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02/02/2015

This spring, you'll want to "ankle" quickly to Mississippi State University Libraries for the ninth annual Charles Templeton Ragtime & Jazz Festival – it's the "bee's knees!" Dress up in '20s fashion and be an "Oliver Twist" on the dance floor at the second annual Gatsby Gala, enjoy performances from some of the country's most talented pianists, and learn more about ragtime, jazz and early American music at a number of lectures.

Previously an event exclusively featuring piano and concentrating mainly on ragtime, the festival is spreading its wings to include more instruments and styles. Look forward to the sounds of Stride, Boogie, Blues, Novelty, Swing, New Orleans Jazz, some Gershwin and of course, a healthy serving of Ragtime. From the wild, hot piano of Dr. Dave Majchrzak to the pastel-tinged Art Deco pianisms of Richard Dowling, from the torrid New Orleans Rag, Jazz and Blues heritage of Scott Kirby to the impressive eclecticism of Ivory&Gold®, this year's Templeton Festival truly has something for everyone!

The festival features the Charles H. Templeton Sr. Collection and Museum in MSU Libraries, which houses over 22,000 pieces of sheet music, 200 musical instruments, and unique musical memorabilia from the 1880s to the 1930s. The collection highlights the industry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when ragtime dominated popular American music.

Events kick off with the Gatsby Gala on Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m., featuring a fashion show of '20s designs created by students in the Apparel, Textile and Merchandising program. A series of Templeton Museum tours, seminars and silent movies will be held throughout the day and evening concerts featuring our guest performers will be held in the evenings, Friday, March 27 and Saturday, March 28. Daytime events and the Gatsby Gala will be held in Mitchell Memorial Library, and the concerts will be held at the McComas Hall Auditorium on the MSU Campus.

The 2015 performers include three solo artists and one duo, each with a distinctive interpretation of ragtime, jazz and other music genres. 

Richard Dowling

Richard Dowling appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals and concerts with orchestras. Dowling, a Steinway artist, has been acclaimed by audiences for his elegant and exciting style of playing which earns him frequent return engagements. An artist of rising international stature, Dowling has presented solo recitals in the Far East, Australia, Africa, and Europe, including six performance tours in France. He has received nationwide attention for recitals seen on the PBS television program Debut, and heard on the NPR radio program Performance Today. In New York, Dowling has performed in Central Park and in recitals at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, the 92nd Street Y, Steinway Hall, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Trinity Church, the Metropolitan Museum, the Metropolitan Club, the Brooklyn Conservatory, and Concordia College. http://www.richard-dowling.com/.

Ivory&Gold®

Ivory&Gold® features returning solo artist Jeff Barnhart, this time joined by his wife, Anne. Praised by The L.A. Jazz Scene as a musical duo that can "draw out the beauty in the rich melodies and play the music...with taste, sensitivity, and a real affection for the idiom," Ivory&Gold® celebrates the greatest examples of American jazz, blues, ragtime, Broadway and hits from the Great American Songbook. Internationally renowned American musical performer and historian Max Morath calls them "musically flawless." Ivory&Gold® has played to packed houses on 6 of the 7 continents in every imaginable scenario. This husband-and-wife team continues to thrill audiences with music, historical anecdotes and humor, enjoying a hectic schedule of concert, festival, and private home appearances. The Barnharts' versatility and rapport create an incomparable listening experience for all ages and in all settings, from an intimate 20-person gathering to a 2,000-patron event. http://www.ivoryandgold.net.

Scott Kirby

Scott Kirby specializes in American and Pan-American musical traditions that span 150 years. From the inventive compositions of New Orleans genius Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Classic Ragtime, Cuban Danzas, Brazilian Tangos of Ernesto Nazareth and Creole styles from the Caribbean, to contemporary works by Kirby, the Pan-American umbrella is full of color and variety. Kirby weaves these styles with historical and cultural background that shows the connections and cross-influences that have occurred in the Western Hemisphere for hundreds of years, and have influenced not only American Popular Music, but also American Classical and Art Music composers. Considered "today's best player of Scott Joplin's music" (Trebor Tichenor, author of Rags and Ragtime), Kirby has appeared at every major ragtime festival in the U.S., plus events in Hungary, Norway, New Zealand, France, England and Belgium. http://scottkirby.net/.

Dave Majchrzak

Dave Majchrzak began playing the piano at age 6. His sister had been playing for some time and he found the piano irresistible, so, his parents started him in lessons. Although not classically trained, his early teachers instructed him in chord theory and in applying that to improvisation.

Majchrzak graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986 and began practicing in Indianapolis, Ind. Struck by the "Ragtime Bug," He returned to the St. Louis Riverfront and to his spot in the Don Scherrer Banjo Bands. In that role, Majchrzak has performed at every Veiled Prophet Fair on the St. Louis Riverfront and continues to perform on the excursion boats. He performs with the St. Louis Stompers Classic Jazz Band in St Louis and national festivals from Florida to California. While holding down his spot in the rhythm section, Majchrzak also does most of the band's arrangements. Don Franz, the St. Louis Ragtimers' tuba player, introduced Majchrzak to the late Jan Hamilton Douglas, and that experience, and his relationship with Franz, led to meeting the great Trebor Tichenor and Al Stricker, two other members of the St. Louis Ragtimers. With Trebor's assistance, he gained an invite to the Scott Joplin International Festival in 2000 and hasn't looked back since. http://www.ragtimedrdave.com/.

The Festival is sponsored by grants from the Starkville Area Arts Council, Greater Starkville Partnership Development and the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.  Tickets are available for daily events, evening concerts, and for the entire festival online at http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime. For questions or concerns, contact Lynda Graham at lgraham@library.msstate.edu or (662) 325-6634.