I am a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA. Throughout my graduate studies, I have gained a wealth of experience in collegiate service, including representative positions for conservatory and ethnomusicology students, as well as involvement in groups committed to issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. Before coming to UCLA, I completed graduate studies at Boston Conservatory at Berklee in the contemporary classical music performance program. My current research interests engage with identity, Western art music in contemporary America, freelance work in metropolitan music scenes, higher education, feminist studies and cultural production. During my time serving on the School of Music (SOM) Graduate Student Council, I hope to work towards creating an inclusive SOM community that addresses the needs and aspirations of its graduate students.
Austin Ali is an award-winning composer, trumpet player and conductor from Dallas, Texas. Musicians from Washington, D.C. to Costa Rica, to Valencia and Spain have performed Ali’s music, including symphony orchestras, brass bands, jazz ensembles, soloists, chamber groups, wind ensembles and choirs. Outside the concert stage, Ali composed, orchestrated and conducted the score to the feature-length film “Dear Leo” in Austin, TX. He holds degrees in Music Composition and Plan II Honors from the University of Texas at Austin, and in spring 2020, Ali received the George H. Mitchell Award for Academic Excellence for his thesis “A Musical Portrait of Triton, the Rogue Moon of Neptune.” Ali currently studies music composition at The Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles (M.A., Class of 2022). At UCLA, Ali currently serves as a teaching assistant for Dr. Ben Phelps and studies composition with Dr. Richard Danielpour.
Based in Southern California, Kristine Llanderal enjoys leading an interdisciplinary musical life as a freelance performer, collaborator and arranger. She is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance at UCLA, working with Professor Joshua Ranz. Llanderal is also a recent graduate of the University of Redlands where she studied clarinet performance with Dr. Kathryn Nevin. As an advocate for collaborative environments, Llanderal actively seeks opportunities to perform chamber music. She has taken masterclasses and coaching sessions with notable chamber ensembles such as the Zephyros Winds and with Decoda chamber music artists. This year, she is thrilled to be a student performer with the UCLA 2021-22 Gluck Fellows program. She is also grateful to serve as a member of The Herb Alpert School of Music’s Anti-Racism Action Committee and Graduate Student Council.
I am a second-year Master’s student in composition and am very excited to be joining the Graduate Student Council this year. I also perform frequently on the piano/keyboard and enjoy playing many different styles of music. As a member of the council I hope to facilitate change according to the wants and needs of the student body, and foster a connected, collaborative and supportive community throughout the School of Music.
Ethnomusicology Ph.D. student and Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow at UCLA, Dexter Story is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer based in Los Angeles. He has worked in multiple facets of the music industry, from marketing at Priority Records and Def Jam Recordings to being a talent buyer at the legendary LA venue – Temple Bar. With an M.A. in African Studies and two recent northeast Africa-influenced albums “Wondem” and “Bahir,” which released on the UK-based Soundway Records label, Story’s research focuses on the intersection of indigenous musicality and post-colonial modernity in the Horn of Africa, electric lyre innovations in the region, and the globalization of 1960s and 1970s soul music. Story’s dissertation writing currently investigates Eritrea’s little known popular music called guayla as a site for nationhood, identity and innovation. Story is married with three beautiful children.
Delegate for Musicology
Alex Moore is a Ph.D. student at the SOM’s Department of Musicology. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Music History at UCLA. Moore’s research interests include Western popular music, with a recent focus on hip-hop, Afrofuturism and film music. He is a strong advocate in developing equitable, diverse and inclusive communities within academia; collecting unique interests and experiences between student groups, schools and departments. Moore has previously worked in non-profit music education and the entertainment industry. He plays the double bass, mostly as a hobby, and at times professionally.
Delegate for Ethnomusicology
Shahwar Kibria Maqhfi is a Ph.D. scholar at the School of Music in ethnomusicology and her work is centered on the contemporary cultures of Sufi-Islamic music in South Asia. She completed her M.Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India where she wrote her dissertation on Qawwali in Contemporary South Asian Popular Cultures. Her explorations of the expanding network of Sufi music in global music cultures have continued in the form of: academic presentations and lectures at national and international academic conferences; articles published in leading online English news and culture platforms including Firstpost and Economic and Political Weekly; and course modules on film and music that she curated and taught as an assistant professor of film and media sciences at the University of Calcutta. Maqhfi loves to cook and aspires to be the undisputed Biryani Wizard of UCLA.
Delegate for Music
Sierra Allen is excited to embark on a new year with the Graduate Student Council as Music Delegate. Allen is in her third year at SOM in the DMA program for Clarinet Performance. She was the TA for woodwind chamber music for the past two years, and this year she is a recipient of the Graduate Research Mentorship Program for her research on E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet doubling. During the inaugural year of the Graduate Student Council in 2020-21, Allen served as Vice-President. In her first year at UCLA (with almost two full quarters in-person!), Allen was a recipient of the Mimi Alpert Feldman Scholarship and performed the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto with the UCLA Philharmonia in the All-Star concert in January 2020. She is excited to welcome the graduate students back to UCLA in-person this fall! Outside of UCLA, Allen performs in studios, having played principal clarinet for John Powell, Emily Rice and Jeff Russo. She also enjoys subbing in orchestras and teaching her students.