UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Formally Established by UC Regents

January 22, 2016

UCLA Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

To the Campus Community:

I am pleased to announce a significant milestone in the history of our campus: the formal establishment of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. The measure was approved today by the University of California Regents.

The school will immediately begin operating as a stand-alone entity, making it UCLA’s 12th professional school, and the first new one on our campus since the formation of what is now the Luskin School of Public Affairs in 1994. Of course, the Herb Alpert School of Music has been an integral part of our academic enterprise for nearly a decade now. It was created in 2007 thanks largely to a $30 million gift from the Herb Alpert Foundation. Since then, it has operated under the auspices of the School of the Arts and Architecture.

In concert with the Regents’ approval, I am proud to announce that Judi Smith will serve as the school’s interim dean. Chancellor Gene Block and I are extremely grateful to Judi, dean and vice provost emerita of the UCLA College, for coming out of retirement in July to serve as the school’s executive director, and for being a guiding force in shaping our plans. Judi will serve until an inaugural dean is named; a search will begin soon. I also appreciate the tremendous efforts of the faculty, students and staff who worked so hard to make this day a reality. The transformation would not have been possible without their invaluable input.

The school will encompass ethnomusicology and music departments (both being transferred from the School of the Arts and Architecture) and a musicology department (which is being transferred from the UCLA College humanities division).

In keeping with our mission as a research university and our global outlook, the school will balance two sets of complementary objectives. First, it will emphasize both performance and the scholarly study of music, providing students with intensive individual music instruction and a top-flight liberal arts education in ethnomusicology and musicology. Second, the curriculum will share a focus on Western classical music and traditional world music, as well as jazz, punk and rock ‘n’ roll.

These dual, two-part objectives will set the school apart from peer institutions and, we believe, establish a new paradigm for music studies.

The Herb Alpert School of Music is already recognized among the very best schools of music — it was recently named No. 4 in the nation by the Hollywood Reporter. Among its other unique features, it offers a bachelor’s degree in music education together with a teaching certificate, as well as a master’s program in jazz that offers students the opportunity to study with legends such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.

The school, which will be the first school of music in the University of California system, will further enhance UCLA’s long-standing commitment to the performing and visual arts through scholarship, education and public programming. More information can be found in a UCLA news release, and the school’s website will be continually updated in the coming weeks.

For now, please join me in celebrating this landmark event for UCLA.


Scott L. Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost