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2016 WCRF Seminars
November 18, 19, and 20
Updated 9/6/2016

Click on presenter's name for biographical information. 


Max Morath 
Topic: "Mr. Joplin and Mr. Blake"

The 2016 Broadway production of the Blake musical “Shuffle Along” and the 2016 publication of Edward A. Berlin’s revised edition of the Joplin biography “King of Ragtime” together inspire a further look at the life and times of these two legends of ragtime. Max will do that in his inimitable style in this Seminar.

Ramona Sidney Baker 
Topic: "Freddy Hylands: The First Rag-Time Studio Pianist and the Early 'Rag' Craze"

Frederick Hylands, the forgotten genius pianist who played on thousands of recordings from 1897 to 1905, played a distinct style of Rag-Time that revealed many unusual aspects of how Rag-Time was played at the end of the nineteenth century. Hylands was also involved in some of the strangest scandals that engulfed the talent staff at the Columbia record company. This seminar presents Hylands’ relatively eventful life of 40 years, some complicated doings of the Columbia recording staff in the late-1890’s, as well as characters of the earliest years of the “rag” craze.

Richard Dowling 
Topic: "But I Could Play It at Home! - Memorization Techniques at the Piano"

In the mid-19th century, virtuoso composer-pianist Franz Liszt initiated the tradition of playing the piano from memory in public. This has become standard stage protocol, but to this day memorization continues to mystify, frustrate, and even terrorize pianists. One of the most frequently asked questions in music is, “How do you memorize?” Mr. Dowling will describe the four types of memory used in musical performance and give practical advice and helpful tips for memorizing piano music. A valuable seminar for pianists of all ages and experience levels!

Andrew Greene 
Topic: "Sissle & Blake’s Shuffle Along: A Musical Treasure"

In 1921 a new musical swept New York City. Sissle & Blake’s SHUFFLE ALONG with its energetic, jazzy musical score became an instant sensation and an American cultural treasure. Its musical score permeated our national identity and was revived several times, including a recent revival on Broadway. Now in 2016 the musical is coming back to life, with the reconstructed original musical score. This seminar, led by Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra Director Andrew Greene, examines the history and importance of Shuffle Along, along with newly recorded selections from the original orchestration, to be heard for the first time at the 2016 West Coast Ragtime Festival.

Jack Rummel  
Topic: "Country Ragtime"

Ragtime arrived formally in the 1890s as published music for piano, but its syncopated roots date informally back to the banjo and its use in minstrel shows by musically illiterate performers. This has led to a form of unpublished ragtime dominated by fiddles, banjos, mandolins and guitars and centered in Southern Appalachia. This seminar will trace the evolution of “Country Ragtime,” beginning with early recorded examples up through Western Swing and modern-day bluegrass, as “hot picking” replaces much syncopation and raises the question, “Is Country Ragtime really ragtime?”