The overall name of our organization, The American Ragtime Ensemble, should not be interpreted to imply that only ragtime music is in our repertoire, or that there is a set number of musicians. The original conception in 1973 was in a ragtime setting, and it developed into what is now more accurately described as a salon orchestra of varying sizes from one musician to many. Our comprehensive library of original historic, authentic orchestrations includes:
Ragtime, including the rags of Scott Joplin, James Scott, Joseph Lamb, Eubie Blake, Tom Turpin, Arthur Marshall and hundreds of their contemporaries, and the rags of later years and modern times
Dance music, including the dances of the Napoleonic, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras, plus the popular ballroom dances of the 1880s to the 1930s, including dozens of dance styles, from “animal” dances to the zulueta; we are available for dance lessons, classes and demonstrations
Salon music, from the dance and concert traditions of approximately 25 countries, featuring music from the tea rooms of Great Britain, the imperial salons of Europe, the dance halls of South America, and much more
Show music, selected from the early years of vaudeville and Broadway, 1900 to the 1950s
Specials, including a complete collection of national anthems, official and patriotic songs, traditional ethnic and religious music, gypsy, novelty, and many other specific categories
In addition, of course, we provide traditional chamber music combinations: string, woodwind and brass trios and quartets, Baroque and Renaissance groups, and vocalists.
The number of musicians and instrumentations are very flexible. I perform both as a solo strolling violinist and as violinist/leader of a small or large ensemble. The ensemble may comprise any number of musicians as the situation, space and budget allow. Generally, it includes strings, winds, piano and rhythm, in many combinations. For example, a typical medium-sized orchestra of the period (11 musicians) would call for two violins, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, cornet, trombone, piano and drums. An increase to 16 musicians would add oboe, bassoon, French horn and banjo or guitar. Larger ensemble sizes are of course available.
I contract musicians, and in this function I can provide a specific instrument or group, find musicians for a last-minute emergency, or provide players of unusual or exotic instruments. Also, I am a long-time member of The Divertimento Dance Orchestra, which is also available for vintage dance instruction and full-scale theme balls.