President Michael F. Adams on music and UGA


Michael F. Adams

Q: Athens has become known as a music city. How does the university fit into that image?

A: UGA is at the epicenter of the development of the music scene here. Many of the groups include students. The best known manager of the most successful band, R.E.M. (whose members were students), is Bertis Downs, who was a law student. Mark Maxwell developed studios and other facilities in town to support the music here. You can’t talk about the growth of the music scene without talking about students, whether as performers or fans. UGA’s Performing Arts Center, along with other venues in Athens such as the Classic Center, the Rialto Room, the Melting Point, the 40 Watt Club, the Georgia Theatre and others have, for years now, offered opportunities for our students and alumni to gain music performance, production and management experiences while providing this community with a rich, diverse array of good music to enjoy.

Q: The Music Business Certificate Program was a unique addition to the Terry College when it began in 2006.  How does having that program here benefit UGA?

A: It has been a tremendous asset not just to the university but to the entire state. The leadership of Bruce Burch is unexcelled; he has a taste from his days in Nashville for what we can develop here. A lot of talented musicians have suffered from a lack of good management, and this program is going to help remedy that.

Q:  It is a pivotal time for the Hodgson School of Music, with a new director and vacancies in four important positions. Is this an opportunity for UGA to try to move its music school to a new level on the national scene?

A: We have a great base on which to build. I have a very high level of confidence in Dr. (Dale) Monson [director of the Hodgson School of Music], and I am certain that he will attract people of national caliber to UGA. I have said it hundreds of times and I’ll say it again: You can’t have a great university without a great fine arts program, and music is an integral part of that.

The UGA jazz band, with Jazz Studies Director Steve Dancz (left), traveled to China in 2008 with Gov. Sonny Perdue and a delegation from UGA to open a Georgia Economic Development Office in Beijing. Photo by Paul Efland

Q: What is the future of music—both through the Hodgson School of Music and the Terry College of Business—at UGA?

A: Things here are only going to get better. Don Lowe left a nice legacy. Fred Mills will be sorely missed. But I believe we will get a shot in the arm at the Performing Arts Center from George Foreman, who was a protégé of Fred’s. The future of music instruction, research and performance here is very bright.

Q: What do you listen to?

A: I pretty much cover the waterfront. I listen to everything from Gregorian chants and classical to the Stones, Elton John and Eric Clapton.