The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will present more than 35 concerts, conferences, masterclasses and other public events in the spring quarter featuring world-class student ensembles and special guest artists, as well as a series of symposia with leading scholars in their fields.

Among the events are two new works readings of Juana, an opera based on the novel “Sor Juana’s Second Dream,” by UCLA’s Alicia Gaspar de Alba, professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, on April 6–7; a grand concert celebrating distinguished professor of ethnomusicology A.J. Racy’s 40 years of teaching at UCLA on April 12; a Global Musics and Musical Communities conference exploring how and why musical genres travel outside their countries of origin on May 10–11; and a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) in Royce Hall featuring UCLA Philharmonia, UCLA Chorale, UCLA Chamber Singers and soloists on June 9.

Guest artists and scholars include Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Henry Threadgill; internationally acclaimed composer Wadada Leo Smith; Grammy-winning trumpeter Frank London; the internationally esteemed Formosa Quartet; American cornetist, trumpeter, composer Graham Haynes in residence; musicologist Gillian Rodger; and ethnomusicologists Tejaswini Niranjana, Razak Khan and Judah Cohen.

All programs are open to the public and most programs are free. For more details and a complete list of events, see the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music calendar.

Classical performance and composition

April 6–7: Opera UCLA presents two new works readings of Juana, a new opera based on the novel “Sor Juana’s Second Dream,” by UCLA professor Alicia Gaspar de Alba. The story revolves around Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, a 17th-century feminist genius whose life was marked by repeated conflict with men of the Inquisition.

April 18: Formosa Quartet performs George Enescu’s monumental and rarely heard Octet, Op. 7 and Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 76 No. 6, with UCLA professor and cellist Antonio Lysy and several UCLA strings students.

April 23: The UCLA Armenian Music Ensemble brings Armenia’s rich musical history to life with a program of chamber music by musicologist and composer Komitas Vardapet, the founder of the Armenian National School of Music, and compositions by Aram Khachaturian, Edward Mirzoian and Alan Hovhaness.

April 25: UCLA doctoral candidate Stephen Karr conducts his final lecture/recital with UCLA Philharmonia, featuring the virtuosic suite from “Le Bourgeois gentilhomme,” by Richard Strauss.

April 26: UCLA Wind Ensemble performs Brian Balmages’ “Fanfare Canzonique,” Johann Sebastian Bach’s “My Jesus! Oh, What Anguish” and David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4.

April 28: Opera UCLA presents the third biennial Vocal Vision Awards, a competition that provides scholarships to three of the school of music’s top voice students.

May 17, 19, 21, 23: In this world premiere commission based on a memoir by Holocaust survivor Yehuda Nir, “Lost Childhood” follows a Jewish psychiatrist who eluded death as a boy in Poland during World War II and a German colleague born into a family with Nazi sympathies. Presented by Opera UCLA, the production features scenic and lighting designers from the UCLA Department of Theater and UCLA Philharmonia, conducted by Neal Stulberg, director of UCLA orchestral studies.  

May 29: UCLA Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band perform Ron Nelson’s “Homage to Perotin,” Shelley Hanson’s “Elegy for Albinoni” and Paul Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.”

June 9: To cap the 2018-2019 concert season, UCLA Philharmonia, UCLA Chorale, UCLA Chamber Singers and soloists perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in Royce Hall.

World music and jazz

April 12: UCLA Distinguished Professor of Ethnomusicology A.J. Racy will be honored at a concert to celebrate his 40 years of teaching here. Special guest artists, students, faculty and alumni will present an eclectic program featuring Racy’s original compositions, an Arab takht ensemble, and a performance by Parisa, one of the foremost female vocalists from Iran.

April 14: Klezmer Xylophone: An Unconventional Love Story brings the xylophone from the back to the front of the band with fun, original arrangements of standard (and not-so-standard) Klezmer tunes, each infused with virtuosity, creativity and humor.

