A musical celebration of Scott Joplin’s heritage kicks off Black History month in Northeast Texas and at Texarkana College. The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra presents Rhythm & Ragtime, a tribute concert commemorating the legacy of Scott Joplin’s music, on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Perot Theatre. Ragtime, jazz and big-band music will be featured along with nationally acclaimed guest pianist Scott Kirby. On February 2 at 11 a.m., TSO will offer a free concert preview at Texarkana College’s Music Hall featuring guest pianist Scott Kirby and local soprano Candace Taylor.
“Scott Joplin put Texarkana on the world musical map over 100 years ago,” said Marc-André Bougie, TSO Conductor and TC music instructor, “but having internationally acclaimed pianist Scott Kirby with us on the TC campus for a free preview show is also a momentous occasion.”
Fellow pianists, including music giant George Winston, admire Kirby for his talent and his dedication to keeping ragtime music alive today. Time Magazine recognized him as an “ace pianist” and CBS News reported that he was “one of the best interpreters of ragtime music on the scene today.”
“Kirby is very familiar with Scott Joplin’s legacy, having served as Musical Director of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri,” Bougie said. “TSO’s concert on Saturday night will not only feature Kirby’s talent but also many local musicians who have made their mark in jazz music and performance.”
During the TSO’s Rhythm & Ragtime concert on Feb. 4, patrons will hear selections including a piece composed for player-piano by another Texarkana music giant, Conlon Nancarrow. The Texarkana Jazz Orchestra and soprano Candace Taylor will join TSO on stage for jazz/big band selections including classics such as From this Moment On, Georgia, The Look of Love, and others.
Bougie said TSO is at the forefront of commemorating the 100th year of Joplin’s death by featuring Kirby and his brand-new medley of famous Joplin rags arranged for piano and orchestra. Joplin (1867-1917), an African-American composer and pianist known as the founder and king of ragtime music, was born in rural Northeast Texas and raised in Texarkana. After Joplin’s death, his music legacy evolved into other popular styles including jazz and big band swing.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work alongside Scott Kirby to present this special concert to our community,” Bougie said. “As an instructor at Texarkana College, I am especially grateful for his willingness to share his talent with students. It is a perfect way to kick off Black History Month and celebrate our region’s heritage and local talent at the same time.”
The February 2 TSO Preview Concert to be held in TC’s Music Hall located in the Humanities Building is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public with limited seating. Tickets are on sale now at the Perot Theatre box office for the February 4 TSO Rhythm & Ragtime concert. Tickets may also be reserved by calling 903.792.4992.