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JRelease: The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Announces Music and Justice

November 17, 2022 10:01 AM | Jessica Painter (Administrator)

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Announces Music and Justice

November 16, 2022



Aleba Gartner, (212) 206-1450

Lisa Garibay, (310) 825-4215

"When King said, 'We must live together as brothers,' people didn't hear it. Now they damn well hear it."
— Dave Brubeck

The recently launched



in partnership with UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)and the Milken Archive of Jewish Music announces a new series of concerts and dialogue: 

Music and Justice

At its heart is a rare performance of the landmark 1969 cantata

by Dave Brubeck

Based on Hebrew liturgy, African American spirituals, & Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches, the work is scored for jazz trio, brass ensemble, chorus, tenor, baritone.
(The tenor role is written in the Cantorial style of the Jewish temple;
the baritone in the Spiritual style of the African-American church)

A fighter for civil rights, Brubeck—who was neither Jewish nor Black—wrote 
Gates of Justice in an effort to unify Blacks & Jews after the assassination of MLK Jr.

UCLA's 3-day deep dive into The Gates of Justice places it in new context
through momentous performances and a day-long conference


In a historic first, Brubeck's sons Darius, Chris, and Dan perform the jazz trio in their father's work

A choir of Black and Jewish singers from Los Angeles-area churches and synagogues alongside UCLA students and the  award-winning chorus Tonality, led by Alexander Lloyd Blake

Azi Schwartz, famed cantor of New York's Park Avenue Synagogue, and acclaimed baritone Phillip Bullock are the soloists

Program also features works by 6 contemporary composers addressing social justice, including a commissioned world premiere by multi-Grammy winner Arturo O'Farrill, entitled Still Waiting... 

FEBRUARY 26:  Performance at UCLA Royce Hall (to be livestreamed as well)
FEBRUARY 27:  Day-long conference with musicians & prominent scholars
FEBRUARY 28:  Performance in a local Black church



West Coast premiere of Lera Auerbach's Symphony No. 6 (“Vessels of Light”)
honors Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara, who risked his life
to save 6,000 Jews in Lithuania during WWII.


Los Angeles, CA — The newly opened Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience at The UCLA Herb Alpert  School of Music announces the launch of MUSIC AND JUSTICE, a series of concerts and dialogue bringing artists and academics together to deep-dive into race and social justice issues in the modern world. 

The kick-off is a monumental three-day festival, February 26-28, centered around THE GATES OF JUSTICE, jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s rarely presented large-scale sacred composition. In the liner notes to the recording that came out in 1970 on Decca Records (now out of print), Brubeck wrote: "Concentrating on the historic and spiritual parallels of Jews and American blacks, I hoped through the juxtaposition and amalgamation of a variety of musical styles to construct a bridge upon which the universal theme of brotherhood could be communicated."

A historic performance of The Gates of Justice takes place Sunday, February 26 at 4:00 p.m. in Royce Hall on the UCLA campus, with Brubeck's sons as the accompanying jazz trio for the first time ever. The balance of the program features six socially conscious works by contemporary composers, including a world premiere by the great Arturo O'Farrill. A second performance of this entire program takes place at a local Black church in Los Angeles, Holman United Methodist Church, on Tuesday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m.. And on Monday, February 27, a daylong public conference features prominent scholars and experts exploring the historical and cultural connections of Black and Jewish communities in the United States, intimate analyses of Brubeck’s Gates of Justice, and the contemporary relevance of music to social justice. 

Brubeck composed Gates of Justice in the aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was commissioned by the umbrella organization of America's Reform Judaism movement specifically to address increasing tensions between the Jewish and African American communities. But to Dave and his wife Iola Brubeck (Iola composed lyrics for Gates and compiled a textual tapestry of biblical and Hebrew liturgical excerpts, quotes from Dr. King’s speeches and the Jewish sage, Hillel, and songs from African American spirituals), the work had a more universal message concerning "the brotherhood of man." Social justice was a key part of Brubeck's moral core. 

In the words of Mark  Kligman, director of the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience: “Through music, dialogue and the exchange of ideas, Music and Justice will demonstrate how the Milken Center engages with important issues and aligns with the aspirations of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music for scholarship and performance at the highest level. Brubeck’s Gates of Justice shows a creative and inspiring response to trauma. There is no better time than now to reintroduce the world to Brubeck’s composition as a means for racial reconciliation and national healing. Our performances will provide students and professionals a unique experience to musically express the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam [repairing the world].”

Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, describes Gates of Justice as "a work of magical musical beauty that by its sheer compelling artistry rivets the listener into the journey of being a better version of ourselves both as individuals and as a country. This work resonates with our time; its struggles and inspiration should not be missed."

In a historic first, the jazz trio performing Gates of Justice will be Brubeck’s sons Darius Brubeck (piano), Chris Brubeck (bass), and Dan Brubeck (drums). The three perform regularly as Brubecks Play Brubeck, but this marks the first time they come together to play Gates. Joining them will be UCLA students, professional musicians, and accomplished soloists under the direction of Neal Stulberg, director of orchestral studies and professor of conducting at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. 

Phillip K. Bullock is the baritone soloist in Gates. Equally at home in opera, gospel, and pop music, Bullock was heralded in Opera News for his “appealingly suave baritone” and "strong presence." A champion of new music, he most recently premiered two roles in the critically acclaimed new opera Castor & Patience by Gregory Spears and Tracy K. Smith. Bullock will be joined by Azi Schwartz, senior cantor of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. Schwartz is a world-renowned singer and recording artist whose music reaches both Jewish and interfaith audiences internationally.

A remarkable choir joins the soloists on stage. It combines singers from local African-American churches, synagogues, UCLA, and Tonality, the award-winning vocal ensemble noted for its adventurous, socially conscious programming and “open-hearted singing.” Under the direction of founder Dr. Alexander Lloyd Blake, Tonality is dedicated to representing the diverse cultures of Los Angeles. Both the LA Times and the NYT have taken note of Blake's work in anti-racism within classical music.

Juxtaposed with The Gates of Justice will be six works by contemporary composers addressing issues of social justice, including two fascinating world premieres: Still Waiting... by six-time Grammy winner and UCLA professor of music Arturo O’Farrill, based on the promises of civil rights; and Dear Freedom Riders by composer/singer/pianist/conductor Diane White-Clayton, written for 13 UCLA student singers who symbolize the 1st 1961 group of 13 Freedom Riders. Vocal works by Joel ThompsonJared JenkinsNick Strimpleand Gerald Cohen round out the program. 

A pre-concert lecture at 2:30 p.m. features a discussion with composer, teacher and musician Darius Brubeck, and Wall Street Journal music critic and culture reporter Larry Blumenfeld. Darius, the oldest son of Dave Brubeck (named after the French Jewish composer Darius Milhaud, Brubeck's teacher at Mills College), is an educator who initiated the first Jazz Studies Degree offered by an African university, and currently tours with the London-based Darius Brubeck Quartet, whose album Live in Poland was heralded by Downbeat Magazine as one of the best in 2020.

At the conference on February 27, the keynote address will be given by Dwight Andrews, professor of music theory and African American music at Emory University. Andrews is a composer, musician, educator, and minister whose professional credits include compositions for film and television and playing on over two dozen jazz and new music albums. He has held distinguished professorships at Yale, Harvard, and Emory University and is currently writing a book about Black music and race.

WATCH: Teaser for The Gates of Justice at UCLA

*   *   *

Launched in 2020, the Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience (UCLA MAJE) is the first permanent academic home for the study of the music of the American Jewish experience. UCLA MAJE was established by a generous gift of $6.75 million from the Lowell Milken Family Foundation. Housed in The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, UCLA MAJE fosters artistic creativity, scholarship, performance, and other cultural expressions. UCLA MAJE is a natural outgrowth of the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, established in 1990 to record, preserve, and disseminate music inspired by over 350 years of Jewish life in the U.S. The opening of the center coincided with the Brubeck centennial and the 50th anniversary of Gates of Justice.

Milken, a graduate of UCLA School of Law, is an international businessman and philanthropist who chairs National Reality, the largest property owner of early childhood centers in the US, and the London-based Heron International, a worldwide leader in property development. Milken is known for his philanthropy in education, music, and design. His previous giving established the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, along with the Lowell Milken Family Centennial Scholars Endowed Scholarship Fund for student-athletes.

“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 the American Jewish experience.”

For further information, press tickets, photos, and to arrange interviews,
please contact Aleba & Co. at 212/206-1450 or

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