David Reffkin was affiliated for a few years with the historic Community Music Center in San Francisco. His role in the half-time position of Associate Program Director brought together his long experience as a musician, teacher, and project leader for the school’s 2600 students and 120 teachers. Among his many duties, he helped create projects that connect students in private lessons to ensemble classes, and that best utilize the talents and interests of faculty members. The CMC was founded in 1921 and provides music lessons and classes to people of all ages, regardless of financial condition. This appointment closed a musical circle for David, in the sense that one of his first engagements as a violinist in San Francisco was as the concertmaster of the CMC Orchestra in 1978.
Ragtime Chamber Music, the pioneering 1975 recording of The American Ragtime Ensemble, is available as a CD direct from ensemble director David. See the Music tab for samples of music from this recording. Please order through the Contact tab, and we’ll arrange to send it to you.
David is producer of Essays in Ragtime: The Music of Brun Campbell, a recording of the collected works by the ragtime pioneer and piano student of Scott Joplin. The American Ragtime Ensemble performs David’s newly-created orchestrations of Campbell’s works. Other players include Campbell expert Richard Egan on piano solos, and two vocalists who premier seven newly-discovered songs. Campbell himself is heard on four rare 78 rpm discs, and an unusual vintage recorded tribute rounds out the playlist. The CD is on the Rivermont Records label. It’s the companion disc for the publication of the definitive biography, Brun Campbell: The Original Ragtime Kid, by Larry Karp (McFarland). David was a draft reviewer and editor of the manuscript. (Larry often commented that David should have been designated be the co-author.) You can order the disc from rivermontrecords.com, or directly from David through the Contact page in this Website.
Slowing the Entropy* of Your Sheet Music Collection is one of David’s latest seminars delivered at ragtime festivals and elsewhere. Earth, air, fire, water and tiny bad stuff can turn your valuable rags and photos to dust, glop or psychedelic colors. Learn simple, effective ways to keep your materials safe and healthy by recognizing the signs of infestation and digestion. Determine when it’s time to take the patient to the conservator’s ER. Know your acid from a hole in the page. This seminar will count as college credit toward a pH in music restoration. Check the handout for this seminar with lots of tips on the care and feeding of your papers and photos.
*Entropy is the measure of disorder in a system, such as the arrangement of molecules in paper. See, you learned something already!
“The Stunning Legends and Secret Legacies of Bob Wright” is the title of a seminar given by David at the 2015 West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California. Wright was genuine musical genius, and a profoundly reclusive character. David was in close contact with Bob by phone during the last part of his life. The seminar details his extraordinary career, illustrated with many interesting and rare recordings – from a person who issued only one commercial recording, made at his home in the 1960s and eventually issued on the Stomp Off label.
San Francisco composer Jerry Gerber’s CD, Virtual Harmonics, includes liner notes by David. This electronic music project is one of many recordings available through Jerry’s Website.
David was honored as a “Legend of Ragtime,” along with Max Morath, Dick Zimmerman, and Terry Waldo, at the 2016 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri. He moderated a two-hour panel discussion on the first two years of the festival (1974-1975) that all the honorees had attended. David, a founder of the festival, is the only musician who has appeared at every single one of the 39 events held to date. He interviewed others who were at the early festivals, and all these activities were video recorded for a permanent archive to be established in Sedalia.
A packed house attended David’s recital of novelties, rags and salon pieces for the Northern Virginia Ragtime Society in Fairfax on July 17, 2016. President of the organization, and novelty piano expert, Alex Hassan, accompanied. The program included a recent find at the Library of Congress, an original work, and rarely heard hot violin solos of the era.