Ragtime Jazz Festival to 'razzle-dazzle' campus

Dynamic musical showmanship and toe-tapping entertainment again are on the schedule for the sixth annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival at Mississippi State.

Taking place on the university campus March 30-31, the major spring event includes evening concerts in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium, along with daytime sessions and tours at the Templeton Music Museum in Mitchell Memorial Library.

To view the performance schedule and purchase tickets for the individual programs--or entire festival--visit https://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/tkts/index.html.

"This signature festival features some of the most talented pianists around in a setting that has come to be known for its warmth, hospitality, and uniqueness," said festival coordinator Stephen Cunetto.

"All events center around the Templeton Collection, home of more than 22,000 pieces of sheet music, 200 instruments and extensive memorabilia from the 1800s--1930s. All document the distinctly American approach to the 'business of music,'" added Cunetto, systems administrator for MSU Libraries.

The 2012 schedule includes four returning artists and one making his first campus appearance. They include:

--Jeff Barnhart. A highly regarded pianist, vocalist, arranger, band leader, recording artist, composer, pedagogue, and entertainer, he appears regularly as a soloist and band pianist for international parties, festivals, clubs, and cruises. When not performing, Barnhart has recorded as both a pianist and vocalist on more than 75 full-length albums.

--Brian Holland. A ragtime, jazz, and stride pianist for almost 30 years, he is a classically trained and Grammy Award-nominated performer with a keen ear for improvisation. With a driving style described as "clear as Waterford crystal," the three-time World Old-Time Piano Playing Champion now serves as a judge for the competition. Most recently, Holland has been featured with performances in the African nation of Rwanda and a subsequent recording project on the Mohawk Productions label.

--David Jasen. Among the most highly regarded authorities on ragtime music, he is a collector of books, recordings, piano rolls, periodicals, catalogs, and sheet music that cover the gamut of American popular music. Jasen also has served as an adviser to the Templeton Festival since its inception.

--Carl Sonny Leyland. After discovering boogie-woogie at age 15, he was inspired to go to the piano and begin on a path that became his life's purpose. Whether solo or with the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, his play typically involves a spontaneity that provides many happy surprises.

--Martin Spitznagel. Praised for his virtuosic technique, sophisticated touch and sparkling repertoire, he has been a featured performer at the Scott Joplin International, Indiana and West Coast ragtime festivals, as well as at New York's Ragtime-Jasstime Festival, among others. Spitznagel--who is performing at MSU for the first time--won the World Old-Time Piano Playing and Scott Joplin Foundation's "Train Town Rag" Composition contests in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

In addition to the MSU Libraries and Templeton Music Museum, the festival is sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council, Rotary Club of Starkville and Greater Starkville Development Partnership. In part, additional sponsorships also are provided by the Mississippi Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

For additional ticket or schedule information, contact planning committee member Lyle Tate at 662-325-2559 or ltate@library.msstate.edu.

Allison Matthews | University Relations

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