Frank LiVolsi

Peace Dale, Rhode Island
Added 11/2/2013

Frank LiVolsi is a pianist from Rhode Island who began piano lessons at age seven. Beginning his musical education at the Knapp School of Music in Peace Dale, Rhode Island under the instruction of Mrs. Julia Tombello, Frank received classical training and only discovered a passionate interest in ragtime during his early teen years.

Frank maintained a rich musical experience as a young adolescent. After mastering a repertoire of sufficient breadth, Frank began performing in his local area at retirement homes and community centers. At age 15 Frank shared 1st place with another contestant in a grand piano competition in Warwick, R.I., introducing ragtime to a competitive scene that was dominated by classical musicians. Frank also dabbled with his first serious compositions in the ragtime idiom during that time.

In the years that followed, Frank’s entrance into the College of Engineering at the University of Rhode Island was the advent of a brief musical decline. The remnants of his concert repertoire dwindled to two or three pieces at a time, he ceased his formal piano lessons, and he severely curtailed his performing as he allocated more time to intense academic pursuits. In wasn’t until his junior undergraduate year that Frank entertained a modest renaissance—turning his attention somewhat back towards balancing music with school and beginning nominal employment of YouTube to broadcast individual pieces in lieu of a formal concert setting. After a time, Frank made contact with young regulars of the ragtime festival circuit, Will Perkins and Max Keenlyside, who encouraged him to seek out performance opportunities at ragtime festivals as well.

Though it took some months for him to synthesize his college routine with the rejuvenated musical one, Frank did repair his repertoire and expanded his horizons accordingly. Frank made his ragtime festival debut in 2011, performing at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri. Since then Frank has appeared at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California and the Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival in Columbia, Missouri. Frank continues to compose music, both ragtime and otherwise, and has used his immersion in ragtime culture to develop his compositional skills. Frank is currently a graduate student researcher of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the University of Rhode Island. He is also a faculty member at his alma mater, the Knapp School of Music, teaching ragtime piano.