Los Angeles: Cultural Programs
Programs and Activities
Through its cultural programs, the Los Angeles
campus attempted to provide an accessible and ever-expanding source
of aesthetic and intellectual experience for students and staff
as well as for the general public. During the academic year 1963-64,
an estimated 339,000 people attended concerts, lectures, art exhibits,
films, and theatrical presentations.
Dance received special emphasis in the concert schedule during seasons
in the mid-1960s as the result of increasing community interest
in contemporary dance and the efforts of the Department of Dance.
The Los Angeles campus art galleries were open to the public daily,
attracting an annual average audience of more than 30,000. The UCLA
Art Council sponsored one major exhibition each year and an annual
UCLA Art Council Lectureship, an occasion for public appearances
by many leading art authorities. Frequent Department of Art exhibitions
open to the public included rare prints and printmaking from the
Grunwald Graphic Arts Foundation collections, sculpture, costume
design, architecture, industrial and graphic design, ceramics, and
both graduate and undergraduate student exhibitions of merit.
Theater and Film
The Theatre Group at Los Angeles, founded in 1959, was a pioneering
experiment in campus-based professional theater. It was a joint
venture by University Extension and the theatrical professions,
presenting six professionally produced, directed, and acted productions
each year drawn from both classical and contemporary repertoires.
In 1962, the group received a Ford Foundation grant of $500,000.
The Department of Theater Arts, in addition to its intramural, experimental
production programs, presented an annual season of six plays that
include significant works as well as many plays never before produced.
Los Angeles annually presented four major
film series, concentrating on selected films of outstanding artistic
merit which had been overlooked by the public. In addition, special
series were devoted to the art of film making, tributes to great
directors and actors, travel documentaries, educational and art
films. Film programs often included short features written, directed,
and produced by students of the theater arts film division. During
the mid-1960s, Los Angeles students were consistent award winners
at the Venice, London, and Edinburgh film festivals.
In music, more than 60 concerts a year ranging from solo recitals
to major orchestral works were presented. In addition to world renowned
artists, such as those presented in the "Great Artists"
series, the Los Angeles campus supplemented the cultural calendar
with the most significant in unique and avant-garde programs. The
University's Committee on Fine Arts Productions, established in
1936 to maintain the high standards of performance at Los Angeles,
functioned on a nonprofit and self-supporting basis to present artists
and programs not financially feasible for most concert managers,
often supplying the only possible platform for many specialized
performers and their selective audiences. The Department of Music
offered a large number of events each semester, highlighted by the
annual fall presentation of the Opera Workshop under the direction
of Jan Popper.
The University Symphony Orchestra
The University Symphony Orchestra at Los Angeles was organized by
Mehli Mehta, who was appointed director in September of 1964. Within
two months the orchestra included 90 musicians and the first concert
was given at Royce Hall on November 18th of that year. By the mid
1960s the orchestra gave regular symphony concerts both at Royce
and Schoenberg Halls, performing a wide range of works. The orchestra
also performed for the Opera Workshop productions and the concerts
of the University choral groups.
The University Chorus
In the mid 1960s the University Chorus averaged about 150 members
each semester, only ten per cent of whom were music majors. Its
repertoire ranged from baroque through contemporary, with emphasis
on the latter. Under the direction of Donn Weiss, the chorus performed
such contemporary masterworks as Britten's Cantata Academica and
Saint Nicholas, Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, and Honegger's
King David, all with orchestra.
The UCLA Women's Choir
The UCLA Women's Choir, circa 1965, was composed of approximately
50 women and sang choral literature of all periods. Concerts were
given on campus and appearances were made in the community each
semester. There was no audition for the choir, but the level of
music and musicianship was high.
The UCLA Band
The UCLA Band originated with a 42 piece ROTC military band started
in 1928. The band remained a military group until 1934, when its
members, taking an interest in other campus activities, began to
appear at football games and other events. In 1935, under the direction
of Leroy Allen, the group became an integral part of campus life,
providing music at rallies and games. Under C. B. Hunt and Patton
McNaughton, the band grew to a full 128 piece organization in 1947.
In 1952 Clarence Sawhill became director and with the assistance
of Kelly James, he expanded the band program to include a 100 piece
Concert Band, an 80 piece Symphonic Wind Ensemble, a 144-piece Marching
Band, and a 60 piece Varsity Band.
The University Glee Club
The University Glee Club was organized in 1964. Under the direction
of Donn Weiss, the 50 member all-male group presented a varied repertoire
that included classical music, spirituals, and folksongs.