By Tim Leeds
A world-renowned pianist will stop at Rocky Boy and in Havre on Wednesday on his barnstorming tour of Montana.
Scott Kirby, a performer and composer whose work ranges from ragtime and jazz to a style - Terra Verde - he helped create, will play at noon at Stone Child College and at 7 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Havre.
The sponsor for the Havre concert is the Northern Showcase, although the concert is not part of its regular season.
Proceeds of the tour will go to benefit arts education at Montana high schools and to the Montana Performing Arts Consortium.
Kirby, who is touring Mon-tana from July 24 through Sept. 1, was to have been joined in Havre by the Timely Trio, which had to cancel its appearance.
Kirby's Web site says the barnstorming tour is a combination of bringing music to the state, often to underserved communities, and filming a documentary that will show a side of Montana often missed by brochures and Hollywood. His 22 stops in this tour include Helena, Great Falls, Miles City, Broadus and Ingomar. He has planned three more tours to Montana.
Kirby said in a press release that one of the inspirations for his tour is the trouble performing arts have in finding funding.
"If the arts are to be saved, it's up to us, not the government," Kirby wrote in the release.
Kirby, a native of Ohio, began studying music at age 6. He continued his formal piano education for 17 years, and began recording the complete rags of Scott Joplin after moving to New Orleans in 1988. He has appeared at festivals in the United States, Norway, Hungary, France and Belgium.
Critics have praised Kirby, with Time Magazine calling him an "ace pianist" in 1992, and Charles Osgood saying "Critics call (Kirby) one of the best interpreters of ragtime music on the scene today."
Edward A. Berlin, author of "King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era," said, "In Scott Kirby's playing we encounter the very essence of ragtime. He is the embodiment of the Scott Joplin ideal."
Kirby and some other modern jazz and ragtime musicians created a new style, which they named Terra Verde, Latin for "green earth."
The style, related to new ragtime, is a name "to identify a growing number of compositions, mostly by contemporary Ragtime writers, which fall outside of the legitimate boundaries of Ragtime," Kirby wrote in an Internet article.
Kirby described Terra Verde as a syncopated, composed music, rather than one that is improvised, with strong ties to jazz, ragtime, 19th century Romantic and other types of music.
The concert at Rocky Boy is free. Tickets for the Havre concert, which cost $8, will be available at the door.