UCLA Spotlight


Bruno Louchouarn, Music

  • By Jacqueline Tasch, Patricia Jordan
  • Published Jul 1, 2001 8:00 AM

"Even the best-planned composition takes unexpected turns," says Bruno Louchouarn, graduate student in music. He is talking about how he writes music, but the same could be said for his career.

Louchouarn already had degrees in mathematics, computer science and artificial intelligence when an earthquake in Mexico City changed his career. A French citizen, he volunteered as an interpreter and found himself standing between a Mexican doctor and a French engineer, passing to safety babies who'd been trapped in the rubble of a maternity ward for a week. "Those were very strong experiences," Louchouarn says. He recognized that he "was not completely happy with what I was doing, and I was still young enough to change routes." Louchouarn returned to music, the avocation of his high school days.

His career took another turn one day when he was working as a technician on the set of the film Total Recall. The director asked for some music to play, music that would set the mood for the actors but would later be replaced. Louchouarn offered a cassette of his own songs, and his music fit the scene so well, the filmmakers eventually purchased the rights to use it.

After studies at Santa Monica College and UCLA, Louchouarn was accepted into UCLA's graduate program in composition, which combines performance and theory. For his dissertation, he will submit his musical compositions and write a monograph on a related subject. Louchouarn expects the subject will be focused on aspects of time and narrative in music, and their relation to rhythm, melody, harmony, form and meaning.

Still writing for films and commercials, Louchouarn also composes concert music for percussionists, chamber ensembles, wind ensembles and symphony orchestras. He likes to work with performers in creating a final piece. "I enjoy more the rehearsal process than the concert," says Louchouarn. "The rehearsal process is pure joy." One of those joys is feedback. "Part of the learning experience is humility, you know," he says. "People who are masters of their instruments can teach a thing or two. You see what works and what doesn't, and it becomes part of your language."

Professor Ian Krouse sees a range of talents in his prot„g„, from compositions that are "mature, original and very strong" to a "wide-ranging knowledge and articulate mode of expression" that are the envy of his peers. Lately, Louchouarn has been teaching at UCLA and at Santa Monica College. "Based upon my firsthand observation of his classroom demeanor, I am sure that he will make an effective teacher," Krouse says.

Louchouarn hopes to combine teaching and music composition in a lifetime career. "During my graduate school tenure, I've been having the time of my life," Louchouarn says, and he's not expecting that to change. "This is the right place to be optimistic, Los Angeles and the United States."

Since graduating from UCLA, Louchouarn continues to compose and has joined the faculty at Occidental College. - (Updated 1/07)