On Friday (Feb. 14), the city of Malibu honored nine-time Grammy winner and CalArts benefactor Herb Alpert with a dedication ceremony of Alpert’s 17-foot tall bronze totem sculpture, titled Freedom. The event took place at the footsteps of the original Gateway to Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway at the corner of Rambla Vista where the sculpture is located.
Celebrating the city’s first permanent public art installation, the event featured ceremonial dances by the The Chumash Tribe, in partnership with the Southern California Indian Center, and performances by musicians from The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and at UCLA. Guests who attended the event included Sting, Daryl Hannah, Jerry Moss, Linda Thompson and David and Yolanda Foster.
CalArts’ New Millennium Brass performed selections from Dutch Renaissance composer Tylman Susato’s (1500-1561) dance suite Danserye (1551). The ensemble included:
- Trumpeters Sarah Reid (Music MFA 15), Jessica Waithe (Music BFA 14), Lucas Lipari-Mayer (Music BFA 17) and Aaron Kahn (Music BFA 14);
- Horn player Rachel O’Connor (Music MFA 15);
- Trombonists Kevin Taylor (Music MFA 14), Matt Barbier (Music MFA 10), Paul Rivera (Music MFA 12);
- Tubists Devon Taylor (Music BFA 14) and Matt Gilleran; and
- Hand drummers Jacques Pradel (Music MFA 15), James Waterman (Music MFA 15) and Clarice Castilho (Music MFA 15).
Though more recognized for his music, Alpert, who was honored this past year by President Obama with the National Medal of the Arts, has spent more than half his life as an abstract expressionist painter and sculptor. His works have been exhibited in both the U.S. and Europe. Alpert began working on the totems series in 2000, inspired by indigenous sculptural forms from the Pacific Northwest. The totems are dedicated to the Chumash Indians, whose sacred land is now occupied by Central and Southern Californians.
In January, Alpert’s 2013 album, Steppin’ Out, earned a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album