Music industry executive and philanthropist Morris “Mo” Ostin has donated $10 million to UCLA for a state-of-the-art campus music facility to be known as the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center.
The Ostin Music Center will include a high-tech recording studio, spaces for rehearsal and teaching, a café and social space for students, and an Internet-based music production center. Adjacent to the Schoenberg Music Building and the Inverted Fountain, the new structures will provide faculty and students access to the latest advances in music technology, research and pedagogy.
“Mo’s magnificent gift secures UCLA’s standing as a leader in music and music education,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “As a cutting-edge music facility, the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center will allow UCLA to provide the dynamic training ground students need to be future leaders in the performing arts.”
“With one of the top music programs in the country, UCLA is preparing the artistic leaders of the future,” Ostin said. “I am proud to show my continued support with the creation of a center that will prepare students for careers not only in performance and academia but also in music journalism, the entertainment business, and the public and nonprofit sectors. In today’s competitive global environment, students need to be well-rounded professionals.”
Over the years, Ostin, who earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA in 1951, and his late wife, Evelyn, who passed away in 2005, have been passionate supporters of the university, most notably in the arts, athletics, medicine and education. In 1998, the Ostins served as co-chairs of the fundraising gala “Royce Hall Encore — Celebrate the Return” after major renovations took place in the famous hall. They were also founders of the UCLA Film and Television Archive Council.
Mo Ostin continues his support of the arts at UCLA in his role as a longtime member of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture’s board of visitors. He is a Chancellor’s Associate and a member of the UCLA Alumni Association.
In a career that covered six decades, Ostin exerted a profound influence on the music industry and gained a reputation as one of the most artist-friendly executives in the record business. During his time as an administrative executive and controller at Verve Records, Frank Sinatra signed him as president of Reprise Records, which was later purchased by Warner Bros.
For 25 years, Ostin served as CEO of Warner Bros. Records, where he is currently chairman emeritus. From 1996 to 2004, he headed DreamWorks SKG Music. Ostin worked with an extraordinarily varied roster of artists, including Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Grateful Dead, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Talking Heads, Madonna, Prince, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, R.E.M., the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day.
Ostin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and in 2006 was presented with the President’s Merit Award at the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons event for his contributions to the landscape of modern music. Ostin also served as the elected chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“This generous gift from Mo will create state-of-the-art technological and teaching facilities that support the global vision of music at UCLA and enrich the educational opportunities that we offer our students,” said Christopher Waterman, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. “Our commitment to providing a holistic education for young musicians — from composition and performance to interdisciplinary and music industry studies — attracts the very best students from California and around the world.”
A critical part of a music complex that houses the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Ostin Music Center will be designed by Los Angeles–based Daly Genik Architects, under the direction of principal Kevin Daly. Daly Genik Architects’ previous projects include the National AIA Honor Award–winning Camino Nuevo High School in Los Angeles, the South Campus Building of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and the Harvard College Fine Arts Library’s Digital Images and Slide Collection in Cambridge, Mass.
This naming gift from the Ostin Family Foundation represents a significant portion of the total amount needed to construct the building. The remainder will be funded by other donations. Construction will begin in the spring of 2012, with a projected completion date in 2014.