Pianist delivers ragtime and the rails to benefit Wheels Museum - Albuquerque Journal

Pianist delivers ragtime and the rails to benefit Wheels Museum

Pianist Adam Swanson will perform a benefit concert for the Wheels Museum on Sunday, July 31, at First Unitarian Church. Swanson is known for performing ragtime music. (Courtesy of Adam Swanson)

Ragtime music is Adam Swanson’s favorite.

The pianist has made a career of paying homage to this genre.

“Ragtime is the first truly original American music,” Swanson says. “Without ragtime, there’s no blues or jazz or rock and roll. It’s very happy and fun music. Generally speaking, the music is very upbeat and I think people need it at this time.”

Swanson returns to Albuquerque to take part in the “Ride the Musical Rails” performance from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, July 31, at First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle NE.

Swanson’s performance is a benefit concert for the Wheels Museum.

The Wheels Museum is a non-profit organization that works to preserve the history of transportation and travel, especially as it pertains to Albuquerque and the West.

He says it’s a perfect fit because the music he performs was created during the heyday of the railroad.

“I performed a few years ago for the benefit and it was standing room only,” he says. “I’m always looking forward to performing for a live audience.”

Swanson is not only a pianist. He’s a historian of vintage American popular music, including ragtime, early jazz, the Great American Songbook and more. He’s been a featured performer and lecturer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States and abroad, and he is a four-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest.

Swanson is based in Colorado and performs shows at The Strater Hotel in Durango.

He also works with the Durango Arts Center with performing music to the classic silent movies.

“I’m going to perform music to Buster Keaton films,” he says. “One of the films will be ‘The General’ from 1926. It’s always a challenge to put together music for the film.”

Swanson made his debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of 19.

Today, at 30, he is a sought after performer.

“I’m probably one of the only people that is 30 years old and makes a living doing ragtime,” he says. “What I love about the music is that I uncover something new every day.”

Swanson is a collector of old sheet music and 78 (rpm) records.

“I have thousands of pieces of music that I’ve never played,” he says. “During my shows, I try to not play the same thing over and over. This set will be completely different than my previous Albuquerque show. Since we’re doing a benefit for the Wheels Museum, I may do some railroad songs. I also talk about the history of the songs, so it’s a complete show.”

Home » Entertainment » Pianist delivers ragtime and the rails to benefit Wheels Museum


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Everything you need to know before heading to the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Over 4,000 people are set to ... Over 4,000 people are set to participate in the 2022 iteration of the Twinkle Light Parade, which begins at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, ...
2
Paloma weaves a jubilant atmosphere with vibrant Mexican food
ABQnews Seeker
The next time you are seeking ... The next time you are seeking a festive spot with a vibrant vibe and dishes, head to Paloma.
3
Ready for some ribbiting theater? Learn about the Santa ...
ABQnews Seeker
What is the difference between a ... What is the difference between a frog and a toad? Find out in the Santa Fe Playhouse production, 'A Year with Frog and Toad,' ...
4
30-foot sequoia replica to light up Old Town this ...
ABQnews Seeker
Old Town Shop and Stroll and ... Old Town Shop and Stroll and Tree Lighting set for Friday, Dec. 2.
5
Slums of Harvard wants you to come groove with ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Albuquerque-based band is spreading its ... The Albuquerque-based band is spreading its vibe in the local scene
6
Actor Chaske Spencer examined the 1890s through the lens ...
ABQnews Seeker
'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady ... 'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), and a Pawnee ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), as they come together in ...
7
Mariachi Christmas celebrating 23 years music and ballet folklórico
ABQnews Seeker
Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will ... Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.
8
Harry Connick Jr. bringing new holiday album to ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a ... Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a stop at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Kiva Auditorium.
9
Want to see a free comedy show? Big Benny ...
ABQnews Seeker
Local comedian hosting his own company ... Local comedian hosting his own company Christmas party, and everyone is invited
10
Iconic musical ensemble Mannheim Steamroller making holiday tour stop ...
ABQnews Seeker
Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on ... Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on its Christmas tour, will make a stop on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Popejoy Hall.