Released: March 11, 2009
Lincoln, Neb. - Just before the beginning of the 20th century, a unique musical form emerged in the United States. As African, European and American cultures blended, ragtime, the first truly American musical genre, was born.
Classically-trained pianist and ragtime enthusiast Jack Oliva explores the origins of ragtime music through history and song in a new NET Television special, "Ragtime Cabaret," premiering Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. CT on NET1 and in high-definition on NET-HD.
During the 30-minute program, Oliva -- Dean of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts -- performs compositions from the first published ragtime tune, The Mississippi Rag (1897) by William H. Krell, to rarely heard Scott Joplin pieces, taking the viewer on a musical and cultural journey exploring the roots of ragtime music and the role of the music business itself.
Oliva explains how the improvised music made popular in the red light districts and saloons of cities like St. Louis and New Orleans by itinerant pianists gradually grew into a sophisticated, composed ragtime style. He details how the piano became a fashionable fixture in homes, and how composers, music publishers, and piano manufacturers all played a role in the development of ragtime.
The program emphasizes the significance of the merging of African, European and American influences into a shared musical culture.
In addition to The Mississippi Rag, Oliva performs Thomas Broady's Whittling Remus (1900), James Scott's Sunburst Rag (1909), and Scott Joplin's Elite Syncopations (1902) and Euphonic Sounds (1909).
"Ragtime Cabaret" will be repeated on NET1 and NET-HD on Sunday, March 29, at 11 p.m. CT, as well as earlier Sunday at 3 p.m. CT on NET2. A selection of the musical offerings from "Ragtime Cabaret" will also be featured on NET Radio's "Nebraska Concerts" series on Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m. CT.
"Ragtime Cabaret" was made possible in part by a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council. NET1, NET-HD and NET2 are part of NET Television. NET Television and NET Radio are services of NET. For a complete television program schedule, visit NET's website.