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2024 Performer Biographies

Jacob Adams, Paul Asaro, Tom Bartlett, Peter Bergin, Chicago Cellar Boys, Danny Coots, Crown Syncopators, Neville Dickie, Richard Dowling, Bill Edwards, Marty Eggers, Eve Elliot, Tom Finger, John Gill’s Coney Island Ragtimers, Colin Hancock, Steve Hicks, Frederick Hodges, Brian Holland, Vincent Johnson, Miss Maybell & Charlie Judkins, Miss Jubilee & Ethan Leinwand, Dave Majchrzak, Royce Martin, Bill McNally, TJ Müller, Andrew Oliver, Terry Parrish, Will Perkins, Sam Post, David Reffkin, John Remmers, Donald Ryan, Andy Schumm, Hal Smith’s San Francisco Jazz All-Stars, Martin Spitznagel, Paul Stewart, Monty Suffern, Adam Swanson, Nick Taylor, Virginia Tichenor, Tadao Tomokiyo, Terry Waldo, and Bryan Wright

Raised in Minneapolis, MN, Jacob Adams began studying piano at age 10 and became interested in ragtime at age 13 when his father introduced him to “Maple Leaf Rag”. Throughout his classical training at the Cleveland Institute of Music and University of Illinois, ragtime always remained an important creative outlet. Interested in musical composition since childhood, he composed his first rag in 1999 and has been writing them ever since. He has also been a participant at the Old- Time Piano Playing Contest numerous times since 2010, having placed in 2011, 2013, and 2023, as well as the New Rag Contest, winning in 2010, 2017, & 2018. He resides in Chicago, IL, with his wife Sarah, where he works as a church pianist/organist, teacher, and accompanist. This is his first appearance at the SJRF since 2015 and feels privileged to have the opportunity to share this wonderful music with people again.

Tom Bartlett is a long-time veteran trombonist of the Salty Dogs Jazz Band, Red Rose Ragtime Band, and a multitude of other well-recorded organizations, including Hal Smith’s Down Home Jazz Band and John Gill’s Yerba Buena Stompers. He led his own trad jazz groups in South America and Central America while serving in the Peace Corps and Army. Tom’s style tends to favor the barrelhouse West Coast jazz of Turk Murphy; however, he’s also comfortable in the more mainstream of traditional jazz. Now retired as an art educator, he remains very active in the local watercolor guild and teaches drawing classes.

Peter Bergin’s love for early American music reaches back to his formative years in Michigan. Peter’s mission is to make people happy with the rhythms and infectious melodies of early American music, especially classic ragtime, novelty piano and vocal renditions of vintage American songs. Following a twenty-four year career in software development at many of the brightest companies in Silicon Valley, Peter took a leap of faith and embarked on a full-time career in music. Today, Peter presents regularly at concert halls, community centers and festivals around the country, and is a Michigan Humanities Touring Artist. His collaborations include concerts with celebrated musicians Jeff Barnhart and Bob Milne. He is a recording artist with a variety of CD's available at www.berginmusic.com. Peter looks forward to bringing early American music to audiences everywhere as a testament to America's original popular music.

 

The Chicago Cellar Boys is a band which specializes in the jazz and hot dance styles of the 1920s and 1930s. The group is based in Chicago, and can be found playing regularly all over the city. Additionally, the band is proud to be playing every Sunday at the Honky Tonk BBQ in the Pilsen neighborhood, as well as the world-famous Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Uptown every Tuesday.

 Andy Schumm is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger originally from Wisconsin. In the Cellar Boys, you can hear him play cornet, clarinet, and saxophone. Now based in Chicago for more than ten years, Andy has appeared all over the traditional jazz world, both domestically and internationally. He is also an avid student of the history of jazz.

   On clarinet and alto saxophone, John Otto is a mainstay of Chicago jazz, and has appeared with many notable bands. Among them are bands such as the Salty Dogs, Fat Babies, West End Jazz Band, and Chicago Rhythm. John is a collector of 78rpm records and has a great knowledge of the vast landscape of recorded music from the 1920s and 1930s. His presence adds an air of authenticity that few can match.

   Natalie Scharf is an old soul in a modern world, and her tenor playing shows it. She comes from a long line of professional musicians, and the Cellar Boys are appreciative of her generational knowledge of music. Natalie has played with just about everyone in Chicago, and she is a talented arranger in her own right. Joining the band in 2020, her talents have added serious depth to the front line.

   Jim Barrett joined the band in 2020. The only way to describe his banjo playing is ferocious. This dynamo of syncopated rhythm has been lurking in and around Chicago's early jazz scene for many years, and now the band is proud to have him front-and-center. While his influences are innumerable, you may pick out some tricks he borrowed from Ikey Robinson and Tommy Felline.

   Paul Asaro is perhaps the world's leading stride piano player, and his ability to play in the style of Jelly Roll Morton is unparalleled. In additional to his piano wizardry, Paul sings with both the seriousness and wit of the best of 1920s vocalists. You may have heard him with Leon Redbone, who he single-handedly accompanied for many years. Jelly Roll Morton once said, "Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm," and Paul has that in droves.

   Dan Anderson is one of the most in-demand musicians in Chicago. His versatility and fine musicianship is evidenced by the variety of musical groups that have employed him. He's appeared with everyone from Ray Charles to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Equally adept on both the tuba and the string bass, Dan's rock steady rhythm helps place the Chicago Cellar Boys' sound firmly in the 1920s and 1930s.

Danny Coots began playing drums at the tender age of 6 years old. Since then, he has studied with Nick Baffaro, Rich Holly, Alan Koffman and Jim Petercsak in percussion. Danny attended The Crane School of Music and St. Lawrence University and University.  He eventually served as adjunct faculty at St. Lawrence University, Clarkson University and Potsdam State University from the 1970s into the 1990s.  He continued traveling and performing with David Amram, Ray Shiner, Daniel Pinkham, Herb Ellis, Will Alger, Jack Mayhue, Speigle Wilcox, Mimi Hines, Phil Ford, Bob Darch, Pearl Kaufman and Arthur Duncan. 
    In 1996 Danny moved to Nashville, Tennessee and has lived there ever since. Danny has recorded extensively in Nashville, New York and L.A. and has appeared in over 100 countries. He has played on over 100 recordings, one of which won a Grammy in 2005. After moving to Tennessee, Danny joined the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band for 5 years and helped found the Titan Hot Seven. During this time he played and recorded with Dick Hyman, Houston Person, Bob Wilber, Johnny Varro, Jeff Coffin, Tim Laughlin, Harry Allen, Dave Hungate, Bill Allred, John Allred, Randy Reinhart, Ron Hockett, John Cocuzzi, John Sheridan, Dan Barrett, Vince Giordano… to name a few.   dannycoots.com/

A native of England's County Durham, Neville Dickie had piano lessons for 4 years from the age of seven. He started learning the popular tunes of the day by listening to the radio, discovering the music of 'Fats' Waller and other early piano greats, and began learning Stride piano from their recordings.        He located to London, aged 23, and worked with Traditional jazz bands and played in pubs for a number of years. After passing a BBC audition, he made dozens of live broadcasts and in 1969 recorded a parlour piece from circa 1872 entitled "The Robins Return."  It entered the Top Twenty record charts, after which he made dozens of LPs and CDs, one of which sold over 100,000 copies. The album was titled 'Back To Boogie' (a composition by Neville).

    He ran a successful Jazz Club in Surrey, England for 27 years, often inviting international jazz musicians. Neville has played extensively throughout Europe.  He was invited to play in Manhattan for a number of weeks in 1985, which resulted in annual visits since then.


Richard Dowling Hailed by The New York Times as “an especially impressive fine pianist,” Steinway Artist Richard appears throughout America in solo recitals, at music festivals, and as  soloist with orchestras. Chopin, Debussy, Gershwin, Gottschalk, Ravel, and ragtime figure prominently in his repertoire. Reviews praise him as “a master of creating beautiful sounds with impeccable control of colors and textures,” as “a musician with something to say, the skill to say it and the magnetic power to make you want to listen,” and for giving “a superb recital that left the audience craving for more at the end.”      In 2017 Mr. Dowling performed all 53 piano works of Scott Joplin by memory in two recitals at Carnegie Hall. His Complete Joplin 3-CD set was nominated for a Grammy. Max Morath says, “Dowling’s mastery of the Joplin rags invokes a tenderness that charms us and a technical command that inspires our admiration.” 

 www.richard-dowling.com/

A native of Southern California, Bill Edwards discovered ragtime when he was six years old, and hasn’t been able to leave it alone since. He started his professional career in California in the late 1970s then resided in Durango, CO, through the first half of the 1980s, where he took up residence at the famous Diamond Belle Saloon at the Strater Hotel (where he continues to play each summer). Bill has lived and worked in Northern Virginia since 1986, applying his vibrant personality and passion for ragtime and history to his stage performances.
     For many years Mr. Edwards was a featured entertainer at the Fish Market in Alexandria. Since 1996, Bill has been applying his particular penchant for the music on his website, which includes biographies of over 350 ragtime era figures. He has attended all of the major US and Canadian ragtime festivals and competitions, particularly the World Championship of Old-Time Piano, for which he holds the 1991 title, having been there every year since 1987. 
     Bill frequently accompanies silent films and has presented seminars on over 25 ragtime-related topics.  He has 44 different CD titles and over 20 published compositions available for your enjoyment, a detailed book on the life of composer and publisher E.T. Paull, and an upcoming encyclopedia on over 530 female composers of popular music from the ragtime era.  

