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BYU musicologist receives NEH grant to study Louis Armstrong

Brigham Young University School of Music faculty member Brian Harker received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities which will allow him to research jazz legend Louis Armstrong for three months in New York next fall.

Harker started researching Armstrong's early music career while attending Columbia University for his doctorate. He wrote his dissertation on Armstrong's career in the 1920s.

He had always wanted to turn his dissertation into a book on Armstrong. Since he is able to take a sabbatical next fall semester, he decided he would use the opportunity to finish the research for his book.

Even though many books have been written on Armstrong, little research has been conducted or written on Armstrong's early career in the 1920s, Harker said.

"The NEH grant is a great thing to receive, and I am delighted to get it," Harker said.

Harker plans to do most of his research at Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies in Newark, N.J., and the New York Public Library.

Harker is currently teaching music history and theory in the School of Music.

He received his bachelor's degree in music and master's degree in musicology from BYU.

Writer: Rebekah Hanson

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