Master Class: Elvis Presley and The Birth of Rock & Roll

Elvis Presley is generally considered to have given birth to rock & roll. Although he certainly did his part, there was a musical groundswell in America that began in the years immediately following World War II that crested with Presley in the year 1956. "Elvis Presley and the Birth of Rock & Roll" explores the roots of this great American music form. It examines the musical, racial and cultural issues that led to the emergence of rock & roll, along with the artists, many of whom precede Presley, that were instrumental in creating rock & roll's earliest sounds and sensibilities. Finally, the class will look at the roles Presley, Sam Phillips, and others in Memphis played in the rock & roll explosion. The class will feature rare film footage and recordings, plus interview clips culled from never-before-heard oral histories. Classmember participation and discussion is encouraged. Classes are designed as a series, but can be attended individually.

All classes will be taught by Executive Director Robert Santelli. Santelli taught courses on American music history at Monmouth and Rutgers Universities in New Jersey and the University of Washington in Seattle. He has written extensively on American music for Rolling Stone and other publications, as well as more than a dozen books on American music.