NEC Perspectives Forum | African-American Music and Jazz Studies @ NEC

In 1969, NEC President Gunther Schuller established the “Afro-American Music and Jazz Studies Department”, the first nationally accredited program of its kind in the United States. The institution had established itself over its first one hundred years as one of the world's leading conservatories of Western classical music. With a new institutional philosophy that experimented with a unique form of American music, he was adamant that the conservatory avoid becoming a museum and fully develop musicians with personal visions of their art. NEC's current Chair of Jazz Studies, Ken Schaphorst, its first Chair Carl Atkins, and jazz composition alumna Susan Calkins '83 join on Monday, August 3rd at 8pm ET for an enlightening discussion about the evolution of NEC's Jazz department and its future direction.

You can view the stream of the event here:

More about NEC Perspectives Forums:

The NEC Perspectives Forums provide opportunities for the NEC community to explore how we all can make a better NEC and ensure it lives up to its commitment of Cultural Equity and Belonging. By listening to the experiences and perspectives of our students, alumni, faculty and staff, we will explore ideas that will have a positive impact on our community and build a more hopeful future for our current and prospective students.


The establishment of a jazz program at NEC influenced the culture of teaching and making music across the institution in many ways. In actuality, the new opportunities provided complex challenges...


After facing the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, NEC responded musically throughout Black communities in Boston and expanded its Jazz and Community Services...