About The Northern Virginia Ragtime Society

The Northern Virginia Ragtime Socitey (NVRS) was founded in December 1979 for the purpose of promoting an interest in classical ragtime and related forms of music. Over the intervening years, the NVRS has presented more than one hundred fifty performances featuring some of the leading professional ragtime artists as well as top local musicians.

Since its inception, the NVRS has performed on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis at the Jordan Kitts Studio , in the Merrifield area of Fairfax County, Virginia.

In June 1985 the NVRS was instrumental in persuading the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp honoring Scott Joplin, the King of Ragtime Composers. The issuance of the Joplin stamp proved to be the catalyst that brought about the rebirth of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Mo. The Society takes a broad view of ragtime to include various forms of music composed during the Ragtime era [1897-1917] as well as types that evolved from, or developed out of, classical ragtime; such as jazz, blues, gospel, novelty, stride and syncopated piano.

In its efforts to keep alive America’s first original published music, the Society continually strives to maintain the highest quality of musicianship in its presentations. In recent years it has sponsored such outstanding artists as: Brian Dykstra, head of the piano department at Wooster College [Ohio] and graduate of both the Juilliard and Eastman Conservatories; Jonathan Jensen, member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Andrew Fielding, internationally-acclaimed pianist; Tony Caramia, Associate Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music; and Dr. Randy Eyles and Dr. Keith Young, marimba and saxophone virtuosos, respectively, of the United States Air Force Band. In 1996 the Society sponsored Dick Hyman, renowned pianist, organist, arranger, conductor and composer; Dr. Terry Parrish, distinguished ragtime piano artist; and Artis Wodehouse, recognized Gershwin authority and recording specialist.

The Society has performed as part of the First Night Celebration in Charlottesville, VA on three occasions; in the Spotlight on the Arts and the Old Town Hall series in the City of Fairfax, and has participated in five Call To the Arts Telethons sponsored jointly by the Arts Council of Fairfax and Media General Cable. The NVRS also collaborates with other local performing arts groups in joint performances. Alex Hassan and John Petley, top NVRS pianists, have joined resident and guest artists of the Potomac Valley Theatre Organ Society in presentations of American music from the turn of the century though the 1920s at the Harris Theatre on the campus of George Mason University.