Irwin Schwartz

Irwin Schwartz Irwin Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 20, 1943 (Father's Day!). He began taking piano lessons when he was five years old, using an old player piano that his parents had owned as far back as he could remember. First playing by ear some of the piano rolls he heard, his parents thought that it might be a good idea to give him formal piano instruction. Irwin's initial training was in classical music. That was the beginning of his life-long love for the instrument.

At the tender age of six (1949), Irwin gave a recital at his school at which Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella was present. After the concert, Campy gave Irwin a baseball signed by the whole team and management of the Dodgers, something he still treasures.

At age eleven, Irwin decided he had had enough of piano lessons. It wasn't until he was in his thirties that he began taking lessons again. This time, the emphasis was on ragtime rather than Romanticism. Irwin devoured Scott Joplin's compositions.

After two or so years of the second round of formal lessons, Irwin dropped the piano again. His interest resurfaced in 1994 when he downloaded a MIDI performance by John Roache. The two became fast friends, with John sharing his world-class knowledge of MIDI sequencing with Irwin. Irwin says that he owes everything he knows about sequencing to John. John died in 1999, thus ending that painfully short friendship.

Today, Irwin's interest in piano music focuses on ragtime and stride piano. His website at has dozens and dozens of sequences ranging from rags written early in the twentieth century by Scott Joplin to rags written very recently by Australian Paul Copeland. He also features on his website MIDI sequences of stride piano performances by such giants as Fats Waller, Willie 'The Lion' Smith and James P. Johnson.

Irwin's other interests include writing (he's published a novel and a technical textbook which he translated from Japanese), three-cushion billiards and pampering his two cats, Yin and Yang.

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