Jazz percussionist Danny Coots, who has recorded extensively and appeared in over 100 countries, began playing drums at the tender age of six. Since then he has studied percussion with Nick Baffaro, Rich Holly, Alan Koffman, and Jim Petercsak, in addition to attending the Crane School of Music and St. Lawrence University. He has also served as adjunct faculty member at St. Lawrence, Clarkson University, and Potsdam State University. A Nashville resident since 1996, he joined the Jack Daniel's Silver Cornet Band for five years and helped found the Titan Hot Seven. He has played on over 100 recordings — one of which one a Grammy — and has performed with, among many, many others, Bob Darch, Neville Dickie, Vince Giordano, and Dick Hyman. He and Brian Holland perform together frequently.
Richard Dowling appears regularly across America in solo recitals, at classical chamber music festivals, ragtime/jazz music festivals, and as guest soloist in concerto engagements with symphony orchestras. Career highlights include New York appearances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, and a special award from the National Federation of Music Clubs recognizing his outstanding performances of American music. Works of Chopin, Ravel, Gershwin, and ragtime figure prominently in his repertoire. Mr. Dowling is also a versatile recording artist with over a dozen CDs of classical, chamber, ragtime, jazz, and popular music. As a sheet-music editor for Ludwig/Masters and Alfred music publishers, he has produced numerous critical performing editions of both classical and ragtime piano music. As a Piatigorsky Foundation Artist since 1994 he has performed well over 1,000 recitals across 22 states. He lives in New York and is a Steinway Artist.
Frederick Hodges trained as a concert pianist, but he has established a reputation as a versatile artist equally sought after as soloist, singer, and dance-band pianist. His repertoire includes all the best ragtime, stride, and novelty piano solo pieces. He has appeared on national television and radio, as well as in several Hollywood films. He is also a silent-film accompanist for live performances and on DVD. Frederick has participated in many prestigious festivals, including the West Coast Ragtime Festival, the Blind Boone Festival in Columbia, Mo., the Templeton Ragtime Festival at Mississippi State University, and the Sedalia Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.
Brian Holland is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, recording artist, and entertainer who has enjoyed a music career spanning more than 35 years. After spending his formative years playing in pizza parlors and clubs throughout Indiana, his career flourished when he discovered the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. In 1999, he won his third title and was retired as “undefeated.” He has since returned three times to serve on the judges panel, most recently in 2014. He has also played with some of the hottest jazz bands in the U.S. — Titan Hot Seven, Wally's Warehouse Waifs, the Holland Rhythm Company, and others — and has traveled all over the world performing his creative styles of jazz, ragtime, stride, boogie, and blues. Most recently Brian and drummer Danny Coots have formed a musical partnership, and together they are quickly building a reputation as the fun and musical duo, Holland & Coots. Brian has 15 recordings (solo and ensemble) to his credit, and garnered a Grammy nomination for his work with Bud Dresser on their album, "Ragtime — Goodtime — Jazz."" (Photo by Steve Tsuchiya)
Daniel Souvigny is an award-winning pianist from Hampshire, Ill. He began piano lessons at the age of 5, and currently studies classical, jazz, and ragtime music. He is a three-time Junior Champ of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest in Peoria, Ill. In 2016, at the age of 15, he became the youngest to ever take second place in the adult division of the contest (which has moved to Oxford, Miss). Daniel also won the audience vote that determines First Place in the competition's Cutting Contest. In 2014, he was awarded First Place in the Illinois State Talent Competition's Junior Division. Daniel has also performed at the West Coast Ragtime Festival, in Sacramento, Cal.; the Eau Claire, Wis., Ragtime Festival; the Eagles and Ivories Ragtime Weekend, in Muscatine, Iowa; the Blind Boone Festival, in Columbia, Mo.; and the Scott Joplin Festival, in Sedalia, Mo. His first CD, "Tearing' Up the Keys," was released in 2013, and in 2015 he released his second album, "Possibilities," featuring fellow festival headliner Danny Coots.
Bryan Wright is a pianist and musicologist and was the 2013 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation's artist in residence. A native of Lynchburg, Va., Bryan was classically trained as a pianist and now specializes in ragtime and early jazz piano styles. With his wife, Yuko, he has performed and lectured on ragtime across the United States and abroad, and he has released two full-length solo CDs, Syncopated Musings and Breakin' Notes. He is founder and executive producer of Rivermont Records, a Grammy-nominated label specializing in ragtime and early jazz. Bryan holds degrees in historical musicology from the College of William and Mary and the University of Pittsburgh, where he recently earned his Ph.D.
Yuko Eguchi Wright
Yuko Eguchi Wright is a native of Tokyo, Japan, and recently earned her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh. Since the age of three, Yuko has studied classical ballet and piano, including a healthy dose of Scott Joplin. In her early teens, she began to study the Japanese tea ceremony. She earned the tea master title Soyu in 2009 and in 2013 earned the title assistant professor from the Urasenke school. Yuko has also studied Japanese geisha music and dance and received the kouta master title Kasuga Toyo Yoshiyu in 2012. Yuko enjoys performing songs from the ragtime era with her husband, Bryan, and she loves making new friends at the festival. Visit Yuko online at yukoeguchi.com.
2016 Special Guests
Tom Alvord comes to this year's Central Pennsylvania Ragtime & American Music Festival highly recommended. He is a singer, banjo player, and all-around entertainer who loves to involve audiences in singing, stories, and sometimes even dancing, all with great old American music. His favorite songs are from about 1850 through the 1970s, but with a little extra attention to the 1930s and 40s.
Angelina and Ashley Leyva
Angelina and Ashley Leyva are 10-year-old identical twins from Paramus, N.J. They started piano lessons at the age of 5 and immediately they fell in love with music, quickly realizing that playing together sounded twice as nice. By age 6, they found they loved entertaining others, too, especially people who could not believe that two little girls could play like adults even though their feet didn't reach the floor. Today, Angelina and Ashley play piano, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, and trombone, and they sing as well. They are currently in fifth grade, playing trombone in a jazz band with the seventh and eighth graders at their middle school. They also play in a rock band called the Chips. Angelina and Ashley participated this year in the duet contest at the World Championship Old Time Piano Playing Contest in Oxford, Miss.
Steve Standiford has had a long journey in ragtime since he discovered it at the age of 16. The following year he became incredibly popular as people learned he could play "that music from The Sting." He played all sorts of music to pay the bills while he was in college, but his musical career took a hiatus during medical school and training. A native of Trenton, N.J., he landed in Missouri, in the cradle of ragtime. He polished up his ragtime chops, began attending the Scott Joplin Festival, and has performed there every year since 1997. He has also played most of the other ragtime festivals, including those that are no longer around, and he has been a featured performer at the Great Rivers Jazz Festival and in solo concerts in Missouri, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He plays piano, string bass, tuba, and does vocals for several Dixieland and Traditional Jazz bands. He now lives in Glenside, Pa., and is a cancer surgeon and Chief Medical Officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia.