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Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation Announce Partnership With Tulane University to Develop Curriculum on Gulf Coast Musical Heritage

September 15, 2010

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-865-5210

mstreck@tulane.edu

Music Rising, an award winning initiative co-founded in 2005 by U2’s the Edge, legendary producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz announced a $1 million program in partnership with Tulane University to develop a college curriculum that will provide a permanent, comprehensive and definitive study of the musical heritage of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. The Music Rising program is administered by the Gibson Foundation.

Music Rising has worked closely with Nick Spitzer, professor of anthropology and American studies and creator of American Routes®, the radio program co-produced at Tulane, in building the connection with the university. The curriculum for the program on music and culture of the Gulf Coast will be implemented at Tulane and available to other universities through web and print materials. In addition to drawing from field, studio and live interviews, programs and performances of the American Routes Collection, the curriculum will draw upon the resources of the William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz as well as the Maxwell Music Library, the Louisiana Collection, the Southern Institute and the New Orleans Gulf South Center, all housed at Tulane.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the unique musical heritage that is New Orleans,” said U2’s the Edge.  “So much has come from that part of America.  From the birth of jazz, the roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll and R&B, to the traditional celebrations in the streets, New Orleans has provided all of us with great musical traditions. This new curriculum, which I am personally very proud of, will help preserve this history and educate for many years to come.”

"Our goal has always been to preserve the musical culture of New Orleans and the Central Gulf.  We started by replacing instruments that were lost in the hurricanes of 2005," said Bob Ezrin "And now we are thrilled to be working with the wonderful folks at Tulane University to develop a course of study that will allow people from the region and all over the world to study and understand that culture and the music that creates it.”

The Music Rising curriculum at Tulane will preserve the great musical heritage of the Gulf Coast region and eventually be adapted to educational levels ranging from elementary through high school. Preserving the music of the region has always been the driving force behind the many initiatives Music Rising has supported since its inception in 2005 after the devastating hurricanes of Katrina and Rita.  It is critical to the organization that the various styles of music which have borrowed from earlier traditions be understood and taught to future generations. New Orleans’ and the central Gulf region is the birthplace for traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, swamp pop, Cajun and zydeco music and even funk, all of which make the area arguably one of the most important spawning grounds for global musical culture. Building the Music Rising curriculum will also serve as a catalyst to develop a comprehensive system of archives that will preserve a vast amount of Gulf Coast based cultural history. 

"Tulane University is the perfect partner for this venture.  From their Music and Humanities departments which are world renowned to Nick Spitzer's American Routes radio program and the amazing archives that they have built over the decades,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar.  "Now, all of these departments and disciplines will be engaged in a historical collaboration in creating this amazing course of study. We are very proud that Gibson Foundation could play such an integral role.”

Tulane Provost Michael Bernstein foresees that new public service opportunities for Tulane students could arise from the Music Rising curriculum. Tulane requires that all undergraduate students complete a specified number of service-learning hours, which are connected to their coursework. 

“This is the kind of collaboration that lies at the heart of the service-learning commitment at Tulane – an enduring promise to our city, our state, and our region that the talents and imagination of our very best artists, scholars, and students will serve the interests and needs of the community,” Bernstein said. “Tulane is profoundly grateful to Bob Ezrin, Music Rising and the Gibson Foundation for their exceedingly generous support of a significant endeavor on behalf of the arts and culture of the Gulf Coast region.”

Through the project Music Rising hopes to create a new generation of students, scholars, musicians and community members who can perform, document, produce, preserve and advocate for the music and cultures of the Gulf Coast and create an opportunity to generate awareness of the significant importance of the musical heritage and traditions that originated from this region of the United States.

Citation information:

Page accessed: Thursday, October 30, 2014
Page URL: http://tulane.edu/news/releases/091510_gibson.cfm

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu