The Sting at 40: A Sure Bet That Paid 29-to-1

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The Sting accomplished what no other motion picture ever did: It thoroughly revitalized and re-popularized an entire genre of music. Join us for this expert account of how an original American creation - ragtime - became a pop music phenomenon, as it had been some 70 years earlier.

Lecturer David Reffkin traces the history that led to the extensive use of ragtime in the movie score, the overnight rise of Scott Joplin's music (particularly "The Entertainer") on the record charts, the extent of its influence on our culture, and the rebirth of ragtime as a compositional form. Along the way he clarifies the roles of director George Roy Hill and composer Marvin Hamlisch and will detail some of the contemporaneous reviews, awards, misperceptions, and long-lasting effects - intended and otherwise - of The Sting.

About the lecturer:  David Reffkin is the director of The American Ragtime Ensemble, founded in 1973, with expertise in the history of orchestration and performance of music from the early 1900s.  For 30 years he produced and hosted the weekly radio broadcast, The Ragtime Machine, and has served as writer, contributing editor and recipient of the reader-selected award of ‘Best Ragtime Journalist' for The Mississippi Rag.  David was one of the musicians who founded the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974, organizing and directing the festival All-Star Orchestra.  In 2006 he received the Scott Joplin Award “for outstanding achievement in research, performance, and advancement of ragtime.”


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