    In 2016 he was awarded the lifetime achievement award in the field of Ragtime Research and Performance by the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, an event for which he has been the director of symposiums for several years. That veteran ragtime performer Max Morath handed him this honor made it all that much more special.
     You can find out more than anyone would ever want to know about Bill and Ragtime at http://ragpiano.com 

 

 Marty Eggers (piano, bass and tuba) began his music career in Sacramento, California, where as a teenager he helped found the Sacramento Ragtime Society in 1982.  He has been playing music full-time since the early '90s.  For ten years Marty was the bassist for the now-defunct ragtime trio Bo Grumpus.  Marty is married to pianist and drummer, Virginia Tichenor.  They live in Oakland, California, performing individually, as a duo and with the Crown Syncopators.  They perform together monthly in Larkspur, California.  They also performed and recorded with the Cali-Co Ragtime Quartet.
    Marty has been a long-time member (on bass) in the trios of internationally-known pianists Carl Sonny Leyland and the late Butch Thompson.  Marty plays bass and tuba with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. For nearly twenty years he held down a regular spot on piano at San Francisco's legendary music club, Pier 23.


Eve Elliot  Renowned pianist Eve Elliot caught the Ragtime fever after hearing its wild jangling strains for the first time in 2018 at an LA bar. With great effort she managed to triumph in the 2022 Old Time Piano Playing Contest and has since appeared at the West Coast Ragtime Festival. In addition, Eve plays a weekly Ragtime residency with fellow pianist John Reed-Torres. When she’s not playing piano for various dance and jazz bands around LA, Eve dawdles from one musical endeavor to the next. She leads an all-girl Greek folk band on accordion called the Galamatas. She writes satirical, overly-complicated music for her band Boinkasaurus. In her off time, she enjoys singing Bach chorales and Sacred Harp songs with friends. Eve is thrilled to be playing the Joplin Festival this year, and deeply honored to be in the company of the great musicians who keep the Ragtime tradition sparkling.
 

Tom Finger discovered Ragtime while in high school when he heard a friend playing something "completely different" on the piano. After inquiring what is was and then asking "who's Scott Joplin?" he immediately went out and bought his first copy of Joplin's collected piano works. Now on his third copy, he still loves Ragtime as much as ever. Classically trained, Tom likes to present classic ragtime as if it were concert music. Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, Arthur Marshall and my other ragtime composers have written music just as appropriate for the recital hall as for the dance floor or festival stage.

He currently teaches piano privately, is assistant pianist at Third Baptist Church in St. Louis and performs somewhat regularly on the Friday Night Group Piano recitals. A former performer and a regular attendee here at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, he's pleased to return as a performer again for this, the 50th anniversary of the festival.

A highly regarded player on drums and banjo, John Gill has recorded with a variety of ensembles on many labels. Growing up in the same neighborhood as drummer Tony Sbarbaro of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Sbarbaro became a major influence. Gill had early experience playing with Tony Parenti and Vince Giordano.

    In 1977, Gill moved to San Francisco and joined Turk Murphy's band, playing drums, banjo, and soprano saxophone. During 1984-85, while still with Murphy, he recorded on Stomp Off with his Original Sunset Five, a group with Murphy sidemen, including pianist Ray Skjelbred.

    During his time in San Francisco, John Gill made a significant contribution as a curator of the SFTJF Archive. He created the Foundation's significant CD re-issue program, packaging and releasing albums which helped finance SFTJF work. Gill produced recordings from historical audio assets in the collection, and was known for selecting recorded performances that showcased the best work of the musicians involved. He also assisted with the organization of materials.

    John Gill enjoyed a busy career in music, freelancing in San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, and Austin. He was a longtime member of Woody Allen's famed New Orleans Jazz Band.  Currently performing on The Steamboat Natchez in New Orleans.

 

Colin Hancock (27) is a two time-Grammy Nominated Jazz musician and historian from Austin, Texas. As a child, he was drawn to the sounds of early jazz, blues, ragtime, and old time music. Since then, he’s built his musical career around playing and recording in that style of music and the technology around it, as well as preserving historical recordings for future generations to enjoy. He currently leads the Joymakers, an 8 piece hot jazz band focused on the sounds of 1920s territory bands of the South and Southwestern US.

