The editor picking up the Maestro’s brainwaves. The editor picking up the Maestro’s brainwaves.

From the Editor

In May of 2020, David Rosenboom steps down as dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music and Richard Seaver Distinguished Chair in Music, marking the end of an era in CalArts history. Rosenboom came to CalArts in 1990 and through his tenure the School of Music has conferred degrees on many generation-defining musical talents populating a wide range of genres. The Pool bids David a fond farewell as dean (he will remain on faculty) with two stories. The first by Julian Cowley, focuses on Rosenboom’s whirlwind international career as a sought-after composer-performer; the second, by Mark Swed, looks at David’s educational strategies and practices as he built the CalArts program. On a personal note, I’ll miss David’s collegiality, his openness, unflappable demeanor, and timely responsiveness, as well as his understanding that it was just part of his job to help others succeed at theirs. 

One of the extraordinary musicians educated at CalArts on Rosenboom’s watch is the subject of our cover story, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid (Music MFA 11). 

“Ellen covered a huge amount of ground studying composition with me,” says Rosenboom. “She just exploded, acquiring expertise in writing for ensembles, with technologies for developing imaginative soundscape installations that were presented internationally, and in producing an ambitious outdoor opera. Ellen’s gregarious personality radiated, helping her to successfully recruit many student and faculty collaborators for a wide range of works. Her aptitude for collaborating continued to shine after she graduated, especially as one of the composers in the opera for 24 cars, Hopscotch, in 2015 and in her recent opera, prism. Her inclusiveness and respect of others resulted in, and will continue to result in great things.” 

In something of a departure from our usual editorial smorgasbord, School of Critical Studies alumnx and Office of Extended Studies staffer Jen Hutton profiles five fellow alums, all finding success running innovative food and beverage businesses. And rounding out our features, The Oracle of Los Angeles, alumnx Amanda Yates Garcia, a self-described witch who has attracted national attention, engages in a spirited conversation with President Ravi Rajan. 

Our visual essay in this issue showcases powerful photographic imagery created by Joel Orozco. Joel mounted a phenomenal BFA exhibition on campus just five years ago that led to a 10-page feature in Black & White magazine. His talent and humility, unusual in an artist so young, are both contributing to his well-deserved success and recognition. 

As the Holiday season approaches, I wish all of you the best, and hope that you will keep sending The Pool updates of your current whereabouts and creative endeavors. Please check us out online at for video clips and other expanded content.