Colburn School

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Colburn School
July 2007, along Grand Avenue
PresidentSel Kardan
EnrollmentApproximately 110 college, approximately 1500 pre-college
Campus typeUrban

The Colburn School is a performing arts school with a focus on music and dance located in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art and across the street from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It is informally referred to as Colburn. It consists of four divisions: the Conservatory of Music, the Music Academy, Community School of Performing Arts, and Dance Academy.


The school was originally established in 1950 as a preparatory arm of the USC Thornton School of Music, and was located across the street from the Shrine Auditorium, in a warehouse that had been converted into extra USC practice rooms, rehearsal halls, and dance studios. It later broadened its mission and changed its name to the Community School of Performing Arts. In 1980, it finalized its split with USC and branched out on its own. In 1985, the school received a significant endowment from Richard D. Colburn, and it was renamed in his honor. [1] It moved from its original location near the USC campus to its current location in downtown Los Angeles in 1998. [2]


The Conservatory of Music was established in 2003 and currently offers a Bachelor of Music degree, a Master of Music degree, a Performance Diploma, an Artist's Diploma, and a Professional Studies Certificate to students. The Conservatory offers full scholarship, housing, and stipends to all of its students. The Dean of the Conservatory is Lee Cioppa.

The Music Academy was established in 2010 and offers a comprehensive curriculum of courses, which include music theory, ear training, voice and a vigorous chamber music program for gifted young musicians. The Dean of the Academy is Adrian Daly. [3]

The Community School of Performing Arts has open enrollment and serves children in the community through age 18. The Dean of the Community School is Susan Cook.

The goal of the Colburn School's benefactor, Richard D. Colburn, was to give young people access to "the highest quality of instruction irrespective of social class or financial stability." [4]

The Community School of Performing Arts offers classes for several divisions: Ensembles, Jazz, Music Theory, Piano, Strings, Voice and Choir, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion, Drama, Early Childhood, and Camps. [5]

The Community School is home to seven choirs including: Junior Chorus, Young People's Chorus I, Young People's Chorus II, Colburn Concert Choir, Young Men's Chorus, Colburn Community Choir, and the Colburn Chamber Singers. There is an interview and audition process to participate in each program. [6]

The Colburn Concert Choir is one of the most renowned groups to come from the Community School. The group includes members from ages 8–18. They have travelled to China, South America, and Europe. They have participated in the L.A County's Holiday Celebration numerous times. [7] The group has several performances throughout the year at the school and other local venues. Weekly rehearsals and pre-concert meetings last from one to three hours. Each semester, the choirs hold a concert to showcase their repertoire in Zipper Hall. [8]

In 2014, Colburn launched a Dance Academy for pre-professional ballet dancers ages 14–19 under the direction of former New York City Ballet principal dancers Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette, with artistic advisor Benjamin Millepied. [9]


In an unidentified year, 500 applicants applied to the Colburn School's Conservatory of Music and 26 were accepted for a 5% acceptance rate. [10] Approximately 110 students attend the Conservatory of Music, and more than 1,500 students are enrolled in classes at the Community School of Performing Arts. [11]

Facilities and architecture

The school's main building was designed by the architectural firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates and includes the Lloyd Wright designed studio of Jascha Heifetz, which was originally situated in Heifetz's backyard, and was saved from demolition and rebuilt on the second floor of the school's Grand Avenue building. [12]

Also located in the building is Zipper Hall, a concert venue that hosts professional as well as student performances throughout the year. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have both performed chamber music concerts in the facility. [13]

The Conservatory expansion was designed by Pfeiffer Partners Architects (after Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates became three separate firms in 2004).

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. ^ Luther, Claudia (2004-06-04). "Richard D. Colburn, 92; Major Benefactor of the Musical Arts in L.A." Los Angeles Times. ISSN  0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
  2. ^ Robbins, Katie (August 2010). "Colburn School's Heifetz Studio Links Past to Future". Strings Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  3. ^ Pasadena Now Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, January 11, 2016
  4. ^ School, Colburn (2019-10-20). "Central to Richard D. Colburn's mission was the notion that young people should have access to the highest quality instruction irrespective of social class or financial ability". @ColburnSchool. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  5. ^ "Classes Offered". Colburn. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  6. ^ "Voice and Choir". Colburn. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  7. ^ "The week ahead in SoCal classical music, Dec. 23-30: L.A. County Holiday Celebration and more". Los Angeles Times. 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  8. ^ "Voice and Choir". Colburn. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  9. ^ David Ng, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2014
  10. ^ "The Colburn School Conservatory of Music". Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  11. ^ "Colburn parents decry loss of piano program". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  12. ^ Robbins, Katie (August 2010). "Colburn School's Heifetz Studio Links Past to Future". Strings Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  13. ^ Swed, Mark (2020-09-07). "Commentary: Frank Gehry unveils designs for two L.A. concert halls. But will they get built?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-09-08.

External links

Latitude and Longitude:

34°3′15″N 118°14′59″W / 34.05417°N 118.24972°W / 34.05417; -118.24972