Steve Hicks is a British fingerstyle guitarist, born South Ockendon, Essex, 1956. He performs his own guitar arrangements of classic rags and other syncopated pieces and is signed to Acoustic-Music Records in Germany, Europe’s longest running company for specialist interest guitar music.  He has three critically acclaimed cd releases on that label.www.acoustic-music.de

 

Recent projects include the ragtime compilation book, ‘Cakewalks and Classic Rags for Fingerstyle Guitar’, (Mel Bay 10/25/21), to which Steve contributed four of his arrangements. Steve’s latest recorded release is, ‘The Oak and the Willow.  Steve Hicks plays the music of Duck Baker’.  (Fulica Records 11/26/23).  Steve is also a master luthier and, when not out touring, can be found at his workbench building bespoke high-end guitars. Steve lives in Leicestershire, UK.  www.hicksandgoulbourn.com


Hailed in the press as one of the best concert pianists in the world, Frederick Hodges has established a reputation specializing in late romantic music as well as Ragtime, Broadway, and Hollywood musicals of the first half of the twentieth century by America’s best composers, such as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. He maintains a busy concert schedule of stage, television, radio, and film appearances around the globe. Additionally, he is a much sought-after silent film accompanist for both live performances and DVD.
     He performs regularly at the Hollywood Heritage Museum, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in California, the Cinecon Film Festival in Hollywood, The TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and at silent film festivals around the country. He also performs at music festivals around the country, such as the Sacramento Music Festival, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, and the Sedalia Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. www.frederickhodges.com.

Brian Holland is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, recording artist, and entertainer who has enjoyed a musical career spanning more than 35 years.  His career flourished when he discovered the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest.  In 1999, he won his third title and was retired as undefeated.  He has since returned three times to serve on the judges panel, most recently in 2014.  
    Brian has played with some of the hottest jazz bands in the US:  Titan Hot Seven, Wally’s Warehouse Waifs, The Holland Rhythm Company, and others.  He has traveled all over the world performing his creative styles of jazz, ragtime, stride, boogie, and blues.  Holland has fourteen recordings solo and ensemble to his credit, and garnered a Grammy nomination for his work with Bud Dresser on their album:  Ragtime, Goodtime, Jazz.  
www.shanesmohawk.com/index.html

 

Vincent Matthew Johnson’s philosophy of ragtime music seeks to preserve, encourage, and revitalize this beloved, quintessentially American music. His pianistic approach is informed by a wide range of syncopated styles, from classic ragtime to stride and early jazz piano with a particular affinity for the oft-forgotten novelty piano stylings of the 1920s and 1930s. As a preservationist, he has a growing archive of original sheet music from the era and has made efforts to transcribe and commission transcriptions of historical records and piano rolls. His interest in transcription extends to the unpublished compositions of contemporary composers and he has been instrumental in notating works by California-based composers such as John Reed-Torres and Eric Marchese.

     He has served as a judge at the West Coast Ragtime Society Youth Piano Competition and at the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing New Rag Contest. In his own compositions, Johnson combines the format and parlance of historical rags and piano novelties with his own humor and sensibilities to create a personal, unique style. In The New York Times, columnist John McWhorter called him “a composer who has taken the torch passed on since Scott Joplin and created ragtime that continues in the Bolcom spirit and keeps the genre ever moving.” His rags have won awards, been programmed by pianists from Manhattan to Hungary, and featured on albums including Max Keenlyside’s Invincible Syncopations: The New Ragtime Music of Vincent Matthew Johnson on Rivermont Records.

    Vincent performs regularly at ragtime clubs and festivals throughout California, and is known to moonlight as a pianist at Downtown Los Angeles’ storied 1642 Bar with friends Eve Elliot and John Reed-Torres.

Miss Maybell and Charlie Judkins are known for their large repertoire of Prohibition-Era Jazz, Ragtime and early Blues. Sourcing their tunes directly from dusty old records and antique sheet music, they bring new life to songs created over 100 years ago. With this unique sound and dedication, they were recently featured on The NPR Show “Person, Place, Thing” With Randy Cohen. Building a sizable local following in their hometown of New York City from sold out residencies at legendary venues such as Birdland Theater, the duo has also performed across the country at countless Jazz and Ragtime festivals and even abroad, recently headlining Sevilla Swing in Seville, Spain and selling out a week of shows at Marian's Jazz Room in Bern, Switzerland."




