Pioneering concert promoter Chuck Morris is launching a new cross-disciplinary music business program with Colorado State University’s College of Business that will equip students with the necessary knowledge and real-world experience to pursue music industry careers.
Morris, a long-time successful concert promoter and prolific artist manager, will act as director of the program, with the first course offerings planned for fall 2020. The program’s curriculum will tap into Morris’ unmatched professional network, featuring music business professionals renowned in their respective fields.
“In my 48-year career as a promoter and manager, I’ve always just followed my gut,” Morris said. “After guest lecturing through the years at countless colleges, I always knew I wanted to start a music program for a Colorado university. My dream is finally coming true.”
With most music business programs located at music schools on the east and west coasts, CSU’s College of Business has the resources and track record to create a distinctly unique program that will cross disciplinary boundaries.
“We have distinctive competencies in entrepreneurship and innovation and believe that this program should be open to all students across campus,” said Beth A. Walker, dean of the College of Business. “Our ‘big tent’ ethos, to create a music business program that crosses disciplinary boundaries, is central to the vision for this program. In addition to the deep involvement of Chuck Morris himself, this perspective makes this opportunity unique.”
About Chuck Morris
Morris was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Forest Hills High School at the age of 16 and Queens College at the age of 20. After graduation, Morris entered a Ph.D. program in Political Science at University of Colorado Boulder in 1965. In 1968, Morris decided to drop out of graduate school to follow his love of music.
First managing The Sink and then Tulagi’s (which he co-owned) on the Hill in Boulder, Morris made his mark by booking up-and-coming talent that would become the stars of tomorrow. Hosting artists such as The Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, ZZ Top, Linda Ronstadt, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Muddy Waters and hundreds more, Tulagi’s was the launching pad for Morris’s 48-year career.
In 1973, along with his new partners Barry and Cindy Fey, Morris opened legendary nightclub Ebbets Field. Ebbets Field brought in the first tours of Steve Martin, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel, Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dolly Parton, Richard Pryor, Tommy Bolin and Energy, among others. Ebbets Field was awarded Billboard’s Club of the Year in 1975 and 1976.
Morris was persuaded to sell Ebbets Field and join Barry Fey’s Feyline Presents as senior vice president of promotion, where he began promoting large-scale concerts and events. He was involved with acts such as Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, U2 and Bob Seeger, among many others.
In the next decade, Morris concentrated on his management company, managing the likes of Lyle Lovett, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Leo Kottke, Leftover Salmon, Suzie Bogguss, and the 1988 Country Group of the Year, Highway 101.
Next, Morris went back to his roots and joined forces with the company of famed concert promoter Bill Graham to create Bill Graham / Chuck Morris Presents and bought and remolded the old Mammoth Gardens into The Fillmore Auditorium, among countless other projects.
Through Morris’s management work for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and their tour of Russia in support of the Anschutz Western Art Collection debut, he developed a close working relationship with well-known Colorado businessman and philanthropist Phil Anschutz.
After being approached by his old friend, Morris created AEG Presents Rocky Mountains. It has become the largest concert promotion company in our state’s history, putting on more than 1,100 shows per year at venues from the Bluebird Theater to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre to the newly launched Mission Ballroom.
“The last 14 years at AEG alongside my longtime friend Phil Anschutz and longtime partners Brent Fedrizzi and Don Strasburg have been some of the most rewarding times of my career,” said Morris, who will continue at AEG in a consultant role, chairman emeritus, working on special projects as well as general oversight of the Rocky Mountain and Northwest regions of AEG Presents.
Open to all students
The Music Business Program will be open to every student at CSU and will not be limited to business students or musicians.
In addition to Morris, the program will engage organizations such as the Bohemian Foundation and the Music District in Fort Collins as well as music businesses in Colorado and beyond to help students gain real-world experience.
“I couldn’t be more excited about working with the renowned Chuck Morris to launch a Music Business program through the College of Business at CSU,” Walker said. “Given the vibrant and thriving music scene in Colorado, distinctive music culture and community in Fort Collins, and partners across our campus, we have the opportunity to build a program that is truly world-class.”
Morris also expressed his excitement for the program as he looked back at his illustrious career for which he was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2018.
“Of all the things I’ve accomplished in 48 years, I really believe the crown jewel of my career will be the next phase of educating college students on the music business I’ve been blessed to be a part of,” Morris said.
About CSU’s College of Business
Colorado State University’s College of Business is an AACSB-accredited institution located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our mission is to transform lives through high-quality business education that teaches students to unite purpose and profit to create a better world. Through excellence in research, student access and success, student preparation and community engagement, the College aims to become a national leader in advancing business to address the social, environmental and economic challenges of the 21st century.