Melissa Bilal Named New Promise Chair in Armenian Music, Arts, and Culture at UCLA

Melissa Bilal, a distinguished Turkish Armenian scholar and director of UCLA’s Armenian Music Program, has been named the inaugural chair of the UCLA Commitment Chair in Armenian Music, Arts, and Culture. Bilal is best known for his research on the history of Armenian music.

The endowed chair will support academic research in Armenian music, undergraduate and graduate programs, and academic conferences in Armenian music and performing arts.

“We appreciate the investment in our ongoing work to deepen our understanding of Armenian culture, which will further solidify UCLA’s position as a leader in Armenian studies,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “One of our core responsibilities as an academic institution is to foster global citizenship and cultural understanding, and expanding our faculty and scholarship in this area is one way we can deliver on that commitment.”

With more than 50 years of scholarly legacy on Armenia and its diaspora, UCLA has become one of the largest and most dynamic centers of Armenian studies outside of Armenia.The new Promise Chair is located at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, joining two other endowed chairs UCLA Chair specializing in Armenia and Armenians.

“UCLA has long been a leading place for Armenian studies and a great place to collaborate with other artists and scholars,” Bilal said. “The establishment of this chair will allow us to further expand our services to undergraduate and graduate students.”

Eileen Strempel, dean of the School of Music and UCLA, said the Promise Chair in Armenian Music, Arts and Culture will help the School of Music and UCLA advance the university’s mission of strengthening and Increase its global and local reach. Los Angeles has a larger diaspora community than nearly any other city in the United States, with the Armenian community being particularly active, and UCLA’s broader goals are driven by a responsibility to create a just and prosperous future for its immediate and extended global communities.

“Having resources to support the research being done by outstanding scholars like Melissa helps our school do its part to fulfill this promise,” said Strompel. “As performers, creators and educators, we are most alive at the intersection of practice and scholarship when we actively engage with the diverse musical traditions of our incredibly culturally rich city.”

Please visit the Herb Alpert Conservatory of Music website to read the full version.

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