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Holland to perform at Ragtime Festival

March 24, 2011

Chip Templeton says he is perfection at the piano.
And in his third appearance at the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, pianist Brian Holland plans to share his love of music with weekend audiences.
Holland will be one of four entertainers at the Fifth Annual Festival set for Friday and Saturday in the Mitchell Memorial Library on the Mississippi State University campus.
Holland will hold a "Talk at the Piano" at 1 p.m. Friday in the Charles Templeton Music Museum on the Fourth Floor of the Mitchell Memorial Library.
Then at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Holland will perform a joint concert with Fredrick Hodges at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall on the MSU campus.
Holland said he is looking forward to visiting Starkville and seeing all of his friends here again.
"Audiences (at the Charles Templeton Festival) have always been very receptive, very appreciative, and very musically intelligent," Holland said. "It's always a pleasure performing for people who not only enjoy the music for its entertainment value, but also for its historical value as well."
Seeing the Templeton Festival thriving is quite exciting for Holland.
"Especially in a time when the country's finances are tight and 
some music festivals are struggling to survive, many downsizing the talent roster, it's wonderful to see this Ragtime festival thriving and bringing in some of the best talent in the country," Holland said. 
Holland said the one aspect of his performances he always hopes to convey is his love for Ragtime and Jazz music. 
"I want the audience to enjoy listening to what I play as much as I enjoy playing it," Holland said. "I want them to have an emotional connection to the music, to feel what the composer felt and intended his/her listeners to feel."
Festival organizers said Holland is a Grammy Award-nominated performer of ragtime, jazz, and stride piano who continues to be one of the most sought-after artists in the country. Classically trained but with a keen ear for improvisation, Organizers said Holland's approach to the piano is marked by a dynamic, driving style that has been described as being “as clear as Waterford crystal.”
Holland credits his grandparents for instilling a love of music in him from the age of three. He quickly learned to play the organ and had a repertoire of old standards that could shock most professionals – all before the age of 6. During 12 years of intensive classical piano studies, Organizers said Holland decided that it wasn’t the concert stage on which he wanted to perform but the ragtime stage. Since then he has performed throughout the United States, first on majestic pipe organs in pizza parlors and then on the uprights and concert grands at ragtime concerts and festivals.
Holland holds the distinction of being a World Old-Time Piano Playing Champion, winning his third title at 27 and is now a retired champion, having won the event three times (1997-1999). In 2007, Holland earned a Grammy Award nomination for his work with Bud Dresser as B-Square with their CD Ragtime-Goodtime-Jazz and continues play in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with Dresser.
Holland does count his biggest tangible accomplishment as being 
named World Old-Time Piano Playing Champion in 1997, '98 and '99, but as for his most rewarding accomplishment personally, he said traveling to Africa (Kigali, Rwanda) at the request of the Swiss Embassy to bring Ragtime back to it's original roots, was a huge honor.
Chip Templeton, one of the Festival organizers and son of Charles Templeton Sr., whom the Festival is named, is a huge Holland fan.
"He is pure and honest in his creativity of his interpretations of songs," Templeton said. "He takes chances and rarely makes mistakes, flawless!"  
Templeton said Holland is also the only person he knows who has true "perfect pitch," a talent proven to be able to correctly identify any note over many octives.
"Brian's recording are to be studied and they will bring long-term pleasure," Templeton said.
Lyle Tate, one of the festival organizers, said Holland is a dynamic, exciting performer, as well as being a genuinely nice person, and organizers are looking forward to working with him again this year.
Tickets are available for daily events, evening concerts, and for the entire Festival. For ticket information and information on other Festival artists, visit https://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/tkts/index.html or contact Festival planning committee member Lyle Tate at ltate@library.msstate.edu.

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