Joshua Rifkin

22 April 1944, New York (USA), Rifkin, a pianist, musicologist and arranger, was instrumental in reviving the interest in Scott Joplin, the composer of ragtime music. Rifkin was a student at Princeton, New York University, Gottingen University, and Juilliard School of Music in the 1960s. He also worked with Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, Darmstadt, on composition. He also played ragtime, piano jazz, and was a member the Even Dozen Jug Band, which recorded for Elektra Records. He also conducted The Baroque Beatles for Elektra. These were classical versions of John Lennon songs. He also orchestrated and conducted Wildflowers and other recordings for Judy Collins. He was named Professor of Music at Brandeis University, Massachusetts, in 1970. He also served as musical director for Elektra’s ancillary, Nonesuch Records. Rifkin performed at the Lincoln Centre’s highly successful An Evening With Scott Joplin the following year. He released three Piano Rags by Scott Joplin from 1970 to 1974. These were awarded Stereo Review and Billboard Record Of The Year awards. They also coincided with The Sting (1973), which featured ‘The Entertainer,’ as well as several other Joplin tunes. The soundtrack was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, another Juilliard ‘old guy’. This movie, along with Rifkin’s albums and Gunther Schuller’s New England Conservatory Jazz Repertory Orchestra and Ragtime Ensemble, won seven Academy Awards. It sparked a national revival of Joplin’s work. Rifkin continued to work in the classical world, conducting concerts, and releasing many albums. Rifkin was also a pioneer in the digital revolution to revive old recordings of ragtime music. From The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Colin Larkin

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