Galen Wilkes

Van Nuys, CA
Added 11/6/07

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Galen Wilkes has been an active promoter and historian in ragtime since the 1970s, with numerous accomplishments on both coasts. His interests focus on the arts/entertainment and folkways/culture of early 20th century United States, and he was a primary factor in the Los Angeles ragtime revival of the 1970s and 1980s. He is primarily known as a composer, researcher and broadcaster, including "The Ragtime Years" (1976 to 1978) and "It's Rag Time!" (1980 to 1987) radio programs, with such guests as Max Morath, Rudi Blesh, David Jasen, Mrs. Joseph Lamb, Dick Zimmerman, Ian Whitcomb and Jo Ann Castle. In 1985, he founded and conducted The Palm Leaf Ragtime Orchestra, a period-style group rendering vintage ragtime-era music in new arrangements of his own creation. He and dance-master Desmond Strobel also created The Ragtime Ball, a series of special evenings in the Los Angeles area with dancers in period attire competing in cakewalk contests.

Galenís current releases include his excellent CD, Ragged Rhythm; historical notes for the Guido Nielsen collection, The Complete Works of Scott Joplin; and his Ragtime Collection for Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar. He has issued a series of ragtime folios containing original compositions for both beginning- and intermediate-level pianists. Galen will conduct a seminar, "Hot Wax, - The Phonograph in Ragtime," which will include a historic phonograph recording session as well!

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