Mike Curb Institute for Music

The American South has long been known for its rich musical heritage. The rhythm of the South has travelled around the world and back again. It has been the sound of anger and reconciliation, of celebration and progress. It has pioneered new musical traditions and reprised forgotten ones. The goal of the Curb Institute is to support students as they engage with their community through this musical tradition. Through the areas of preservation, research, leadership, and civic responsibility, the Institute provides support and opportunities for students and faculty, in partnership with the community, to experience and celebrate what Mr. Curb calls the "Tennessee Music Miracle."

a man with white hair play the piano

The Curb Institute has hosted some of the South’s most innovative musical artists, producers, and scholars and  works with venues and community partners in Memphis to sponsor concerts and events featuring guest artists and students performing.

students with backpacks walk to a tudor style building

Harris Lodge is home to the Mike Curb Institute for Music, providing a space for Curb Fellows to meet and work on projects. The lodge includes a collaborative recording space for students.

s young man with headphones

Curb fellowships are designed to provide real-world experiences to students interested in exploring the breadth of the Memphis music tradition. Student fellows work with community partners and professionals on real projects that connect with and expand the liberal arts experience of Rhodes into the community.

two students look at manuscrips

Students working with the Curb Institute have done great work in archiving and collecting oral histories from a variety of sources to better understand the Memphis music story.

head shot of a man with a beard

Meet Dr. John Bass and Mike Curb: Dr. Bass serves as Director of the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College, an endowed program founded by Mike Curb to research, preserve, and promote the musical traditions of Memphis and the South.

an African American man sings into a microphone

Mike  Curb gifted 1034 Audubon Drivethe first home Elvis bought in Memphisto Rhodes College as a resource for the newly founded chapter of the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College. Curb Fellows now use the house for interviews, recording, and projects like The Audubon Sessions.

Student Stories

A young woman looking toward the future.

Wonder how a Business and Math double major takes advantage of her liberal arts education? She creates a website chronicling the history of women in Memphis music.

A young man, seen in 1/4 profile, plays the bass on a concert stage.

A liberal arts education allows you to pursue whatever interests you academically. While you may be an English major, like Scott Hale ’20, you can also explore your passion for music through a number of avenues on campus.

About the Institute

The Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College was founded in 2006 through a generous gift from the Mike Curb Family Foundation to foster awareness and understanding of the distinct musical traditions of the South and to study the effect music has had on its culture, history, and economy. In the context of Rhodes' liberal arts environment, the Curb Institute works on campus and with community partners in Memphis to give students real-world opportunities that enhance what they learn in the classroom and give them experiences that will benefit them was they make the transition from college to graduate school or the professional world.

A man in sunglasses and a flatcap plays the tenor sax.