Martin Jäger

Zürich, Switzerland
Added July 25, 2010

Martin Jäger, a Swiss who grew up near Zurich, started his professional life as a medical doctor with a degree from the University of Zurich. But music, his first love, eventually won out. When Martin was just five years old when his father brought home some British ragtime music. Later, as an exchange student near Seattle, Washington, Martin discovered American ragtime and Gershwin, and his life changed. His enormous talent was recognized early. In 1977, Martin was one of five finalists at the Boogie Woogie & Ragtime Competition sponsored by the Tages Anzeiger, a major Swiss newspaper. A year later, after completing his medical internship, he embarked on a six-year course of classical study at the Conservatory of Music in Zürich. In 1993 he founded the “Swiss Ragtimers,” who accompany silent movies. Since 1996, Martin has been a regular guest performer at ragtime festivals throughout the U.S. Martin has written a number of rags which are available on CD and as sheet music. His “Arabian Rag” was awarded second prize in the 2000 Scott Joplin Ragtime Composition Contest. He played his “Swiss Rag” and “China Rag” for Swiss TV, which also selected his rags as the soundtrack for broadcasts from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In 2006, Martin completed his fourth CD, “Rags across the Waves.” This year he was a participant of the “Train Town Rag” composition contest sponsored by the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation.

Besides being a performing artist and a ragtime composer, Martin is Professor of Music and head of the Music Department at Kantonsschule Enge in Zürich.

Comments on the Performance of Martin Jäger

“Many thanks on an excellent performance. Martin, your very gifted and masterful performance on the piano lent a superb dimension to the Alexandria Bay Festival that sent many of the listeners into a state of frenzy never experienced before…. Keep up the superb work that will endear you to the hearts of thousands! I have never heard Rhapsody in Blue performed more ably. Your version has an added dimension, a dimension of intense compassion and feeling. - E. Thomas Eggert, II, Burlington, Vermont

“In his American concert appearances Martin Jäger brings ragtime back to its roots as he delights audiences with his joyous style of ragtime with a Swiss accent. Jäger’s own rags contain the same type of instant appeal and toe-tapping melodies as works by such prolific original ragtime composers as George Botsford, Charles L. Johnson and Percy Wenrich.” - Richard Zimmerman, Grass Valley, California