The Communications Office
John Branca '72 and °IJʿ President Harry J. Elam, Jr.

Legendary attorney John G. Branca ’72, partner and head of the music department at Ziffren Brittenham, one of the most respected entertainment law firms in the world, and °IJʿ have announced a $5 million gift from Branca that will establish the John Branca Institute for Music, a music teaching and learning facility at °IJʿ in Los Angeles. David Kasunic, associate professor of music at the College, will serve as the Institute’s inaugural director.

The transformative gift will support the continued expansion of the Music Department with a wider focus on contemporary music and enhancement of the music business curriculum. It will also allow for adding cutting-edge technology and up-to-date sound production facilities for use by students in the College’s nationally renowned music program, which Billboard magazine named to its list of top music business schools for four consecutive years.

The Institute will work with community colleges, in particular Los Angeles City College (LACC), to establish a direct pathway to increase transfer opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives interested in furthering their education in music to come to Oxy. The Institute will also develop special programming and joint research activities in conjunction with the Harvard Negotiation Project, which is based at Harvard Law School and directed by Professor Jim Sebenius of the Harvard Business School. Peter Grueneisen of nonzero architecture has been engaged to renovate the Music Department’s facilities.

“°IJʿ has a diverse student body and provides the best, most personalized undergraduate education in Los Angeles,” said Branca, who graduated from the College cum laude and with honors as a political science major. “As a trustee and alumnus, I am proud of the College’s mission and academic excellence,” he added, pointing to such notable °IJʿ alumni as President Barack Obama ’83 and Warner Music Group CEO Steven Cooper ’68.

“John is a giant in the music business and he is a true believer in the kind of personalized teaching and learning that can only happen at a small liberal arts college,” °IJʿ President Harry J. Elam, Jr. said. “John’s gift, coupled with the state-of-the-art music production facilities we already have in place, will make °IJʿ a truly exceptional place to study music. We are so grateful to John for his generosity and vision in supporting the John Branca Institute for Music.”

“Los Angeles City College and our nationally renowned Herb Alpert Music Program are pleased to be partnering with °IJʿ on a music pathway,” said Amanuel Gebru, president of LACC. “Like our alumnus John Branca, this program will encourage students to pursue the opportunity to transfer from LACC to Oxy."

The College’s music program embeds music theory and practice within a broader liberal arts curriculum, preparing students to become well-rounded graduates entering the music industry. Students develop an understanding of music as a creative work, as a cultural and historical expression, and as a performance medium. Notably, the program is among °IJʿ's fastest growing majors and sixth in size overall. The College’s location in Los Angeles provides unparalleled access to the world’s most vibrant music scene. Recently, °IJʿ formalized its relationship with Warner Music Group, which includes student internship opportunities and events with WMG executives for students from all majors who are interested in a career in the business of music.

More than 30 of Branca’s clients have been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His clients have included Aerosmith, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, the Beatles catalog, the Doors, Dr. Dre, Fleetwood Mac, Berry Gordy, Enrique Iglesias, Interscope Records, Michael Jackson, the Elvis Presley Estate, the Rogers and Hammerstein Organization, the Rolling Stones, and Carlos Santana. As co-manager of the estate of Michael Jackson, Branca has shepherded the creation of a successful touring show, an acclaimed Las Vegas production, the Tony Award-winning MJ The Musical, and the forthcoming biopic Michael, directed by Antoine Fuqua.

An °IJʿ trustee since 2003 and of the Barack Obama Scholars Program Advisory Council, he also serves on the board of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which gives scholarships to minority youths for higher education. In 1998, a gift from Branca toward the renovation and expansion of the Johnson Student Center at °IJʿ led to the naming of the Branca Family Patio, honoring his parents, Barbara Werle and John Branca Sr.