John Reed-Torres

Los Angeles
Updated 10/16/2013

John Reed-Torres was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. 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 Joplin’s '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, John began to teach himself piano throughout his middle school and early high school days. He developed a short repertoire and began to play for friends and at church while simultaneously playing trombone in the high school marching band. He also marched and played trombone in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade (2008-2012).

He worked up performances of a couple Scott Joplin rags as well as some classical pieces, winning first-place awards two years in a row in his school’s talent show. He also played the soundtrack for a short, independent silent film that earned third place at a festival, and won a gold medal at the NAACP/ActSo competition in Los Angeles, which earned him a trip to perform in New York City. That same year (2009), John began music studies at Pasadena City College, where he began formal piano lessons and started to expand his repertoire. He has performed at various venues around Los Angeles and Pasadena, including the Rose Leaf Club, Old Town Music Hall, Xiem Clay Center, Holmans United Methodist Church, and Orange County ragtime societies, as well as the West Coast Ragtime Festival and the Fullerton Ragfest.

John has written three rags and some classical shorts as well. He aspires to become a professional musician, composer, conductor, and mechanical engineer/architect. Being of a diverse ethnic heritage, John aims to acknowledge the links that connect us all, especially those through music. He wants to expound the many aspects of history, especially the history of ragtime, to his generation, so everyone will recognize ragtime as a monumental form in the development of culture and music.

About ragtime, John says, "I really like this music, and it’s very fun to play, I understand its language. I believe that music is a universal language …[with] different dialects… 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.’ That always puts a smile on my face.