Music x Ideas x Space = Compose LA

The Future of Music in Los Angeles

A Symposium for the Music Scene of Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
12 noon – 6 pm
The Bootleg Theater - 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90057


2019 marks the rise of Los Angeles as an unprecedented leader in music composition and performance. While streaming music has expanded to 75% of recorded revenue, live music communities are where we explore, live, enjoy, and create.

This symposium pushed the questions of how we can support live and robust music community(s) in Los Angeles that benefits all parties. Other cities are struggling with economics and the health of live music, while some cities are creating massive, city-wide musical support systems to stave off displacement and drive the economy. How can Los Angeles’ music scene(s) be supported and work together to continue to create something robust, diverse, and dynamic in this changing era?

The Future of Music in Los Angeles Symposium was planned in conjunction with the inaugural presentation of COMPOSE LA 2019 occurring throughout the month of February 2019. With the theme What is Human, What is Race? as inspiration, the first edition of this festival will surface and address a unique myriad of topical issues as they relate to the future of the City of LA and its thriving music scene.

Symposium Schedule (Link to Full Recording)

12 noon – 1:00 pm

Welcome: Danielle Brazell, General Manager, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles

Special Presentation: The Future City

Conni Pallini-Tipton, Senior City Planner Citywide Planning and Policy Division, Department of City Planning (link to recording) (link to PDF of slides)

The City of Los Angeles will experience massive changes over the next 20 years. Come hear from City of LA Senior Planning Official, Conni Pallini-Tipton on how the city of LA will be tackling the most difficult issues in the years ahead and its impact on the music and cultural landscape of LA. Using the latest in trends in forecasting and data analysis, you will see how the city is dealing with issues of environment, space, permits, density, aging, housing, growth, noise, diversity, and employment. This fascinating presentation will offer insights on how the City of LA is planning for our musical future.

1:00 pm

Symposium Overview: Dr. Gigi Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Music Innovation, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

1:15 pm

Provocations: The DNA of New Music in LA

In the spirit of a multi-faceted and diverse Los Angeles, the opening “provocations” will offer six brief interpretations of the varied influences and histories that make up today’s music scene.


  • Josh Kun, Director, Annenberg School for Communication Professor and Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication;
  • Gloria Cheng, Award-winning pianist and recording artist; Adjunct Professor of Performance, Herb Alpert School, UCLA;
  • Dexter Story, Musician, composer, music director, producer and Artivist in Residence / Event Producer at Community Coalition of South Los Angeles;
  • Judy Mitoma, President, Foundation for World Arts and Emerita Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, UCLA;
  • Kristen Martinez (Yaqui / Yoeme / Chicanx) M.A. student, UCLA American Indian Studies
  • MJ Brown aka Miss Barbie Q, Drag Performer /Speaker/Storyteller/ Event & Radio Host/Producer/Programmer/Actor/Writer

2:00 - 2:55 pm

Panel 1: COMPOSE LA ROUNDTABLE: A Candid Conversation about Composing and Music Making in Los Angeles (link to recording)

Making and composing music in Los Angeles is filled with many unique challenges and opportunities, but ultimately LA has emerged as one of the most exciting music cities in the world. Several composers featured in Compose LA 2019 will offer their candid experiences and observations about what it means to be an “LA composer” working in the music scene today.

Moderator: Leigh Ann Hahn, Grand Performance

Featured composers:

  • Andrew Norman
  • Astronautica
  • Bapari
  • Derrick Spiva Jr
  • Howard Ho
  • James H. Leary
  • Juan Pablo Contreras
  • Linafornia
  • Maral Mahmoudi
  • Reena Esmail

3:00 - 3:55 pm

Panel 2: LA Night Time Economies — New Models in Music Programming and Festivals (link to recording)

The models for festival production, venue programming, and music distribution have radically changed over the last 10 years. Los Angeles, in many ways, is leading the way in reinventing the models that make music happen and thrive across our city. This panel will explore the latest trends, technologies, and influences on how music is being programmed and how artists are being supported.

Moderator: Fabian Alsultany, RChain Cooperative


  • Eui-Sung Yi, Director, UCLA IDEAS Architecture Lab/The NOW Institute
  • Kristin McElwain, Red Bull Music Academy
  • Devin Landau, Paradigm Talent Agency
  • Ed Patuto, The Broad
  • Erika Nuno, Champion City
  • David Peterson, This Is Who We Are Now
  • Marie Kellier, Los Angeles Carnival

4:00 – 4:55 pm

Panel 3: LA is NOW: Music Cities and Music Venues (link to recording)

Los Angeles is now at the forefront of the musical world. The city is filled with music venues, concert halls, festivals, underground spaces, backyard parties, and incubators, and all of them contribute vibrancy to our quality of life. This panel will examine what the City of LA needs to put into place to sustain and grow our music community and will investigate what other international cities are doing to ensure that music will continue to be an important part of the creative economy.

Moderator: Gigi Johnson, UCLA Center for Music Innovation


  • Ross Gardiner, Black Circle Media
  • Vickie Nauman, Cross Border Works
  • Michael Rogers, Eventbrite Music/Ticketfly
  • Liz Garo, Spaceland Presents/EchoPlex/Stories Books and Cafe
  • Elizabeth Peterson-Gower, Founder/CEO, Elizabeth Peterson Inc.
  • Alejandro Cohen, dublab

5pm - 5:55 pm

Panel 4: Space Control: Conversation with LA’s Incubator Spaces about Surviving in LA (link to recording)

Los Angeles is a land of DIY new music spaces and creative activation, but at the same time, many venues are being lost to gentrification, lack of affordable live/work space, and rampant displacement. This panel will focus on the critical issues facing some of LA’s leading artist-run music spaces and will offer creative strategies for survival and perseverance.

Moderator: Alison De La Cruz, Japanese American Community & Cultural Center


  • Dwight Trible, The World Stage
  • Julia Meltzer, Clockshop
  • Andrew Young, the wulf.
  • Alicia Adams, Bootleg Theater
  • Betty Avila, Self Help Graphics & Art
  • Addy Gonzales Renteria, 11:11 Creative Collective
  • Rob Simonsen, The Echo SocietyMasato "Maz" Baba, TAIKOPROJECT


The Future of Music in Los Angeles Symposium was planned in conjunction with Bootleg Theater, The Broad, and the Center for Music Innovation – UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Compose LA was a city-wide new music, new ideas festival planned in conjunction with Department of Cultural Affairs – City of Los Angeles (DCA), American Composers Forum of Los Angeles, University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the Center for Music Innovation – UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. 

The Department of Cultural Affairs recognizes Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands) and is grateful to have the opportunity to work for the taraaxatom (indigenous peoples) in this place. As a City municipality, we pay our respects to Honuukvetam (Ancestors), Ahiihirom (Elders), and eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.