New Orleans, Louisiana (September 17, 2010) - 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 Tulane’s public radio program American Routes in creating the connection with Tulane. 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 has been the birthplace of jazz, blues, Dixieland and even funk, all of which make the region 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 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.
About Music Rising:
Music Rising, a campaign launched in 2005 to replace musical instruments lost or destroyed by hurricanes in the Gulf Region was co-founded by U2’s the Edge, producer Bob Ezrin and Gibson Guitar CEO and Chairman Henry Juszkiewicz. The campaign has since aided over 2,700 musicians and over 50,000 students and choir members in its initial three phases. In its fourth phase Music Rising plans on preserving the rich musical heritage of the Gulf Coast with a dedicated academic program which will be announced late 2010. Partners of Music Rising represent one of the most diverse partnerships in the entertainment industry and include MusiCares, Guitar Center Music Foundation, Musician’s Friend, Julien’s Auctions, Live Nation, Kennedy/Marshall,Ticketmaster, Hard Rock International, VH-1 Networks, MTV Networks, Real Networks, ABC News Now, The NFL, Rolling Stone Magazine, Mr. Holland’s Opus, ACT and the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Music Rising is the recipient of the prestigious 2005 Halo Award for Cause Marketing, 2006 Billboard Humanitarian Award, the 2008 PRISM Award and has been recognized around the world by various media organizations. Music Rising has launched Music Rising Nashville to aid the musicians who lost instruments in the May 2010 floods. Music Rising is administered by the Gibson Foundation.
About Gibson Foundation: Founded in 2002, the Gibson Foundation is committed to making the world a better place for children by creating, developing and supporting programs and other non-profit organizations in their efforts to advance education, music and the arts, the environment and health & welfare causes. For more information or to donate to the Gibson Foundation and support many of its causes go to www.gibsonfoundation.org.
About Tulane University: Founded in 1834, Tulane is one of the most highly regarded and selective independent research universities in the United States. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, it is part of a select group of 63 universities with pre-eminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research. Tulane’s schools and colleges offer undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in liberal arts, science and engineering, architecture, business, law, social work, medicine and public health and tropical medicine. For more information on Tulane go to http://tulane.edu