Herb Alpert is giving $300,000 to the music department of Los Angeles City College.
The announcement on Friday says the money from Alpert, a star trumpet player, former record business mogul and persistent arts philanthropist, will go toward a variety of uses. They include new computer equipment, musical instrument maintenance and two-year scholarships for students who, like Alpert in the old days, will have their own label – Herb Alpert Scholars (Alpert was the “A” in A&;M records, which he owned with Jerry Moss before selling out to the PolyGram conglomerate about 25 years ago).
The money will be given over three years.
“My goal has always been to help level the playing field and create opportunities for talented young people,” Alpert said in the announcement by his Herb Alpert Foundation. He noted that his brother David studied music at Los Angeles City College.
A list of noted alumni on the LACC music department’s web page includes eminences from a wide variety of genres: orchestral conductor Leonard Slatkin; folk singer Odetta; film composer John Williams; experimental minimalist composer La Monte Young (an important influence on the Velvet Underground); rock ‘n’ roll songwriting greats Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; jazz heroes Charles Mingus, Chet Baker, Eric Dolphy and Diane Reeves; guitarist Howard Leese, a co-founder of the rock band Heart; rapper MC Hammer; blues musician Robert Bradley; and pop record producer Russ Titelman.
In other collegiate music department news, USC’s Thornton School of Music has announced that Michael Tree, for 45 years the violist of the now-defunct Guarneri String Quartet, will join its faculty next fall as a visiting artist who’ll teach viola students. While coming to USC periodically throughout the academic year, Tree will continue to teach elsewhere as well, including the Juilliard School in New York City and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
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