Eight-time Grammy winner and Los Angeles native Herb Alpert, who in November pledged $30 million to UCLA to establish the cross-disciplinary UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, has now given $15 million to the School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts. In recognition of the gift, to be announced today, the school will be renamed the Herb Alpert School of Music.
"Are these gifts accelerating as I'm getting older? Not really," Alpert, 73, said Monday.
"We've had a long-range plan," he said, referring to himself and his wife, singer Lani Hall Alpert, with whom he founded the philanthropic Alpert Foundation in 1988 after a career in which he rose to fame as a trumpeter with his band the Tijuana Brass in the 1960s and co-founded the A&M record label in 1962.
"When I first visited the CalArts campus in the early 1990s, it was a real exciting moment to see students being free and expressing themselves," he said.
"I felt that CalArts was a real creative place where people could push the edges and come up with things that are different from what we've heard in the past.
"It's a new paradigm out there now. It takes, I think, these young artists to figure out how best to get through the maze."
"This is an amazing development for the music school," CalArts President Steven D. Lavine said. "We've been on a kind of roll in recent years. But now to have this major endowment gift is like hitting the ball out of the park."
The $15-million gift will endow three faculty chairs and provide money for student scholarships and new and existing music programs, Lavine said.
The donation will also "launch the school of music to a new level of participation in the broader American community of progressive education," said David Rosenboom, dean of the school.
"It's a difficult time for young artists entering an uncertain world in the arts," he added. "We are a private college, and it takes money to go here. The scholarship part of this will be a huge boost to us."
During the last 16 years, the Alpert Foundation has given grants to CalArts to support the Dizzy Gillespie chair in music, the Dizzy Gillespie Recording Studio, music programs at the institute's REDCAT venue in Walt Disney Concert Hall, student scholarships and K-12 community education programs.
With this new gift, that combined support totals nearly $24 million, according to the foundation's president, Rona Sebastian.
"CalArts has become a model for how important the arts are in so many ways, across so many areas," Sebastian said.
Alpert and Jerry Moss, with whom he co-founded A&M Records, sold the company to PolyGram in 1989 for a reported $500 million. They were reported to have picked up an additional $363 million in stock and cash when they sold a music publishing company to Seagram in 2000.
To date, the Alpert Foundation has donated approximately $100 million to mid-career artists and college-bound students, as well as to a variety of programs across the country, according to Sebastian.
Absent from the foundation's largess so far, however, is USC, where Alpert said he "studied but didn't graduate."
"I had a very good experience there," he said. "We had some talks a while back -- I mean many, many years ago -- and it just didn't seem to work out the way it did at UCLA. That's why I choose UCLA and CalArts."