 

Valerie Kirchhoff (aka "Miss Jubilee") is a vocalist and bandleader born and raised in St. Louis. She has been performing professionally for over 15 years and is a beloved staple of the local music scene. Valerie grew up singing in church and school choirs, and discovered a passion for early jazz and blues while in her teens. Wanting to hear more of this kind of music around town, she formed her own band in 2007, and has been entertaining audiences ever since. Valerie champions the female blues singers of the 20s and 30s, with a particular focus on the lesser-known singers from St. Louis. Valerie has performed across the United States and Europe and performs weekly in her hometown.  miss-jubilee.com/

 

Ethan Leinwand is a St. Louis-based pianist who specializes in barrelhouse blues. A mostly self-taught pianist, he is a student of the music, and delights in bringing this lost art to life. His unique repertoire stretches from ragtime to boogie-woogie and tells the story of blues piano. Through performances across the United States and Europe (as well as an active YouTube channel), Ethan has gained world-wide recognition as a leading exponent of barrelhouse blues piano.     Ethan was born and raised in Middletown, CT and graduated from Wesleyan University in 2005. He began his music career in 2009, performing in bars, restaurants and nightclubs in New York City. He moved to St. Louis, MO in 2014 - a town with deep piano blues and ragtime traditions - and began collaborating with vocalist Valerie Kirchhoff (Miss Jubilee, The St. Louis Steady Grinders), among others. He can be seen performing weekly in his hometown, and is a regular at ragtime, boogie-woogie, acoustic blues, and folk festivals.  http://www.ethanleinwand.com/

 

Dave Majchrzak Another year and more Ragtime at the Greatest Ragtime Festival in the world!  Making another appearance at the Scott Joplin Festival, Dr. Dave has started his retirement from his time as a veterinarian and hopes to spend more time performing near or far.  He has performed around the United States at Ragtime and Early Jazz Festivals for over 25 years.  He performed for the Emperor of Japan during his 1994 US visit, as well as many other dignitaries.   Dr. Dave served as the Artistic Director of the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, MO for 6 years, Music Director for the Chippewa Valley Ragtime Festival in Eau Claire, WI for 4 years, and was the President of the Friends of Scott Joplin Ragtime group in St. Louis for many years.  During his career, he has played on the St. Louis Riverfront, and brought Ragtime back to the Missouri State Fair.   Dr. Dave has been honored as a Missouri State Touring Performer.  His CD folio has 6 solo compilations and 9 traditional jazz titles.  If you have to bring him home, buy a CD, it is much easier than having Dr. Dave around the house. 

Royce Martin is a pianist and composer who recently graduated with a degree in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music. With a passion for an array of styles ranging from Western Classical to Hip Hop, Royce’s original compositions take the shape of a cornucopia of musical influences, giving them their own unique feeling.
     In 2017, Royce was named a Rising Star by the St. Louis Post Dispatch and just three short years later in 2020, he was met with national attention when he was tapped to provide the original music for the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Reunion Special on HBO-Max. While Royce is no stranger to the limelight, he remains humble with the understanding that he is but a novice to the masters from whom he draws inspiration. Royce continues his journey in search of a sonic sweet spot — where his skillset meets his artistic vision. 
www.facebook.com/Roycemartinmusic/

William McNally The New York Times calls him “a hot item” and “powerful,” and the Santa Barbara Independent called him a pianist, “...with great sympathy and insight.” William McNally is a two-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, and three-time winner of their New Rag Contest. He now serves as their Contest Coordinator, and he has since taken on the role of the Scott Joplin Foundation’s Ragtime Kid Program Director.
      Recently, Dream Shadows was released to high acclaim: reviews in Fanfare Magazine—two of them—called the recording “highly natural and persuasive...his prismatic range of touch and tone allows him to trace out the shifting moods of the music—from the sentimental to the nonchalant to the smashing—with unusual sensitivity...the disc is so good, from beginning to end, that it’s hard to know what to highlight...a treasure!” McNally’s “serious classical” CD with works by Brahms, Reger and Busoni was lauded by the New York Times as “effortless...fascinating...mercurial... and intelligently curious.”
     His album of the complete solo piano works of Arthur Schutt, paired with novelty works by Vincent Matthew Johnson, also includes the premiere recording of four works by Art Tatum, and will be released this fall. He completed his doctorate at CUNY’s Graduate Center, where he studied with Ursula Oppens and wrote a ragtime-focused dissertation. He has served on the faculties of Texas State University, Queens College, and Temple University.  www.williammcnally.com/

 

T. J. MULLER is a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and jazz radio host based in St. Louis, MO.  Born and raised in England, T. J. first began performing with his family jazz band. Finding work with local groups in the north of England and touring with Newcastle based group Rob Heron and The Tea-Pad Orchestra landed T. J. a contract playing trumpet with St. Louis Americana band, Pokey Lafarge.

