Bryan Wright, a doctoral candidate in musicology, recently returned from spending a week-and-a-half in Kansas and Missouri as the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation's 2013 Artist in Residence. Every year, the Scott Joplin Foundation invites a performer to Sedalia, Missouri (where Scott Joplin lived for several years and where he composed and published his Maple Leaf Rag). Each day for a week, Wright traveled to area schools (K-12) to teach the students about ragtime and to perform examples. According to Wright, his goal was
“… to teach the students something of their local ragtime history, while showing that people of all ages and backgrounds continue to compose and play ragtime today.”
Over the course of the week, he visited twelve schools, giving two or three presentations at each one. His wife (and fellow doctoral candidate) Yuko Eguchi-Wright traveled with him and they performed together at some of the schools with Bryan playing the piano and Yuko singing.
In a story about Wright’s residency, the Sedalia Democrat observed that the students were very engaged, noting that the
“… performance at Skyline Elementary School had plenty of dancing. The students were encouraged to snap, whistle, and clap as Wright played a few better-known ragtime songs.”
Sedalia News-Journal photographer Randy Kirby provided an extensive photo essay of Wright’s presentation as well.
The residency in Sedalia culminated with a formal evening concert and Wright was also invited to give concerts before and after the AIR week in Kansas City and St. Louis.
Bryan Wright’s research interests range from Renaissance motets to American popular music styles of the early 20th century. He is also interested in Middle Eastern music and Appalachian "old-time" music. As a pianist, he has performed at numerous ragtime and jazz festivals, including the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City and the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in Sedalia. Wright has released two solo CDs (Syncopated Musings in 2004 and Breakin' Notes in 2010) and a 78 rpm record set of the "Modern Piano Solos" of Bix Beiderbecke. He is founder of Rivermont Records, a Grammy-nominated record label specializing in ragtime and early jazz. Visit him online at: www.bryanswright.com.