A Fall Welcome from the President

Sel Kardan sitting on plaza with students

For the first time in almost 18 months, our practice rooms, studios, and concert halls are filled with musicians and dancers.

Dear students, families, audiences, alumni, friends, and supporters of Colburn—welcome to the 2021–22 academic and performance season. This September, we celebrate the return of students and faculty to our campus. For the first time in almost 18 months, our practice rooms, studios, and concert halls are filled with musicians and dancers honing their craft under the guidance and mentorship of our remarkable faculty.

As we carefully resume activity on campus, I want to thank our entire community for their dedication, commitment, and support over the last year and a half. As many families and students have shared with me, Colburn’s robust remote learning program and virtual performance opportunities gave them a focus and sense of community throughout the pandemic. Despite the challenges, our students made remarkable progress and are returning to campus with newly acquired skills, ready to learn and perform.

The Colburn School is an institution with deep local roots and a global reach. Students from across Los Angeles and throughout Southern California participate in our Community School and Youth Dance programs. This year, our Dance Academy welcomes students from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, and Texas, while our Music Academy students come to Colburn from eleven countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, and Hungary. The young artists in our Conservatory of Music come from 20 countries, including Brazil, Italy, Japan, Venezuela, and Belarus.

This fall, we resume some of our most popular series and performances and introduce new programming that highlights our alumni and celebrates artists of color. The Colburn Orchestra will perform in the intimacy of Zipper Hall and in major venues around Southern California. A wide variety of recitals will feature the incredible artistry of our faculty, students, and guest performers.

This academic year we welcome dancer, educator, and choreographer Silas Farley as dean of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, showcasing his work throughout the season. In the spring Counterpointe performance, Dance Academy students will perform Jerome Robbin’s rarely performed masterpiece The Goldberg Variations, as the first and only student ensemble ever granted permission to perform the work. And in April, we come together for our annual school-wide Gala to celebrate Colburn and our community of artists and supporters.

In many ways, the pandemic has crystalized what is truly important for Colburn: learning and performing together, in-person; ensuring access to a great performing arts education; developing new audiences; and investing in and supporting the next generation of musicians and dancers. As we gather together to study, rehearse, and perform, the safety of our community continues to be our top priority, and we will be monitoring the latest recommendations and resources from the LA County Department of Public Health, the State of California, the CDC, and others. We appreciate your ongoing patience and participation as we take all necessary safety precautions.

Our year ahead is full of promise and we are thrilled to welcome you back. Thank you for being part of the Colburn community. I look forward to greeting you on our campus in the coming weeks.

Sel Kardan
President and CEO, The Colburn School