Fender has announced that Aarash Darroodi has been appointed as the new president of the Fender Play Foundation, succeeding previous co-presidents Evan Jones and Ed Magee.
Darroodi has been with Fender for some time and until recently occupied the role of Executive Vice President and General Counsel, working across all of the music giant’s brands, including Gretsch, Jackson, Charvel, Bigsby – and, of course, Fender and Squier.
The executive has tackled a number of challenging, high-profile tasks at the firm in recent years, including the acquisition of pro audio brand PreSonus in November last year. The largest in Fender’s history.
In addition, he was the man tasked with negotiating with (the notoriously tricky) major music publishers for the firm’s popular Fender Play educational platform and overseeing Fender’s compliance with CITES (the laws governing the export and manufacturing limitations around endangered woods).
The Fender Play Foundation was established in 2019, with its stated mission to ‘equip, educate and inspire’. So far the brand has donated almost eight thousand guitars to LA middle school students (in partnership with the LA Unified public school district), as well as providing access to teachers and the Fender Play app. The Foundation claims that nearly 85 per cent of participants have said they will continue playing after completing the program.
“I’m honored to step into the role as President of the Fender Play Foundation and continue the great work that was started by its incredibly dedicated team,” says Darroodi.
“Music is a universal language that empowers creativity, community-building, and self-expression and through the Fender Play Foundation, we aim to place instruments in the hands of youth who aspire to become the next generation of influential artists. We are committed more than ever to building upon our original mission and expanding the program so that thousands of new students – across Los Angeles and beyond – can experience the joy of music.”
Fender has not yet provided any specific details about the mooted expansion of the program beyond LA, but the Foundation has stated an aim to reach 35,000 students with the LA Unified school district by 2025, with the intention being to open the program to elementary and high school students.
For more information on the program, head to the Fender Play Foundation.