About the UNC Bluegrass Initiative
Since its start in 2016, the UNC Bluegrass Initiative has grown into a thriving component of the UNC educational experience, offering Carolina students performance training, academic study, and research in bluegrass. At the center of the initiative is the Carolina Bluegrass Band, which has packed auditoriums on campus and performed at the IMBA’s annual World of Bluegrass festival. Dozens of students from across campus have had the full experience of playing in the Carolina Bluegrass Band and taking lessons from our stellar bluegrass faculty Russell Johnson, Tatiana Hargreaves, and Hank Smith. Headed by Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor of Music Jocelyn Neal, the initiative’s academic contributions to the Department of Music’s curriculum include courses on the history of bluegrass and on songwriting. With UNC’s Southern Folklife Collection, we hosted an academic symposium in 2016 that brought together scholars, journalists, and students, along with a headline concert by Grammy winners The Steep Canyon Rangers—several of whom are Carolina alumni.