(LOS ANGELES) – UCLA has opened North America’s first permanent academic home for the study of American Jewish music. Housed in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience, which seeks to foster artistic creativity, scholarship, performance, and other cultural expression, is the result of a $6.75 million gift from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation.
“The Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience will unite the academic and the artistic, showcasing the artists, scholars and educators who reveal to us the authentic voice of our shared humanity and the inexhaustible call toward our noblest self,” said Eileen Strempel, dean of the school of music.
“We are incredibly grateful to Lowell Milken for his generous gift to endow this center, which builds on our latest learnings, establishes a standard of excellence and an enduring infrastructure at UCLA for music of American Jewish experience, and gives us the ability to plan more ambitious initiatives for years to come.”
The new center is an extension of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, which was founded by Milken in 1990 to record, preserve, and disseminate music inspired by more than 350 years of Jewish life in the United States.
“Shaped by Jews from every corner of the globe, who absorbed their host cultures while retaining their Jewish heritage, the archive is as diverse and beautiful as America itself,” Milken said. “From the outset, our vision was to create a living archive making education central to our mission. The partnership with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music positions the new center as a global leader in the field of music of American Jewish experience.”
The Lowell Milken Center also builds on the Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music at UCLA. That fund’s establishment, in 2017, enabled the school of music to begin its collaboration with the Milken Archive. The fund has produced a diverse calendar of concerts, lectures and projects, ranging from klezmer workshops to large choral and orchestral performances to artist residencies and commissions of new music.