The Blue Ridge Ragtime Festival, a first-time festival hosted by the Academy Center of the Arts, will be held October 6-8, 2017, in Lynchburg, Virginia. The festival will kick off its first year with a full weekend of events and happenings featuring five professional ragtime pianists from across the nation.
The festival’s events include two unique concerts, a seated educational symposium, free performances at area schools and downtown venues, and a special silent film comedy screening with live accompaniment by featured performers. For more information, see the full schedule below (subject to change).
Performers for the Blue Ridge Ragtime Festival include Bryan Wright, a Lynchburg native from Pittsburgh, PA, Frederick Hodges from Berkeley, CA, Martin Spitznagel from Pittsburgh, PA, and Ethan Uslan from Charlotte, NC.
Blue Ridge Ragtime and Silent Film Festival Schedule
Friday, October 6
9a – 2p Performances at area schools to educate students about ragtime and America’s musical heritage.
5p – 7p First Fridays performance
8p – 10p ($15) Evening concert: Euphonic Sounds: The Classic Rags of Scott Joplin and His Contemporaries
“The Blue Ridge Ragtime Festival’s kickoff concert celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Scott Joplin. The success of his “Maple Leaf Rag” established Joplin as “the King of Ragtime Composers” in his own time, and the use of his music (including “The Entertainer”) in the film The Sting more than 70 years later introduced his music to a new generation and helped to launch a nationwide ragtime revival. Joplin’s piano music, while rhythmic and engaging, is also supremely lyrical, brimming with bittersweet melodies. Join festival entertainers Frederick Hodges, Ethan Uslan, Martin Spitznagel, Bryan Wright, and Bill Edwards for an unforgettable evening of Joplin’s classic rags, along with a few by his contemporaries.”
Saturday, October 7
8:30a – 10a (Free) Playing at three Hill City Keys Pianos (Market, Vistor’s Center, Kegney’s)
1p – 3p (Free) Symposia: two 1-hour lecture-demonstrations by performers discussing various aspects of ragtime and related music. Location: TBA
8p – 10p ($15) Silent film comedy (The Mark of Zorro) with live accompaniment followed by “music hall” mini- concert featuring all performers
“Experience an evening of vaudeville and early cinema. In the first half, performers will cut loose with hot tunes, comedy and novelty songs, and possibly a tear-jerker or two. After intermission, thrill to the Douglas Fairbanks feature film “The Mark of Zorro,” packed with high adventure and plenty of laughs and featuring live accompaniment by Frederick Hodges.”
Sunday, October 8
2p – 5p ($15) Afternoon concert: Something Old, Something New: A Century of Ragtime, Stride, and Jazz Piano
“Enjoy the many moods of ragtime old and new. While it is tempting to think of ragtime as a genre “stuck” in the early 1900s, generations of composers since then have continued to transform the music and expand its boundaries. The festival’s closing concert will feature ragtime and ragtime-related piano works spanning more than a century: from the 1890s to today.”
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