    As a trumpet player, T. J. Muller toured worldwide with Pokey Lafarge for 3 years,

performing classic styles of American music on The Late Show with David Letterman,  The Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, PBS Documentary: American Epic.

    After leaving the Pokey Lafarge band, T. J. settled in St. Louis full time, establishing The Arcadia Dance Orchestra and The Gaslight Squares Jazz Band.  T. J. turned his focus to historic St. Louis jazz, ragtime and blues, delivering tours at the Scott Joplin House State Historic site, performing and speaking around St. Louis (both on land and on riverboat excursions!) and hosting a weekly jazz and ragtime radio show on 88.1 KDHX.

    T. J. Muller is known for his charismatic approach to early jazz, energetic performances and passion for sharing the stories and history behind the music.

https://tjmullermusic.com/

 

Andrew Oliver is a pianist from Portland, Oregon, specializing in stride piano, 1920s jazz and blues, ragtime, and tango.  His playing is energetic and authentic, drawing on the styles of pianists such as Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, and Earl Hines to deliver a stomping style which emphasizes the exciting groove that brought jazz to the forefront of popular music in the 20th century.

    A specialist in the music of the great New Orleans pioneering pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton, lived in London from 2013-2020, performing in the UK and Europe with a number of acclaimed groups including the Dime Notes and Vitality Five. Andrew returned to Portland in 2020 and can be found leading the Bridgetown Sextet and performing around the Northwest.

 

Dr. Terry Parrish has been playing ragtime as well as collecting and researching it for 55 years.  He has performed and spoken at a variety of ragtime events including the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, the Classic Ragtime Festival in Indianapolis, the Tom Turpin Festival in Savannah, The West Coast Rag Festival in Sacramento and the St. Louis Ragtime Festival on the Mississippi River.  He was the leader and pianist of the Elite Syncopators, who recorded on the Stomp Off label. 

    Terry enjoys playing all styles of ragtime including stride and classic rag.  When not playing the piano, Terry is a psychiatrist in Indianapolis, father of 5 and grandfather of 8 amazing kids.  Terry is excited to return to Sedalia for this year’s special anniversary of the Scott Joplin Festival.


Will Perkins has been performing at ragtime and jazz festivals since the age of 14. His love for traditional jazz and ragtime piano has led him to perform at music festivals around the United States and beyond. Will has been a featured performer at the Bohem Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival in Kecskemet, Hungary, and at the Buenos Aires Ragtime Festival in Argentina.     
     He has also performed at West Coast, Scott Joplin, and many other festivals around the country. When Will isn’t playing the piano, you will probably find him working on them. After graduating with degrees in Piano Technology from North Bennet Street School in Boston, Will started his own piano service business in Idaho. In 2022, he sold his business and accepted a position to work with world-renowned piano rebuilder and Fazioli dealer, Rick Baldassin in Salt Lake City, Utah.  willperkinspianos.com/

 

Sam Post  Equally at home composing for orchestra, playing ragtime at the piano, or crossing over into pop, pianist-composer Sam Post is forging a career across musical styles. He has been commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, played with Yo-Yo Ma and Reneé Fleming, and is a founding member of Kassia Music in the DC area. He has written hundreds of pieces for solo piano, including dozens of rags, and hundreds more for different chamber ensemble configurations. His 2017 ragtime album Dizzy Days was featured on the cover of the Syncopated Times, and he won two consecutive “New Rag” awards at the World Championship Old-Time Piano contest in 2021 and 2022. His more recent projects include a set of pieces for one-hand piano, and a complete rewrite of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier in syncopated style. You can find him on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you get your music, and at sampostpiano.com.


​David Reffkin is director of the American Ragtime Ensemble and a leading authority on ragtime orchestration and performance.  He was a recording engineer on the Grammy-winning Red Back Book album of the NEC Ragtime Ensemble and later played with them.  He hosted The Ragtime Machine radio program for 30 years, with interviews and reviews appearing in The Mississippi Rag, win the Best Ragtime Journalist award.  As a professional violinist, he is a soloist and a member of various ensembles, as well as a conductor, arranger, and music contractor.
    Acknowledged for his editorial work, he wrote the Foreword for the discography Cakewalks, Rags, and Novelties (2003), and helped edit forthcoming books on Brun Campbell (Larry Karp) and the new edition of King of Ragtime (Edward Berlin).  David helped create the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974, organized and directed the All-Star Orchestra, and in 2006 received the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 2011, the city of San Francisco awarded him the Mayor’s Certificate of Honor.  www.davidreffkin.com/

Donald Ryan has been called "a musical kaleidoscope - sparkling at everything he plays." His consummate command at the piano has triggered enthusiastic responses across the U. S. A. (Carnegie Hall, New York and the Wayne Newton Theater in Las Vegas included), England, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the Caribbean and South America.

