The Charles H. Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, now in its 6th year, delivers all of this and more. 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.
Concerts, "living room" sessions, and lectures center around the unique Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Collection in MSU Libraries, home of more than 22,000 pieces of sheet music, 200 musical instruments, and extensive memorabilia from the 1800s-1930s. All document the distinctly American approach to the "business of music."
The 2012 Festival featured four artists returning to the Templeton Festival and one making his first Festival appearance.
Jeff Barnhart is a highly regarded pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, pedagogue, and entertainer who appears as a soloist and band pianist at parties, festivals, clubs, and cruises in all corners of the globe. Due to his versatility, vast repertoire, and vibrant energy, Jeff is in increasing demand as a participant in all-star jazz ensembles around the world and has recorded as both pianist and vocalist on over 75 full-length albums.
Brian Holland has performed ragtime, jazz, and stride piano for almost 30 years. Classically trained (and Grammy Award-nominated) but with a keen ear for improvisation, Holland has a dynamic, driving style that has been described as "clear as Waterford crystal." He has been named a World Old-Time Piano Playing Champion three times and, now a retired champion, serves as a judge for the competition. Most recently, Holland has gone international with performances in Rwanda and a subsequent recording project on the Mohawk Productions label.
Carl Sonny Leyland discovered boogie woogie at age 15 and was inspired to go to the piano and begin on a path that would become his life's purpose. Whether solo or with his trio, the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Leyland's playing displays an infectious spontaneity, providing plenty of surprises. While he possesses the necessary vocabulary to pay tribute to the greats of old, Leyland refuses to limit himself to this and prefers to let each performance be an opportunity to say something new.
Martin Spitznagel has been hailed as a remarkable, astonishing, and "face-melting" musical talent. His virtuosic technique, sophisticated touch, and sparkling repertoire have left audiences across the country enthralled. Spitznagel, who has been a featured performer at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, the Indiana Ragtime Festival, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, and New York's Ragtime-Jasstime Festival, just to name a few, is the 2007 winner of the World Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and the 2010 winner of the Scott Joplin Foundation's "Train Town Rag" composition contest.
David Jasen is one of 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. An adviser to the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival since its inception, Jasen brings an extraordinary knowledge of ragtime and history, enriching the Festival experience and providing a dimension rarely seen in other Festivals.
Festival participants will join a host of loyal fans in Starkville for an event that is fast becoming known as one of the best of its type. Evening concerts will be featured in Lee Hall's historic Bettersworth Auditorium, while the daytime sessions and tours of the Templeton Collection will be held in Mitchell Memorial Library.
The 6th annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival was sponsored by the Mississippi State University Libraries, the Charles Templeton, Sr. Music Museum, the Starkville Area Arts Council, the Rotary Club of Starkville, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, and, in part, by grants from the Mississippi Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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