Max Morath, Pianist Who Staged a One-Man Ragtime Revival, Dies at 96


Mr. Morath appeared on “The Bell Phone Hour,” “Kraft Music Corridor,” “As we speak,” “The Tonight Present” and Arthur Godfrey’s radio and tv applications. A collection of Morath productions — “The Ragtime Years,” “Residing the Ragtime Life,” “The Ragtime Man,” “Ragtime Revisited,” and “Ragtime and Once more” — opened Off Broadway and had been adopted by nationwide excursions.

“I should have performed in 5,000 completely different locations, and lots of of them weren’t all that stylish,” Mr. Morath mentioned in 2019 in an interview for this obituary. “Largely they had been saloons, and it wasn’t all ragtime both. A few of them had been piano bars. If you work a piano bar, you’d higher know 1,500 tunes. You’re taking part in requests. It was Gershwin. Cole Porter. Rodgers and Hart.”

Mr. Morath continued touring till he retired in 2007. By then, he had lengthy been referred to as “Mr. Ragtime,” the unofficial keeper of America’s ragtime legacy.

Requested for a favourite reminiscence from his life in music, he reached again to his childhood.

“Really,” he mentioned after a second’s thought, “it was after I was 7 and I heard my mom play one thing Joplin wrote, referred to as ‘The Unique Rag.’ It was revealed in Kansas Metropolis, and someway my mom acquired ahold of it. We had a piano bench full of excellent stuff, largely present tunes. However ‘Unique Rag’ was my favourite.”

Max Edward Morath was born in Colorado Springs on Oct. 1, 1926, the youthful of two sons of Frederic Morath, an actual property dealer, and Gladys (Ramsell) Morath. When Max was 4, his dad and mom divorced. His mom grew to become society editor of The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, and his father went to Europe, remarried and spent his days climbing within the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Max and his brother, Frederic, attended native public colleges. He was energetic in choir and theater at Colorado Springs Excessive College and, in his senior 12 months, acquired a job as a radio announcer with KVOR (the decision letters stand for Voice of the Rockies). After he graduated in 1944, he paid his means via Colorado Faculty as a pianist and newscaster for the station. He majored in English and earned a bachelor’s diploma in 1948.


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