The New Mexico Musical Heritage Project

March, 2009

Dear Friend of the New Mexico Musical Heritage Project:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the eight undergraduate and the three graduate students enrolled in a unique program at UNM called the New Mexico Musical Heritage Project. Our goal is to teach students to make violins and then return to their home communities or pueblos and continue the art of violin making and the playing of the traditional melodies or ritual tunes of that community.

We have also been doing historical research into the backgrounds of violin making in New Mexico and have uncovered certain very interesting facts about the role of the Franciscans and indigenous artisans from Mexico who taught Native peoples and colonial settlers to make violins in New Mexico chronologically speaking before any violins were made elsewhere in what is now the United States.

Consequently, we have been invited to attend the Antonio Stradivari Violin Makers Contest and Convention in Cremona, Italy, in October, 2009. We have been in close touch with Paolo Bodini, the President of the Antonio Stradivari Foundation, and he has promised to give us private tours of the museum, the jurying process, and give us time to present a lecture and a performance of New Mexican traditional music.

Our entire project is supported by donations from private individuals who want to preserve New Mexican music and the arts. We are trying to raise about $20,000 to finance this student trip to Cremona to meet the world’s finest violin makers and to see examples of the classic Italian violins. Of course, we want to reveal the results of our research on the role of the violin in New Mexico, as perhaps the first place in America where violins were made.

Perhaps you might be interested in helping to support this student trip to Italy. Enclosed is a brochure that gives details of how you might contribute or sponsor a student.

Thanks so much for your consideration. We deeply appreciate your help.


Peter White and the students in the New Mexico Musical Heritage Project

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