Heralding a new era in its music programming, the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music introduces three new series for the 2022–23 season. These annual series — the Statement Series, the Signature Series and Amplify — run concurrently and feature the school’s most ambitious events, from concerts by leading figures in jazz, opera and classical music and performances by UCLA faculty and musical ensembles to symposia, lectures, conversations and other unique offerings. All are free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to be introducing this new comprehensive musical calendar and series programming,” said Eileen Strempel, dean of the music school. “We bring superlative arts events to the community every year, and with the introduction of these new series, we will be able to deepen our relationship with our community, both in Westwood and greater Los Angeles.”
The school programs more than 100 musical and scholarly events every year, and the series events highlighted below are only the tip of the iceberg. Visit the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music website for a full listing of the events that make up the Statement, Signature and Amplify series.
The Statement Series
The Statement Series features towering personalities in the musical world, both invited guests and members of the music school’s world-class faculty. From peerless performers to accomplished scholars, these are artists who make a statement.
Among the 2022–23 offerings, legendary sitar master Shujaat Khan, widely recognized as one of the greatest living Hindustani classical musicians, performs Oct. 7. And soprano superstar and UCLA alumna Angel Joy Blue makes her Westwood homecoming on Nov. 21, fresh from performances with the Vienna State Opera, the Dresden Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the San Francisco Opera and a New York Metropolitan Opera debut as Bess in “Porgy and Bess” that was so successful the Met had to add extra performances for the first time in its history.
Also programmed are some of the biggest names in jazz. Darius Brubeck and his brothers, sons of the late jazz great Dave Brubeck, arrive Feb. 26 to perform their father’s monumental work “Gates of Justice.” Written in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the piece was designed to heal rifts between the Black and Jewish communities. Presented by the Lowell Milken Center for Music of Jewish American Experience, this historic moment — marking the first occasion the Brubeck brothers will perform the piece together — will be preceded by a discussion between Darius and Wall Street Journal critic Larry Blumenfeld and followed on Feb. 27 by a daylong symposium.
Other events highlighting jazz greats include a performance by six-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee Terence Blanchard (May 12) and a tribute concert for jazz legend and longtime UCLA faculty member Barbara Morrison (Feb. 10), who died this year.
The Signature Series
While the Statement Series leans towards special guests and one-time events, the Signature Series features the lectures, concerts and other offerings the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music is renowned for presenting every year. Concerts feature chamber music and large ensembles, as well as unique events you won’t find elsewhere.
One example is the famed Vivaldi in the Rotunda concert on Feb. 17, starring first-year student soloists backed up by the school of music’s vaunted string faculty. The event, staged in the rotunda of UCLA’s Powell Library, will benefit the Midnight Mission, which provides services to the homeless.
The series also features stimulating lectures and conversations. The school’s annual Stevenson Lecture will be delivered this year on Oct. 18 by Nadine Hubbs, director of the Lesbian-Gay-Queer Research Initiative and a professor of women’s studies and music at the University of Michigan. And noted musicologist Trevor Reed will discuss Native American music on April 20, along with musician-scholar Jessica Bissett Perea.
The series’ collection of virtuoso performers includes Ramon Mendez, hailed in the European press as the “Spanish pianist of his generation,” who will perform the David L. Abell Piano Recital on May 11. The Jan. 29 UCLA All-Star concert, a perennial favorite with audiences, features student winners of the annual All-Star competition, providing the school’s finest musicians and vocalists the opportunity to solo with the UCLA Philharmonia.
The Amplify series is devoted to underscoring new and exciting voices from our communities near and far, with a special emphasis on highlighting the work of artists from diverse ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds.
Among the wide-ranging Amplify offerings, a symposium and concert dedicated to Trinidadian icon Calypso Rose will be held April 26, and on April 29, Arturo O’Farrill and his UCLA Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra will partner with Neal Stulberg and the UCLA Philharmonia to back up celebrated Puerto Rican flautist Néstor Torres.
Amplify may be the place to find programming reflective of today’s society, but it is not the only place, according to Strempel.
“Much of our Signature Series and Statement Series are included in Amplify,” she said. “We understand it is important to highlight events celebrating our diversity on one series, but we also want to underscore that eclectic and progressive programming is in our DNA as a school.”
That’s why you’ll find acclaimed new music composer George E. Lewis’s residency at UCLA in the Statement Series, but you’ll also see his lecture on Afrodiasporic music-making in Amplify. The same is true of Angel Blue, Terence Blanchard and others.
Amplify is also the place to find expansive symposia, conversations and dialogue. Featured for the 2022–23 season are panel discussions on the LGBTQ community and the music industry, a symposium on film and music in the Vietnamese diaspora, and a conference addressing representations of Asians on stage and screen.
“At the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music,” Strempel said, “we are fortunate to be able to educate, host, support and celebrate the very best performers and scholars of all backgrounds.”