Henry J. Bruman, a UCLA professor emeritus of geography, believed that, in a single hour at lunchtime, musicians can transport listeners to a different place, calming them and allowing them to take a break in their busy days. In 1988, Bruman realized this vision by bringing high-caliber music to UCLA in the form of a festival of concerts, a tradition that continues today.
This summer, the annual Henry J. Bruman Summer Chamber Music Festival continues as ensembles participate in the four-day concert series. Professional ensemble Fiato Quartet performed last Tuesday, while iPalpiti Soloists, Ensemble in Promptū and California String Quartet will perform music from the classical and romantic eras later this month and in August at Korn Convocation Hall.
Although Bruman was the chairman of UCLA’s geography department, he had an interest in classical music, said Jeanette LaVere, assistant program manager for the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies. Bruman shared his love for classical music with the UCLA campus by donating his fortune to UCLA, establishing the funding for the first festival in 1988. Bruman died in 2005.
“We want to try to branch out and pick new up-and-coming groups we have not worked with and give groups opportunities,” LaVere said. “Our goal is to take what Professor Bruman began and expand the reach and offer more than four concerts a year.”
LaVere said the concerts will be held during lunch hours so that they are as accessible as possible to faculty and students alike. Spreading the concerts across four days allows for more opportunities for people to come back and enjoy the music, she added.
Many of the musicians who perform at the festival are professionals who come from around the world. Laura Schmieder, director of iPalpiti Artists International, which has participated in the festival for at least 15 years, said the group’s goal is to bring high-caliber international artistry that opens new doors for this year’s audience.
Rong-Huey Liu, the oboist of Ensemble in Promptū, said the ensemble has participated in the music festival for three years. Liu said Ensemble in Promptū believes that the performance of classical music is a form of education for audience members.
“It is important for UCLA students to see what we do, because we are from such different backgrounds,” Liu said. “Music majors can understand what their future can be.”
Liu said the Bruman Summer Chamber Music Festival is an important function for the campus because she believes it is necessary for people to be involved with classical music. She said she thinks the series provides high-quality musicianship in a live and close environment for students and faculty.
Katia Popov, a founder and the first violinist of the California String Quartet as well as a UCLA alumna, said her quartet will also perform in the series for the third year in a row. She said that in the past, the audience has been knowledgeable and welcoming, and the group likes to partake in the series because of the interest shown at concerts.
Popov said she believes that classical music is important to learn about because it is calming and and has a peaceful effect on people. She said classical music makes people start thinking as they listen and enables listeners to mentally create anything they want for themselves – it’s only for that one person, and it can change their psyche, she added.
“We need young people to get acquainted with classical music and be familiar with it,” Popov said. “I would like to see more students involved in the audience with more questions.”