University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Music Department Expands Offerings

UCR Department Expands Offerings in World Music and Technology

New studios will focus on Mexican music and dance, sound research and digital music.

(August 9, 2007)

Innovative studios that focus on Mexican music and dance, sound research and digital music will debut in the Music Department this year.

At the same time the department will enroll its first Ph.D. students, hire a world-class piper to direct the Scottish Highland pipe band, and launch a concert series on the third-floor patio of the Humanities building.

“All of these activities are part of a concerted effort to raise the profile of the UCR Music Department and enhance its reputation as an attractive destination for those wishing to do foundational or advanced study in music performance and scholarship,” said Walter Clark, department chair.

The department's programs encompass musical traditions and methodologies from European classical to world music, from historical musicology to ethnomusicology, Clark said.

New this year are:

- The Studio for Mexican Music and Dance, which is affiliated with the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music. Juan Avalos Rios, a dance lecturer now with the Music Department, will direct. He is joined by nationally renowned mariachi virtuosa Laura Sobrino, founder and director of UCR’s Mariachi Mexicatl. The studio, which will be located in the Barn Theater, is the only one of its kind in the UC system and one of only a few in the United States. It will promote the rich tradition of Mexican music and dance and honor Chicano culture in the Inland Empire, Clark said.

- The Experimental Acoustic Research Studio (EARS), directed by composition professor Paulo Chagas, and the Music and Media Research Studios, directed by composition professor Timothy Labor. EARS will be located in leased space near campus. The music and media studio will be housed in the Arts building. Both facilities will form an integral part of the department’s emphasis on music technology and enhance research and teaching in composition, Clark said.

- A Ph.D. program, which has enrolled several students already. The program offers intensive training in three areas: historical musicology, with an emphasis on Iberian and Latin American music; ethnomusicology, with an emphasis on cultural studies as well as area expertise in Southeast Asia, Asian America and Latin America; and composition, allowing for advanced work in a wide variety styles, with special emphasis on music technology.

Clark said the department is searching for a director of the UCR Pipe Band who also would teach piping. The band has been incorporated into the music curriculum, enabling students to get credit for performing and taking lessons on pipes or drums. UCR is one of a handful of universities in the world where a student can earn a degree in music playing Scottish pipes or drums, Clark said.

“We hope that within a short time the band will become one of the leading ensembles in the world and attract students from the U.S. and abroad,” he said.

The department also is working to endow the position of tabla instructor now held by Abhiman Kaushal, known globally as a master of the North Indian tabla who toured for four years with sitarist Ravi Shankar. Clark said he also hopes to create an additional position for an instructor to teach a melody instrument, probably sitar.

Also planned is a yearlong series of performances by Music Department ensembles on the third-floor patio of the Humanities building.

The annual Encuentros/Encounters conference, sponsored by the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music, is scheduled for the week of April 21, 2008. This event will focus on the musical heritage of the colonial Philippines and feature several prominent scholars from the Philippines and a performance by the internationally known Loboc Children’s Choir.

Encuentros/Encounters will be repeated at Dartmouth College, where a conference organizer, William Summers, is an authority on music of the colonial Philippines. Music of that era is closely tied to Spanish traditions, a reflection of 300 years of Spanish rule.

Clark said these initiatives “build on a solid foundation of excellence established over many years and on display in the numerous concerts and lectures given every year by UCR faculty and students.”
The UCR Pipe Band won first prize in the Grade 4 Pipe Band Competition in the quick march and timed medleys at the Highland Games in Flagstaff, Ariz., on July 21-22.

The UCR Pipe Band won first prize in the Grade 4 Pipe Band Competition in the quick march and timed medleys at the Highland Games in Flagstaff, Ariz., on July 21-22.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links