April 27: Graham Haynes in Concert features the American cornetist, trumpeter, and composer, on stage with students for a program demonstrating “conduction,” a style of improvisation created by jazzman Butch Morris.

April 27: UCLA Gluck Near East Ensemble presents a free performance at the West Los Angeles Regional Library. The ensemble’s repertoire includes music of the Arab world, North Africa, Turkey, Central Asia, and parts of Eastern Europe.

May 17–June 4: Continuing a tradition begun in 1960, the ethnomusicology department and the global jazz studies program present traditional music from around the world — including Mexico, India and West Africa — and jazz performed by student ensembles at the annual Spring Festival of World Music and Jazz.

May 23: The Frank London Mind: Unorthodox offers a glimpse into the mind of Grammy-winning trumpeter, bandleader and composer Frank London, one of the geniuses behind globally renowned world music superstars The Klezmatics. London performs with the UCLA Jazz Orchestra and Combo and the UCLA Klezmer Ensemble.

Lectures, symposia and masterclasses

April 4: “Sakthi Vibrations,” an ethnomusicological documentary by Zoe Sherinian, reveals how two progressive Tamil Catholic nuns integrate folk arts performance with social analysis, micro-economic sustainability, self-esteem and community development to help advance Dalit women (outcastes or untouchables) in Tamil Nadu, India.

April 5: Members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra host a dynamic and informative masterclass featuring the group’s principal horn, trombone and tuba players.

April 9: The Arizona Wind Quintet presents a chamber music masterclass for student ensembles and performs selections from their program “Homenaje a México,” which features music by all-Mexican composers, celebrating diverse compositional styles and influences.

April 12-13: This two-day conference celebrates A.J. Racy’s four decades of teaching ethnomusicology at UCLA. Conference speakers were selected from among international scholars and more than a dozen of his former students, who graduated between 1988 and 2017.

April 15–16: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Henry Threadgill leads a workshop for student composers aimed at helping them solve composition problems. The following day, he discusses his music and career with James Newton, distinguished professor of music at UCLA. Audience Q&A follows the conversation.

April 25–26: Graham Haynes, an American cornetist, trumpeter, and composer, explores the concept known as “conduction” — a style of improvisation created by jazzman Butch Morris — in a series of workshops and lectures with students across instruments, genres and musical styles.

April 29: Guest teacher Rose Corrigan, principal bassoonist of the Pacific and Pasadena symphonies and a renowned Hollywood session musician, presents a bassoon master class, demonstrating her creative approach to the instrument.

May 10–11:  Global Musics and Musical Communities conference explores how and why specific musical genres travel outside their countries of origin and lead to the formation of new musical communities. The conference includes music workshops and an evening concert.

May 14: The UCLA Center for Musical Humanities presents A Creative Dialogue about Wadada Leo Smith’s Compositional Practice. In this conversation with UCLA musicologist Nina Eidsheim, Smith discusses his compositional language Ankhrasmation, a symbolic language for creative musicians.

May 14: In this lecture, Judah Cohen, a widely published scholar of Jewish music, will trace America’s largely unknown role in Jewish musical developments of the 19th century.

May 28: Razak Khan, a research fellow at the Erlangen Centre for Islam and Law in Europe, presents a lecture examining the relationship between Muslims and music as articulated by a variety of actors in the age of Hinduization and the nationalization of music in colonial India.

May 30: The Department of Musicology Distinguished Lecture Series welcomes University of Wisconsin musicologist Gillian Rodger. Rodger’s current research explores the early history of variety theater and its connections to other musical theater forms, including minstrelsy and burlesque.

June 8: The ethnomusicological film Phir Se Samm Pe Aana (“Returning to the First Beat”) aims to understand Hindustani classical music as part of the urban history of the metropolis of Bombay/Mumbai.

June 8: Tejaswini Niranjana, professor of cultural studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, presents “Madly in Love with Music: Hindustani Sangeet in 20th Century Mumbai,” a lecture focusing on the manifestations of musicophilia in Mumbai from the late 19th century to the present.