Campus Musicians Receive Gift From Pianist Earl Hines' Estate


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BERKELEY -- The gift to the University of California, Berkeley, of the bulk of famous jazz pianist Earl “Fatha" Hines' estate will provide exceptionally gifted low-income students with free musical instruction and the campus's music library with his collection of papers, compositions and memorabilia.

Hines' musical archive will become the cornerstone at the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library of a new Archive of African American Music, which would be unique on the West Coast.

Hines played to sold-out audiences in the United States and around the world for most of the 20th century, defining jazz until his death in 1983. For the last three decades of his life, he lived in Oakland during a time of renewed appreciation for his contributions to jazz.

Hines, who first came to UC Berkeley as a Regents Lecturer in music in 1979, had a special interest in furthering music education, particularly that of African American students, and stipulated that a portion of his estate be dedicated to such purposes.

The Earl “Fatha" Hines Young Musicians Development Fund will benefit students in the campus's Young Musicians Program, which provides year-round, individualized instruction to musically gifted low-income students in grades four to 12 at no cost to their families. The program was founded in 1968 by Professor Emeritus of Music Michael Senturia with 20 students and three volunteer teachers, and has since grown into one of the leading music education programs in the nation with up to 90 students and 50 teachers.

The program has spawned such luminaries as saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Benny Green, and drummer Will Kennedy. Its students currently are enrolled in 26 universities and conservatories across the country.

In addition to supporting the education of young pianists in the classical and jazz traditions, the monetary gift in excess of $257,900 will also allow the program to fund guest artists who spend several weeks teaching and mentoring students at UC Berkeley during the summer. Up until now, guest artists were often asked to donate part of their time, due to lack of funds.

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