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Scott Kirby

"Critics call [Scott Kirby] one of the best interpreters of ragtime music on the scene today."

- Charles Osgood,
  CBS News Sunday Morning, 1998

Main Street Souvenirs

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Sneak Peek Video

Welcome to Scott Kirby's "Main Street Souvenirs," a musical and cinematic celebration of Classic Americana. We will explore 150 years of music through Kirby's live piano performances of some of America's greats - including Stephen Foster, John Philip Sousa and the ragtime of Scott Joplin. The music and narratives will be accompanied by a video featuring nostalgic archival images from America's past, as well as stunning photography, and Kirby's own spectacular watercolor paintings of the Great Plains that "touch the soul of the heartland." Baseball games and barbershops, Prairie churches, concerts in the park, and one room schoolhouses - it's all here on Main Street.

"With 'Main Street Souvenirs' Scott Kirby has created a stunning theatrical concert. This superbly talented entertainer blends his skills as an artist, pianist, composer, and historian, in a show that evokes the American past and its music with longing and affection."

- Max Morath

"It was a musical history lesson along with pure, raw, creative genius. Scott's music combined with his multi-media presentation was mesmerizing."

- Allison Nichols, Northeastern Arts Network, Montana

Pan-American Piano

Scott Kirby specializes in American and Pan-American musical traditions that span 150 years. From the inventive compositions of New Orleans genius Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Classic Ragtime, Cuban Danzas, Brazilian Tangos of Ernesto Nazareth and Creole styles from the Caribbean, to contemporary works by Kirby himself, the Pan-American umbrella is full of color and variety. Kirby weaves these styles together with historical and cultural background that shows the connections and cross-influences that have been occurring in the Western Hemisphere for hundreds of years, and have influenced not only American Popular Music, but also American Classical and Art Music composers.

"I cannot recommend Scott Kirby more highly to you. His knowledge is endless and his performing outstanding."

- Brigitte Blachère, The Smithsonian Institute

Scott Kirby piano music

Ragtime, Blues and Americana

Kirby has achieved a rarified status as a performer of ragtime and related American styles. Considered "Today's best player of Scott Joplin's music" (Trebor Tichenor, author of Rags and Ragtime), Kirby has appeared at every major ragtime festival in the U.S., plus events in Hungary, Norway, New Zealand, France, England and Belgium. His unique presentation highlights the worlds of Classic Ragtime, New Orleans Jazz, and Blues, then expands to include the marches of John Philip Sousa, the songs of Stephen Foster, Latin-American styles, Afro-Cuban rhythms, European Romanticism, Rock & Roll and Original works ranging from the syncopated to the impressionistic. Kirby's sense of Americana is enhanced by his historical commentary, and also by his art work, a series of watercolors entitled "Visions of the Great Plains," which he presents in either an accompanying exhibit or in a video presentation during the show.

"In Scott Kirby's playing we encounter the very essence of ragtime. He is the embodiment of the Scott Joplin ideal."

- Edward A. Berlin, Author of King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era.

Original Compositions

Scott Kirby has composed over 150 works for solo piano and other instruments, which fall into several categories. The early works follow the example of Scott Joplin and the Classic Ragtime composers, but with a decidedly contemporary harmonic sensibility. Later, using Louis Moreau Gottschalk as a model, Kirby began to draw from a wider variety of Pan-American traditions, Latin-American rhythms, afro-caribbean syncopation, and European Romantic influence. This Terre Verde music naturally morphed into a new style that incorporated less syncopation but more distinctive melodic content - a new and highly romanticized Americana. Some of these works may even be considered "rural impressionism," and many were directly inspired by the Great Plains and prairies of the heartland. Finally, the romantic sensibility, as well as Baroque, Classical, and even Pop Music influences, led into a Minimalist-Romantic language which draws heavily from the land-music connection, and from Kirby's own spiritual journey - one that (like his music) seeks truth in the process itself.

"Scott Kirby's recording CHARBONNEAU is beautiful and shows another side of him, from the wonderful title song and his other compositions, to his great interpretations of known and obscure gems by other composers."

- George Winston, 2005

Scott Kirby specializes in American and Pan-American musical genres, combining the worlds of classical, folk, and popular music.

This family of styles includes:

  • Classic Ragtime
  • Brazilian Tango
  • Blues
  • Traditional Jazz
  • Creole
  • Americana
  • Original Compositions

...and features works by:

  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk
  • Stephen Foster
  • Scott Joplin
  • John Philip Sousa
  • Hector Villa Lobos
  • Ernesto Nazareth
  • Jelly Roll Morton, and many more...

As a performer, Kirby is also an educator, providing historical context and musical insight as programs unfold. As a composer, he combines elements of romantic tradition with classic Americana and rural impressionism. His watercolor paintings draw from traditional American imagery, with their visionary depiction of the Great Plains of North America.

"Ace pianist."

- Time Magazine, August 1992

"... Kirby sounds like Chopin."

- Jeff Bradley, The Denver Post, 1997

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