Academics & Faculty

Composer Roger Bourland named chair of UCLA’s Department of Music

UCLA music professor Roger Bourland, a renowned composer and musician who has written more than a hundred works for a wide variety of ensembles and soloists, has been named chair of the UCLA Department of Music. He succeeds Ian Krouse, who will remain on the school's faculty.
"I am particularly delighted to welcome Roger Bourland to the helm of the department of music," said Christopher Waterman, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. "His experience as a musician, composer and superlative teacher uniquely qualify him to take this program to the next level."
Bourland joined the UCLA faculty in 1983 and has taught courses on composition, music theory, orchestration and electronic music, among others. He was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for the 2005–06 academic year.
As a UCLA administrator, Bourland has served as chair of both the Academic Senate's Committee on Committees and the Faculty Executive Committee in the Arts and is a past president of the UCLA Faculty Center.
"It's an honor to be named chair at a dynamic time in the department's history," Bourland said. "Having been a member of the faculty for the past 25 years, my familiarity with the department and the university will enable me to guide the program with a special understanding of its past and future. With the recent gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation, the opportunities for growth seem limitless."
Over the past two years, Bourland has had five new works premiered, including "The Night Train," commissioned by New Zealand's St. Matthews Chamber Orchestra (Thomas Neenan, conductor); the score to a new film titled "Cages," directed by Graham Streeter; "Four Apartsongs," a new song cycle performed by soprano Juliana Gondek; an arrangement of Mozart's "Trauermusik" for wind ensemble, performed by the UCLA Wind Ensemble (Thomas Lee, conductor); and "A More Perfect Union," performed by the Boston Gay Men's Chorus in both Boston and Poland.
Bourland is now working on commissions for four new works: "Alarcon Madrigals, Book 3," for the Vox Femina LA choral ensemble, and three chamber operas for the Thornton Wilder Estate.
As a film composer, Bourland has scored "The Wolf at the Door" (1987), "The Trouble With Dick" (1986), "Night Life" (1988), and James Merrill's "Voices From Sandover" (1990). In 1991, he scored a 13-part National Public Radio series titled "Poets in Person" and received his second National Endowment for the Arts grant, for a CD of saxophone music.
Since 1992, Bourland has received commissions from five GALA Choruses for three full-length cantatas — "Hidden Legacies" and "Flashpoint/Stonewall," both with librettist John Hall, and "Letters to the Future" — which have been performed throughout America. Two televised documentaries have explored the significant impact of "Hidden Legacies" on gay men's choruses.
In 1993, Bourland established Yelton Rhodes Music, a publishing house for choral music, and in 1994, he was commissioned to compose "Ozma" in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra.
"Rosarium," Bourland's two-hour drama for chorus, soloists and orchestra, with a libretto by William MacDuff, premiered in 1999 at UCLA's Royce Hall. Bourland and MacDuff also completed a commission for the U.S. Navy's choral ensemble, the Sea Chanters, titled "Keeping the Ocean Free," in honor of the ensemble's 45th anniversary; the work premiered in June 2001 in Washington, D.C. The two teamed again on "The Crocodile's Christmas Ball and Other Odd Tales," which was premiered by the UCLA Wind Ensemble and UCLA Chorale during the 2001–02 concert season, with the composer conducting.
In 2001, Bourland's "Four Painters," scored for piano quartet, was premiered by the Los Angeles chamber ensemble Pacific Serenades.
Bourland earned a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a master's from the New England Conservatory of Music, and an A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. His teachers have included Leon Kirchner, Gunther Schuller, Donald Martino, John Harbison and Randall Thompson. He has received the Koussevitzky Prize in Composition at Tanglewood, the John Knowles Paine Fellowship at Harvard, two ASCAP Grants to Young Composers and numerous Meet the Composers grants and was a co-founder of the Boston-based consortium Composers in Red Sneakers.
Bourland has composed more than 100 works for all media — solo, instrumental, chamber, vocal and choral music, electro-acoustic music, and music for orchestra. His works are published by the E.C. Schirmer Music Company in Boston and Associated Music Publishers Inc. and recorded on Northeastern Records, 1750 Arch, OpenLoop and GM Recordings.
The UCLA Department of Music, part of the newly formed UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, prepares students for professional careers as performers and composers with degree programs that fully integrate academic and artistic excellence. Studies emanate from both American and European music traditions, with a strong focus on the international character of late 20th-century composers and performers. Residencies with international artists, brought to campus under the auspices of UCLA Live, enrich artistic and intellectual training. Visiting artists have included tenor and conductor Placido Domingo, soprano Carol Vaness, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, jazz artists Charlie Haden and Toshiko Akiyoshi, the Takcs Quartet, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The department also has a long tradition of performance and community service, with programs that foster in students the passionate belief that arts outreach is an essential and central part of their musical lives.
In November, 2007, UCLA announced the formation and naming of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and a $30 million endowment gift made possible through the generosity of the renowned, performer, producer and philanthropist and his wife, Lani Hall Alpert. Aligning the university's departments of ethnomusicology, music and musicology, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is devoted to the performance and study of music in all of its global diversity, including world music, popular music, jazz and classical music. The school's curriculum combines musical diversity, interdisciplinary studies, liberal arts values and professional training in a way that takes advantage of the school's position within a great research university. Students develop the practical and critical skills that prepare them for careers not only in professional performance and academia but in music journalism, the entertainment business, and the public and nonprofit sectors.
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