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Music Studies Benefit from $1 Million Project

September 17, 2010 10:45 AM
New Wave staff

Music Rising announced a $1 million program in partnership with Tulane University to develop a college curriculum for the permanent, comprehensive and definitive study of the musical heritage of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. The organization is working closely with Tulane professor Nick Spitzer to develop the innovative program.


Archive materials from the “American Routes” public radio program, which is produced and hosted by Tulane professor Nick Spitzer, will be a key part of new music curriculum being developed in partnership with Music Rising. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Music Rising was founded in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita by U2 guitarist the Edge, legendary producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar Chair and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. Materials from the public radio program “American Routes,” which is co-produced at Tulane by Spitzer, will figure strongly in the new curriculum.

“This is a great opportunity to harness the many cultural resources we already have on faculty/staff and in our curriculum, and advance them further for benefit of the musical culture of New Orleans and the region as well as our students,” said Spitzer, professor of anthropology and American studies.

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. Plans are for it to be adapted to educational levels ranging from elementary through high school.

In addition to drawing from field, studio and live interviews, programs and performances of the “American Routes Collection,” the curriculum will use 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. “This new curriculum, which I am personally very proud of, will help preserve this history and educate for many years to come.”

Preserving the music of the region has been the driving force behind the many initiatives Music Rising has supported since its inception in 2005.

“Tulane University is the perfect partner for this venture,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar.

Tulane Provost Michael Bernstein foresees that new public service opportunities for Tulane students could arise from the Music Rising curriculum.