Listen to the Music

Ragtime Banjo Revival Rehearsal Recordings

Most of the selections are classic or novelty ragtime pieces from US composers. Included here are some classical pieces from the same time period from European composers, and a ragtime piece from an English banjo virtuoso written in 1948, long after the Golden Age of Ragtime had ended. I’m excited to share the stories connecting these pieces as well (e.g. “Russian Rag” is an interpolation of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude”). This music has prompted an interest in history I’ve never felt before, and I feel compelled to share.

100 years ago classic banjo, was the most popular sort of music in the English-speaking world, and today it is all but forgotten. This music has its roots in African-American music that was appropriated for minstrel shows and mingled with other popular styles of European and distinctly American origin. It gave rise to ragtime, which fed into the development of jazz, etc.

Live at New England Conservatory

Watch a video of Ragtime Banjo Revival at the New England Conservatory. Featured here is “Grace and Beauty” by James Scott performed during the sixth annual Gunther Schuller Legacy Concert; a joint presentation of New England Conservatory and the Gunther Schuller Society at NEC’s Jordan Hall in Boston, MA, on November 21, 2023.

Featuring: Aaron Jonah Lewis (banjo) Roman Barten-Sherman (guitar), Giulia Haible (cello), Honor Hickman (flute), Corinne Foley (oboe), Evan Chu (clarinet), Abigail Heyrich (bassoon), Graham Lovely (French horn), Ethan Shen (bass saxophone)

Original arrangements by Aaron Jonah Lewis.