John Reed-Torres

Los Angeles
Updated 9/26/2011

John Reed-Torres was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. He is 20 years old. The first time John recalls hearing a hint of Ragtime was during school recess in fifth grade. An ice cream truck came creeping along to the A theme of Joplinís 'The Entertainer.' John smiles, "Right then and there ragtime bit me, and simultaneously released multiple inner infatuations that I now have for antiquity, ranging from architecture to automobiles."

Shortly after that he was blessed to learn the musical alphabet and the C scale. Lessons werenít available at that time, so he taught himself, exceedingly slowly, throughout his middle school and early high school days, on any piano he could find, including those at his church. He developed a short repertoire and began to play for friends and people at the church, and simultaneously learned to read bass clef and play trombone in the high school marching band. 

As he learned the bass clef, he taught himself the treble clef, and slowly learned the Maple Leaf Rag and Sugar Cane, as well as some classical pieces. This enabled John to compete. He won 1st place two years in a row in the School Talent Show. He also played the sound track for a short, independent silent film that earned 3rd place at a festival, and won a gold medal at the NAACP-ActSo competition in Los Angeles, where he played ďMaple LeafĒ and Mozartís ďTurkish March.Ē That gained John an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where all the gold-medal recipients from across the nation competed. The previous year as a member of his high school's debate team he visited the United Nations where he spoke representing his school and 'our' sentiments regarding pollution and climate change. 

That same year (2009) he began music studies at Pasadena City College where he started to expand his repertoire in classical music and Ragtime, and began his first formal piano lessons. He had to correct many mis-learned mistakes. John began performing at various venues around Los Angeles and Pasadena.

John's influences are Scott Joplin, Bach, Chopin, and James Scott. One of his main goals is to teach and compose. He wants to expand as many aspects of history, especially the history of ragtime, into his generation, so everyone will recognize it as a monumental form in the development of culture and music. This must not be forgotten.

About ragtime, John says, "I really like this music, and itís very fun to play, I understand its language. I believe that music is a universal language which spans the globe, just like food, and art. But different genres are like different dialects of one language, I feel that Ragtime is the dialect that I understand and am able to convey best. I like when people tell me 'you have a good understanding of this genre; it sounds legit.í That always puts a smile on my face. Although my repertoire isnít as vast as I want it to be, Iím working on rags more than ever, especially the rare ones that people donít often play, like the works of James Scott, or Joplinís lesser known Rags."

'Ragtime cannot be stopped; It can only be paused.'