    A favorite with ragtime audiences at the West Coast Ragtime Festival and the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, one reviewer appraised him as “probably the premier performer of ragtime in the formal classical style active on the festival circuit today.” In 2005 Mr. Ryan was the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation Artist-In-Residence to schools in and around Sedalia.

    Donald has the distinctions of being a 2006 inductee into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall Of Fame, a 1975 recipient of the Madeyska Award at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland, and a Steinway Artist.

 

John Remmers has played piano from early childhood, mostly in the classical vein until he was captivated by ragtime during the 1970s revival and taught himself to play it. His involvement with ragtime intensified following his 2004 retirement from teaching mathematics and computer science at Eastern Michigan University. He has played at a number of festivals around the country, including multiple appearances at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival and the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival. He performs regularly at the annual Ragtime Street Fair at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan, and was the 2018 winner of the Senior Division of the annual Old Time Piano Playing Contest held in Oxford, Mississippi.

 

Hal Smith began listening to ragtime in 1956 and heard Eubie Blake, Johnny Maddox and Max Morath in person.  Hal has drummed with Wally Rose, Pete Clute, Neville Dickie, Ralph Sutton, Dick Wellstood, Butch Thompson, the St. Louis Ragtimers plus traditional jazz, swing, blues, Rockabilly and Western Swing bands. 

    Currently, Hal leads the El Dorado Jazz Band, Mortonia Seven, New Orleans Night Owls and On The Levee Jazz Band and is a sideman with other groups.

    Hal is on the faculty of the New Orleans Trad Jazz Camp and is a Board Member of the Bix Jazz Festival.  He writes for The Syncopated Times and is one of the editors of “Dust Bowl to Disney” -- the autobiography of Firehouse Five Plus Two/Bob Wills cornetist Danny Alguire:

    Hal has made over 200 recording sessions plus broadcasts of “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Riverwalk – Live From The Landing” and other media.


Martin Spitznagel:  Whether performing the masterworks of Scott Joplin or the score to Star Wars, Spitznagel’s electric performances have left audiences across the world enthralled with America’s first popular music, Ragtime.
     Martin discovered ragtime at age 12. By age 14, he’d won a Yamaha Disklavier piano in Calliope Media’s nationwide Crazy for Ragtime competition. His good fortune continued when, in 1998, he met Eastman School of Music pianist and pedagogue Dr. Tony Caramia, who challenged him to “find the surprise” in every performance. 
     In the years since, Martin has grown into an award-winning composer and sought-after performer. When he’s not at the piano bench (or chasing after his much-more-talented son, Parker), Martin works as a multimedia producer, writer, and filmmaker in Pittsburgh, PA, where he lives with his wife, Jessica. He is delighted to return to the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, and feels privileged to revel in the company of the musicians and music-lovers who have brought him so much joy.  www.martinspitznagel.com

 

Paul Stewart’s longtime interest and research into Ragtime piano music culminated in his CD titled “Rhythm and Rags”.He has presented Ragtime workshops, lecture recitals and performances at state conferences and local music teacher meetings in California, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, West Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee, as well as Ragtime Festivals in Missouri, Colorado and California. He has also presented Ragtime sessions for music organizations in Manchester, England and Bologna, Italy.  Stewart was a 2022 Finalist in the World Championship Old-Time piano-playing contest hosted by the University of Mississippi Department of Music.  He recently presented a Ragtime recital at High Point University, North Carolina and is an active performer for retirement homes and music clubs. Paul Stewart is a University of North Carolina at Greensboro music professor emeritus.  As a long-time member of the Music Teachers National Association, Professor Stewart served as National MTNA President, 2005-2007.

 

Monty Suffern has been playing piano for more than 7 decades, starting with his first lesson on his seventh birthday.  His formal training lasted only about 3 years, but in that time, he got a thorough grounding in chord theory, practicing each group of chords on a circle of fourths to ensure he did not learn only the easy ones.  This has stood him in good stead and he has mainly been self-taught from that time on, although he has taken short courses of lessons or master classes when special opportunities presented themselves.  Although he plays piano almost every day, his occupation for 40 years was teaching Chemical Engineering and later, also Aviation Sciences at universities in both Australia, where he was born, and Texas where he currently resides.

