UCLA, which nowadays ranks among the world’s preeminent universities, was opened in 1919 on the basis of its predecessor the State Normal School and established its southern branch in Los Angeles. It included the newly established Department of Music and an art gallery sponsored by the Department of Art. In 1955 the Music Building (now called Schoenberg Hall) was erected, containing classrooms, practice rooms, a music library, faculty and administrative offices, and two new concert facilities. In 1960 Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy established the College of Fine Arts with degrees available in art, dance, music, theater arts and business.

The same year the Institute of Ethnomusicology was established to foster research and dissemination of information about the traditional, folk, and popular music of the world. In 1987–1989 The College of Fine Arts undergoes academic restructuring: separate departments were established for art and design, music and ethnomusicology and systematic musicology. In the last years UCLA’s Music Department has systematically received financial support from different American foundations and individual sponsors.