Concerts under the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will be free for all patrons starting this year.
The school, which had been working to make the change for several years, was able to implement the new policy in part because of an $11.7 million donation from an alumnus’ trust fund last year, said Neal Stulberg, the director of orchestral studies. Previously, UCLA students could purchase discounted tickets.
“There’s a desire to get as many people into these concerts as we can,” Stulberg said. “For many of the students at UCLA, these concerts may be the first experience they have with this kind of music.”
More than 20 different events are planned for this quarter, including master classes, music recitals and band concerts.
Ten performances will be what the school calls “donation friendly,” with options for on-site donations at the door. The first, titled “UCLA Phil meets LA Phil,” will feature Los Angeles Philharmonic principal clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and principal bassoon Whitney Crockett at Schoenberg Hall on Thursday.
Ariane Bicho, director of communications for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, said attendees can choose to make a donation online or at the performance venue for these events.
Stulberg said the school will re-evaluate the policy change at the end of the year to determine if it will continue to allow free admission to concerts.
Melody Jan, a fourth-year music performance student, plays the pipe organ and said ticket prices were around $15 for the concerts she played in, so she sometimes felt guilty asking her friends to go to her orchestral performances. However, with free admission, she feels more comfortable asking them to attend the performances, she said.
Marsha Haezer also said her friends sometimes miss her performances due to the ticket prices. The third-year music performance student said none of her friends have ever come to her choir concerts.
“Students are more hesitant on going because they’re just busier and they always have the excuse that they’re broke,” she said.
With free admission, however, Haezer said she thinks more students will come to the school’s performance events.
“There’s no excuse this time,” she said. “People should be more aware of the arts here because we’re a really strong department.”