Grammy Foundation Awards Nearly $400,000 for Research and Preservation

The Grammy Foundation has awarded 13 organizations a total of nearly $400,000 in grants to help facilitate a range of research, archiving, and preservation projects. Organizations and individuals are annually offered support to protect the music and recorded sound heritage of the Americas, as well as to complete research projects related to “the impact of music on the human condition.” The foundation has awarded more than $2 million to approximately 200 projects in its 18-year history.

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A Portrait of an Award Winner

Lists of exemplary projects in the company of such large round figures may demonstrate the breadth of impact that the Grammy Foundation’s grants have on the music field. Each organization on the receiving end of the check, however, has its own particular story that shows the depth: Here’s just one.

A $40,000 Grammy Foundation grant presented to the San Francisco-based new music organization Other Minds will support the digitization of some 4,000 tapes from the KPFA Music Department archive. This is the second award OM has received from the foundation arm of the Recording Academy.

Hundreds of hours of the material to be preserved will be distributed free of charge at RadiOM.org. In preparation, the site itself is also getting a face lift. In addition to cosmetic improvements, the site will get a backend overhaul that will improve the user’s experience as the amount of housed data continues to grow. Improvements in search capabilities, as well as the addition of supplementary digital assets from OM’s holdings—scores, photographs, and program notes—will hopefully make the site more useful to both academic researchers and music fans. The new features are expected to launch by May 31.

Some of the KPFA recordings will not be available on RadiOM.org due to permission restrictions from the musicians union and various individuals or their estates, but OM hopes to make these recordings available at selected libraries in Northern California. OM is also considering extending its work in the future to preserve analog recordings in other selected private collections.

Faced with the task of matching a recent $180,000 grant from the Department of the Interior’s “Save America’s Treasures” program, this is particularly auspicious time for the project to receive support from the Grammy Foundation. Charles Amirkhanian, artistic and executive director of Other Minds, points out that “matches can be cash or in-kind. We’re relying on volunteer labor to meet some of that requirement, so we’re actively searching for knowledgeable new music people who can edit digital audio files and describe the radio programs contained on them for cataloguing purposes.”

Interested in helping? Email OM Executive Assistant Adrienne Cardwell at adrienne@otherminds.org to receive a description of work to be done on the multi-year project.

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This year’s grants were awarded to:

  • Amir Lahav—Brighton, Massachusetts
    To investigate the clinical effectiveness of the “Virtual Music Maker,” a unique therapeutic device that was recently developed in the Music, Mind and Motion Lab at Boston University, and provide insight into the use of music production as a treatment modality for neurorehabilitation in stroke patients. ($40,000)

  • Center for Andean Ethnomusicology—Lima, Peru
    To restore and make accessible three collections of Peruvian field recordings from the late 1950s housed at the Center for Andean Ethnomusicology. ($32,400)

  • Trustees of Columbia University—New York, New York
    To preserve recordings of American classical music dating from 1942-1951 by such luminaries as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives, and by then emerging composers such as Samuel Barber and William Schuman. ($40,000)

  • Florida International University for the Green Library—Miami, Florida
    To preserve and archive oral interviews with musicians and composers of Cuban and Latin American music. ($20,000)

  • The Kitchen—New York, New York
    To preserve and modernize The Kitchen’s extensive archival collection of historic audio and videotapes dating from 1972. ($30,000)

  • International Jazz Collections, University of Idaho—Moscow, Idaho
    To preserve and digitize the unique and historically significant tapes and test pressings of Leonard Feather, the renowned jazz critic, composer, pianist, journalist, and producer. ($36,682)

  • Methodist Hospital Foundation—Houston, Texas
    To use the effects of music to facilitate movement in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and develop a set of rhythmic auditory stimuli with systematically varying properties to test their ability to facilitate movement in patients. ($25,000)

  • Northshore Concert Band—Evanston, Illinois
    To transfer imperiled recordings spanning almost 30 years of performances by the Northshore Concert Band, one of the nation’s largest and most respected symphonic bands, to digital media and make the collection accessible through Northwestern University’s Music Library. ($14,800)

  • Other Minds—San Francisco, California
    To preserve the genesis of new music in America for the national cultural record, and digitally convert an aging archive of interviews, live in-studio performances, visual media and concerts. ($40,000)

  • Raices, a program of Boys & Girls Harbor, Inc.—New York, New York
    To preserve, archive and digitally transfer imperiled discs and tapes of the Raices Collection, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collection of materials relating to the evolution and impact of Latin music. ($40,000)

  • Smithsonian Folkways Recordings/Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage—Washington, D.C.
    To preserve and archive the music and paperwork of the Joe Glazer Collection, which contains some of the most important songs and speeches of the American labor movement. ($12,500)

  • UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, UC Regents—Los Angeles, California
    To preserve and dramatically increase access to a selection of valuable American folk music tapes in the D.K. Wilgus Collection. ($40,000)

  • Yale University for Oral History, American Music (OHAM)—New Haven, Connecticut
    To preserve the OHAM collection, which contains oral and video memoirs of some of the most creative musicians of our time, including Aaron Copland, John Cage, Charles Mingus, and Frank Zappa. ($20,000)

The deadline each year for submitting grant applications is October 1. Applications for the 2007 cycle will be available here after May 1, 2006. In addition to these grants, this year the foundation will dedicate a portion of funds to support music archiving and preservation projects for Gulf Coast collections. The application for this special grant cycle is currently available here and the deadline to submit applications is May 1, 2006.