Pete Townshend of The Who and Rachel Fuller give to UCLA for scholarships, concerts

A gift of $100,000 from legendary rock musician Pete Townshend and his wife, Rachel Fuller, will support cello students at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and provide funding for concerts presented by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance at Royce Hall.

CAP UCLA presented “Animal Requiem,” an original work by Fuller, at Royce Hall in October 2019. An animal lover, Fuller wrote “Animal Requiem” as a tribute to the animals she and others have loved and lost, and to raise awareness of issues such as animal cruelty and neglect. The CAP UCLA presentation featured performances by the Hollywood Studio Orchestra and local choir Tonality, narration by actor Jane Lynch, and a rendition of the Beatles song “Blackbird” by Townshend.

“When an iconic artist like Pete and a composer like Rachel decide to make a philanthropic gift to support the next generation of artists, it speaks volumes,” said Kristy Edmunds, CAP UCLA’s artistic and executive director. “CAP UCLA will be putting Pete and Rachel’s generosity into immediate action with Music for Change, a three-day music festival that will debut this fall and feature a variety of musicians including Kronos Quartet.”

In addition to supporting CAP UCLA, providing scholarships for students of the cello — Fuller’s favorite instrument for which to compose — felt like the perfect way for Townshend to honor his wife’s artistry and success.

“UCLA created a wonderful opportunity for Rachel to share this original work with American audiences and was incredibly accommodating and encouraging throughout,” Townshend said. “It’s a great privilege to support future cello players who may one day debut original works to new audiences on the Royce Hall stage, much as Rachel did.”

Eileen Strempel, dean of the music school, said the new gift will provide meaningful new opportunities for UCLA’s cello students and future guest performers.

“Pete and Rachel’s generous gift will play a tremendous role in supporting the musical voices of future professional cellists,” Strempel said. “Their contribution will allow our musicians to continue their studies of this beautiful instrument and facilitate unique opportunities that showcase the diverse talents of UCLA students and guest artists.”

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