Having retired from his vocation (twice), he has since devoted time to his avocation – music - and with his commitment to lifelong learning, he completed an Associate’s degree in Song Writing at a local community college. He will play some of his original compositions at this festival.  His approach to piano playing is relatively simple: using as much of the piano as he can, fitting as many notes into two hands as possible, as appropriate. Having discovered ragtime as a formal genre at the Scott Joplin festival in 2003, and that he had long been playing that style of music, Monty is now a regular attendee at festivals around the country, and has performed at ragtime events in California, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas and Missouri.  He placed second in the Old Time Piano Contest (senior division) in 2022. He is thrilled to be part of the 50th anniversary Scott Joplin festival. Oh, and weather permitting, he flew himself here to Sedalia in an airplane he built himself.


Adam Swanson is one of the world’s foremost performers of vintage American popular music, including ragtime, early jazz, the Great American Songbook, and more. He holds a master’s in musicology from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Adam has been a featured performer and lecturer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States and abroad, and he is the only four-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. 
     He made his New York debut in Carnegie Hall, where he performed with Michael Feinstein. Adam has performed at the Cinecon Classic Film Festival and the Kennedy Center, as well as in Hungary, Switzerland, and Australia. He has worked with such musicians as Toronto’s John Arpin, former rock star Ian Whitcomb, and legendary 1950s recording artist Johnny Maddox, who was one of Adam’s greatest influences. He lives in Durango, Colorado, where he frequently performs in the Diamond Belle Saloon at the Historic Strater Hotel.  www.adamgswanson.com/

Nick Taylor, a native of Ohio and a graduate of the Capital University Conservatory of Music, relocated to Colorado Springs in 1982. His interest in ragtime was piqued by The Sting (1974), but he discovered the greater ragtime community while attending his first ragtime festival in Sedalia in 1989. Ragtime quickly became a passion, and subsequently, Nick has enjoyed opportunities to perform ragtime at festivals and other venues in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, and Switzerland. In 1990, he founded the Bohemia Ragtime Society, editing its newsletter, The Topliner Rag; soon thereafter, he launched Ragtime Express, a mail order catalog featuring the largest collection of available ragtime recordings, folios, and sheet music. While Nick has pursued working careers in aviation, health care, and ministry, his first love is music.  More recently, he has found himself in the theater organ world, where he is engaged in both organization and performance.

Virginia Tichenor has been consumed by ragtime her entire life, as the daughter of the late Trebor Tichenor, the noted ragtime scholar, pianist, collector and founder of the St. Louis Ragtimers.  She grew up in the midst of one of the world's largest collections of ragtime sheet music and piano rolls and at an early age met Eubie Blake, Max Morath and Butch Thompson.

            She is one of the few and best women playing ragtime (piano and drums) in the country. Performances include the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival; the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California, the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento, CA and the Charles Templeton Ragtime Festival in Starkville, Mississippi.  

            In addition to her solo playing, Virginia also performs as a jazz band pianist in the Bay Area, working currently with the Zenith Jazz Band and formerly with the Devil Mountain Jazz Band.   She is also the Festival Director for the West Coast Ragtime Society, which produces an annual ragtime music festival the weekend before Thanksgiving each November in Sacramento, CA. 

 

Terry Waldo, the protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake, is a virtuoso ragtime and stride pianist.  a vocalist, composer, and leader of many highly regarded musical groups.  His This is Ragtime was republished in 2009 with a new introduction by Wynton Marsalis by Jazz at Lincoln Center Library Editions. Hal Leonard just published Waldo’s new folio, Ragtime Piano: A Guide To Playing The Best Rags. His 26-part radio series This Is Ragtime was produced for NPR in 1972 and featured in Waldo’s current This Is Ragtime Podcast. He has performed in numerous theatrical projects and concerts all over the world and has produced over 60 albums. He is currently working on a music documentary on ragtime, releasing 3 new albums, and performing regularly in New York at several prestigious venues including The Zinc Bar, Arthur’s Tavern and Dizzy’s at Jazz at Lincoln Center with his band. www.TerryWaldo.com


Bryan S. Wright, Ph.D., of Pittsburgh, PA, is a pianist and musicologist based at the University of Pittsburgh where he teaches courses in music history. Classically trained as a pianist from age 5, Bryan enjoys playing a variety of syncopated piano music, from classic and modern rags to piano novelties, tangos, and early jazz. With his wife, Yuko, he has performed across the United States and abroad. He is founder and executive producer of Rivermont Records, a Grammy-nominated label devoted to ragtime, dance bands, and early jazz. Bryan also avidly collects 78 rpm records and hosts a podcast, The Shellac Stack, featuring period recordings of ragtime and early jazz bands. Bryan has released two solo piano albums Syncopated Musings and Breakin’ Notes, and recently collaborated with Brian Holland and Danny Coots for the CD and DVD Live from Buenos Aires. All are available in the Ragtime Store. Visit Bryan online at: http://www.bryanswright.com/

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