Herbie Hancock
Adjunct Professor; LA Phil Guest Artist, Music Performance Jazz

Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

Chairman Herbie Hancock was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador in July 2011. At a ceremony in Paris, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said the designation recognizes Hancock’s “dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts.”

Bokova selected Hancock to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to promote mutual understanding among cultures, with a particular emphasis on fostering the emergence of new, creative ideas among youth, finding solutions to global problems, and ensuring equal access to the diversity of artistic expressions.

Herbie Hancock serves as Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, supporting all aspects of the organization’s work. He has led dozens of national and international Institute tours that have introduced millions of people around the world to jazz and its rich cultural heritage. Hancock has served numerous times on the judging panel for the Hancock International Jazz Piano Competition and co-hosts this event each year.

Additionally, Hancock serves on the audition committee that selects the world’s most promising young jazz artists for participation in the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance, the Institute’s full-scholarship college program. As an Artist-in-Residence at the college program, Hancock has passed along his knowledge to a younger generation of jazz musicians that will carry the music forward. Hancock helped develop Jazz in America: The National Jazz Curriculum, the Institute’s free, online jazz history curricula for students in 5th, 8th and 11th grades, and narrates the 5th grade animated lesson plans available at www.jazzinamerica.org.

Fourteen-time GRAMMY Award winner Herbie Hancock is a jazz icon who has been an integral part of every jazz movement since his arrival on the scene in the ’60s. The internationally renowned pianist and composer was born in Chicago and began playing piano at age 7. At age 11, he performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He later attended Grinnell College, where he double majored in music and engineering.

When he was 20 years old, Hancock was invited by Donald Byrd to join his band and encouraged by Byrd to move to New York. Byrd later helped him secure a recording contract with Blue Note Records. Hancock’s debut album, Takin’ Off, included “Watermelon Man,” the first of many top ten hits. As a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, Hancock became one of the pioneers of modern jazz improvisation. His musical innovations during this period are studied by jazz musicians the world over. Hancock’s recordings during the ’70s combined electric jazz with funk and rock sounds in an innovative style that influenced a whole decade of music. In 1983, “Rockit,” from the platinum-selling Future Shock album, won Hancock a GRAMMY for Best R&B Instrumental and became an anthem in the world of break dancing and early hip-hop culture.

The “Rockit” video and Hancock’s performance at the GRAMMY Awards have been cited by many major hip-hop deejays as their original inspiration for pursuing their art. Hancock’s music has been sampled and reused on dozens of hip-hop and dance classics including US3’s “Canteloop Island” and Dee-Lite’s “Groove Is in The Heart.” His compositions including “Watermelon Man”, “Chameleon,” and “Maiden Voyage” are considered classics in the world of jazz and beyond. Hancock received the 1987 Oscar Award for Best Score, honoring his work on Round Midnight. In 2007, Hancock’s CD River: The Joni Letters won the GRAMMY Award for Album of the Year, making Hancock the first jazz musician to receive this honor in 44 years. His latest release is The Imagine Project, which was recorded all around the world with a variety of artists including India.Arie, Los Lobos, and Seal. Herbie Hancock continues to be a major creative force in jazz and a trailblazer in the world of music.

Related Members

See All Music Faculty
Rakefet Hak
Music Director of Opera UCLA, Lecturer
Adam Gilberti
Lecturer - Music Education/Woodwinds
Vladimir Chernov
Distinguished Professor - Voice Performance
David Lefkowitz
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Music
Nick DePinna
Adjunct Assistant Professor--Musicianship
Ian Krouse
Distinguished Professor
Shahāb Pāranj
Composition – Lecturer and Postdoctoral Scholar, Contemporary concert music
James Bass
Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Director of Choral Studies
Cheryl Lin Fielding
Lecturer - Vocal Diction, Vocal Coaching
Movses Pogossian
Distinguished Professor of Violin; Founder and Advisor, Armenian Music Program - Music Performance
Travis J. Cross
Director of Bands; Professor - Conducting
Ji Young An
Lecturer - Violin Performance
John Steinmetz
Lecturer - Bassoon Performance
Lucy Yates
Lecturer - Vocal Diction, Vocal Coaching
Jonathan Davis
Lecturer - Oboe Performance
Jan Berry Baker
Professor of Saxophone, Vice Chair of the Department of Music, and Special Assistant to the Dean for Faculty Mentoring
Gloria Cheng
Adjunct Professor - Contemporary Music, Performance Studies
Gregory Goodall
Lecturer - Percussion Performance
Ryan Brown
Lecturer -- Voice
Amy Sanchez
Lecturer - Horn Performance
James Miller
Lecturer - Trombone Performance; Associate Principal Trombone LA Phil
Victoria Kirsch
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Christoph Bull
Adjunct Professor - Organ Performance
Juliana Gondek
Distinguished Professor, Voice Performance
Lou Anne Neill
Lecturer - Harp Performance; Harp LA Phil
Benjamin Smolen
Lecturer - Flute Performance
Chris Hanulik
Adjunct Professor - String Bass Performance; Principal Bass LA Phil
Michael Dean
Professor - Voice Performance
Hitomi Oba
Director of Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Lecturer
Denis Bouriakov
Lecturer - Flute Performance; Principal Flute LA Philharmonic
Inna Faliks
Professor - Head of Piano
Iris Malkin
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Wendy Caldwell
Lecturer - Vocal Coaching
Che-Yen Chen
Professor - Viola Performance
Theresa Dimond
Lecturer - Percussion Performance
Arturo O’Farrill
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Professor
Jens Lindemann
Distinguished Professor of Trumpet
Aubrey Foard
Lecturer - Tuba Performance
Erin Bouriakov
Lecturer - Flute Performance
Alison Deane
Associate Adjunct Professor
Boris Allakhverdyan
Lecturer - Clarinet Performance, Principal Clarinet LA Philharmonic
Dante De Silva
Lecturer - Composition, Music Theory
Johanna Gamboa-Kroesen
Assistant Professor--Music Education
Varty Manouelian
Lecturer - Violin Performance; Violin LA Phil
Lily Chen-Hafteck
Professor and Special Assistant to the Inaugural Dean for Curricular Reform
William Kinderman
Elaine Krown Klein Chair in Performance Studies, Professor
David Kaplan
Inaugural Shapiro Family Chair in Piano Performance; Assistant Professor
Kay Rhie
Assistant Professor
Brendan McBrien
Lecturer--Music Education
Peter Kazaras
Distinguished Professor - Director of Opera UCLA
Antonio Lysy
Professor - Cello Performance and Strings Area Head
Joshua Ranz
Lecturer - Clarinet Performance

Explore Other 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
BA
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 BA and teaching credential in just four years
BA
Music Industry
A leadership-focused professional degree which prepares students to transform the creative, entrepreneurial, and executive structures of the music industry
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