Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New World Classics to Stage Scott Joplin's “Treemonisha” in February 2009

[New World Classics publicity photo of “Monisha” in Scott Joplin's “Treemonisha”] announces a new production of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha will be presented by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, whose Founder and Director is Rick Benjamin:

By Rick Benjamin
The main difference between my reconstruction of Scott Joplin's Treemonisha, and the earlier efforts by others is in the orchestration. The pioneering productions of the 1970s and 80s conceived of this work in a very European way, as heavy 'grand opera' using a very large orchestra. In contrast, I see Treemonisha as 'opera' in name only. It is much more an amalgamation of the well-established American traditions of vaudeville, tab-show, melodrama, and minstrelsy, all held together by Joplin's marvelous music. For this, the ideal accompaniment should be provided by the regulation twelve-piece theatre orchestra of that era.”

Rick Benjamin, founder and director of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, leads a multifaceted career as a performer and scholar.” “Mr. Benjamin’s conducting engagements include the NationalSymphony Orchestra of Ireland, New Jersey Symphony, the Olympia Symphony in Washington State, the Aalborg Symphony (Denmark) and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. His articles on popular music have appeared in several periodicals, and his lecture tours take him to colleges and universities throughout the United States. Mr. Benjamin has completed the reconstruction of the lost orchestrations for Scott Joplin's opera 'Treemonisha,' and is continuing work on his book about the music of the Ragtime Era. Rick Benjamin is a member of the music faculty at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Benjamin attended the Juilliard School as a scholarship student.” [The African American Ragtime and Classical Composer Scott Joplin is profiled at] Full Post

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