcasing her talent and versatility as a musician. She has performed at numerous jazz festivals and made guest appearances on albums including “Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico and Beyond,” with Global Jazz Studies Professor, Arturo O’Farrill.
“As the quintessential musician of the future, Regina defines herself not by genres but by the continuum of all that connects music,” said O’Farrill, who also serves as Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Music. “She will inspire students who are looking for role models that speak to the issues facing music making today including diversifying the pool so that all are invited to the table regardless of race, gender, preference, ethnicity or aesthetic.”
A winner of multiple readers’ and critics’ poll awards by leading industry publications such as DownBeat and JazzTimes, Carter tours with her own group and has performed as a guest soloist with Mary J. Blige, Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, Dolly Parton and many others.
“We are honored that Regina Carter will be participating in The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s 2021 commencement celebration,” said Eileen Strempel, the school’s inaugural dean. “Regina’s unique sound transcends genres and cultures and her uplifting words will empower and inspire our students as they continue their studies and embark upon their careers.”
The virtual commencement celebration will also feature performances by students, as well as student remarks. The class of 2021 comprises of 130 graduates from the departments of ethnomusicology, global jazz studies, music, music industry and musicology.