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The artistic validity of a wide range of American roots styles—including blues, gospel, folk, early country music, bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, Western swing, polka, Tex-Mex, and others—is beyond dispute. This music is the lifeblood of America's cultural heritage. The expressive urgency and depth of these styles is supported by strong fundamental musical values, and it is in recognition of the richness of these idioms, and of the ways that they fuse with contemporary elements, that Berklee has created the American Roots Music Program.
Among its many projects, the American Roots Music Program produces concerts, hosts visiting artists, designs and implements curriculum, creates and hosts faculty development sessions, and designs and implements symposiums and seminars. Also, using a broader definition of the term "roots," the program examines the core of what it means to be a musician in all idioms, and contemplates the roots of our western musical traditions, ranging from Bach to traditional African music.
The artistic director for the American Roots Music Program is Matt Glaser, who served as chair of Berklee's String Department for 28 years.