|   Featured Grantee, News

“Our Herbert Zipper Scholars thrive as they are supported with 100% free tuition which provides them weekly with a 60-minute lesson, theory class, and ensemble and in many cases ensembles! Due to the comprehensiveness of their scholarship they often stand out as some of the most dedicated and talented students. On our Honors Recital last spring, four out of the five finalists for piano were Herbert Zipper Scholars – it was really truly amazing.”

-Susan Cook, Dean, Community School of Performing Arts

For over 70 years, the Colburn School has provided the highest quality in-person performing arts education to passionate and dedicated young students of music and dance in Los Angeles. Notable alumni include accomplished performers David Fung, Eric Reed, Leila Josefowicz, Tamaki Kawakubo, and Anne Akiko Meyers.

Driven by the belief that all who desire to study the performing arts should have access to top-level instruction, the school offers robust scholarship support for students of all ages and skill levels. The Herbert Zipper Scholars Program offers highly motivated students from low-income families the opportunity to enroll, tuition-free, and receive a comprehensive music education in the Community School for Performing Arts.

During the pandemic issues arose: how does one teach dance, music, and performance at a professional level remotely and/or distanced, without sacrificing quality of education? The Colburn School soon learned that the challenge presented by the pandemic could be reframed as opportunity to discover new ways to enhance students’ skills. The school pivoted quickly to online classes, implementing high tech to reach its 2,000 students, including 40 Herbert Zipper Scholars, installing new technology in classrooms, distributing high quality audio software, and hosting small group and private lessons for its students.

The pivots were met with great success. The online classes allowed students who previously experienced shyness or anxiety towards performing to gain more confidence behind the screen. Online master classes gave students access to high profile artists that would not normally be available due to conflicting performance schedules and travel. Student retention remained high and, perhaps most surprisingly, the private lessons proved highly successful as students often progressed more rapidly due to one-on-one instruction. To build upon this success, the Colburn School has been working with Amy Kirkland (previously, Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lincoln Center) to further develop new innovative curriculum for students, created specifically for an online environment.

The Colburn School also launched Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives during the pandemic, which continue to expand. The school is creating new partnerships with local and national organizations established in the EDI space including the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the largest majority Black orchestra in America, and Sphinx, a Detroit-based national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Among other EDI initiatives, the school has also launched the Amplify Series, which celebrates the careers of artists of color through a number of on-campus, short-term residencies that include performances, master classes, and panel discussions.

Other exciting news from Colburn in recent months includes the hiring of ballet rockstars Silas Farley (previously with New York City Ballet) and Darleen Callaghan (former director of Miami City Ballet School and North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance), as the Dean and Associate Dean of Colburn’s Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

L.L. Foundation for Youth is proud to contribute to the Colburn School’s success, and looks forward to participating in its growth!

I am wholeheartedly grateful for the Herbert Zipper Scholarship because it gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in my craft from multiple angles of theory, dance, voice, and theater.”

-Liesel Arauz, voice