Key takeaways

  • Nine faculty and student music projects have been awarded grants through the Hugo and Christine Davise Fund for Contemporary Music, administered through the UCLA Music Library. 
  • The grants support work ranging from new compositions and recordings to symposiums and research for contemporary music.
  • The wide range of initiatives includes jazz performances, the score to a comedic opera that reimagines a Greek classic, programs on the influence of Chinese music on Western classical music and reflections on the climate crisis.  

UCLA Library, which provides access to one of the largest academic music collections in North America, has announced the 2024 Hugo and Christine Davise Fund for Contemporary Music grantees. Administered by the UCLA Music Library, nine faculty and student music projects at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music have been awarded grants between $1,500 and $5,000 for their potential to advance the field of contemporary music.

Representing a variety of programs, performances and influences, this year’s awardees include a partnership between musicians and ecologists to capture the sounds of endangered wildlife, concerts highlighting the influence of Chinese music on Western classical music, a cantata spotlighting climate change and human-driven involvement, new jazz performances by six composers, classes by Thai musicians skilled in traditional techniques and more.

Selected projects will be published in the Music Library’s Contemporary Music Score Collection, the first open-access repository of new music published by a library and the largest of its kind in the world. These projects will join the more than 400,000 physical items held by the Music Library, from resources for music research, performance and study spanning all genres of music from ancient times to today.

Full list of projects:

“Bent Frequency”

Two members of music ensemble Bent Frequency
Steve Eberhardt
Members of the professional contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency.

This project seeks piano, saxophone and percussion works through an open call for scores, led by UCLA music performance professor Jan Berry Baker. The winning composition will be performed in concert by members of Atlanta-based professional contemporary music ensemble Bent Frequency and selected submissions will be published in the Contemporary Music Score Collection.

“Finding Light”

Filipino American composer Matthew Hazzard will present a performance of a new cantata, using social commentary to reconcile the impending doom of climate change with humans’ hedonist propensities for pleasure and consumerism. “Finding Light” includes a residency by Hazzard and a performance by the UCLA Chorale under the direction of UCLA lecturer Ryan R. Brown.

“Global Resonance”

This master class and panel discussion will celebrate the influence of Chinese music on Western classical music, led by UCLA graduate student Benjamin Fleischacker. Invited musicians include pipa player Chen Yihan and bamboo flutist He Bin.

“Harmony of Endangered Voices: A Multifaceted Exploration of Endangered Species Through Music and Ecology”

Led by UCLA graduate student SiHyun Uhm, this project unites ecologists, musicians from the school of music, and partners from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens to create a six-movement piece. Phase 1 will highlight the sounds of endangered species and soundscapes with clarinet, violin, cello and piano, and the second phase will integrate an audio analysis library created in collaboration with the UCLA Department of Ecology. 

“The Heroine with a Thousand Faces”

Led by UCLA faculty Nina Eidsheim, this continuing collaboration with composer Anne LeBaron includes a live performance at UCLA.

“Mon Gong Music Culture from Burma to Thailand”

Two skilled Thai musicians, descendants of Mon families knowledgeable in Mon musical traditions, are invited to the school of music to teach Mon techniques and contemporary repertoire to students from the Music of Thailand ensemble class and other interested practitioners. The project is led by Supeena Insee Adler, a classical Thai musician, instrument repairer and UCLA adjunct associate professor of ethnomusicology.

“Root Progressions”

Six jazz composers who comprise Root Progressions
Gloria Cheng
Six jazz composers will record new works as part of a project led by adjunct professor Gloria Cheng.

Six jazz composers — Anthony Davis, Jon Jang, James Newton, Arturo O’Farrill, Linda May Han Oh and Gernot Wolfgang — will record new works under the guidance of adjunct professor Gloria Cheng. This project builds on previously commissioned compositions and support related to school of music events.


The score to UCLA assistant professor Kay Rhie’s newly produced opera “Quake” — a comedic reimagination of the ending of “The Odyssey” that premiered at UCLA in June 2023 —  will be published in the Contemporary Score Edition by the UCLA Music Library.  

“Sounds Promising”

Led by UCLA graduate students Michele Yamamoto, Morgan Bates and Emmie Head, this initiative seeks to create a digitally published, open-access multimedia journal that will feature diverse scholarship and musical practices from the UCLA campus and beyond. Focused on the liminal or “inter” spaces that music and sound touch, “Sounds Promising” the project’s working title, invites broad collaboration between and among researchers in the early stages of their careers or who may be regularly marginalized or delegitimized in academic discourse.

The Davise fund is named for Hugo and Christine Davise, who received music degrees from UCLA in 1931 and 1927, respectively, and took the time to mentor many up-and-coming musicians as part of their dedication to contemporary music. Hugo Davise’s scores are now in the care of composer and former student Marco Marinangeli, but photocopies of these works are available in the Library’s Performing Arts Special Collections.