Primary Instrument: Piano
The soothing piano magic of ragtime king Scott Joplin along with Debussy & Scriabin. I just can't stop listening to this CD (Dreamland Piano Gems Circa 1903).
Holly Lane, Blackheart Records
Consider Mark Birnbaum's unique compilation of works (Dreamland Piano Gems Circa 1903) by a remarkable group of composers, one French, another Russian, an Englishman and an American. All were creatively active around the same time, the early twentieth century. All composed in the larger forms - symphonies, concertos, and operas. They are celebrated for their piano miniatures; miniatures but in no way small. In this genre they share, besides the time, a common trait: they were all masters.
Classically trained with a doctorate in music from Columbia University, Mark Birnbaum graduated into keeping ragtime alive and serving as staff pianist on the popular Joe Franklin television show. This Manhattan based pianist can play everything, and continues to do so throughout the greater New York area.
To round out this unique collection of works, some quite rare, by four master musicians, he adds his tribute with two originals. These composers, while individual, share philosophies, even sounds, but remain themselves. Mark Birnbaum's pieces fit into the concept of the collection, family like, as musical cousins and relatives, as he aptly put it.
While I avoid sneaking opinions into annotations for recordings, I must admit I love this album.
Edward Jablonski, 2003, Official Biographer of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin & Harold Arlen.
Mark Birnbaum is ' Mr. Ragtime,' the piano entertainer for the 21st Century. He's Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and Liberace rolled into one.
Joe Franklin, 2002.
As anyone who's caught one of his several hundred appearances on Joe Franklin's television show will know, Mark Birnbaum (who has a Ph.D. from Columbia) is the consummate ragtime piano specialist. He knows all of the classical rags by Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton - he can take any song you name (from Sh- Boom to Amazing Grace) and convert it to ragtime.
Chip Deffaa, The New York Post, September 2, 1994
This is the pianist where Vladimir Horowitz and Liberace meet. Where Classical and Jazz are one.
Barry Farber, WWOR Radio, 1998.
Scheduled for release in early 2004 is Mark's new cd, Hot Piano: Ragtime, Jazz & Blues Check website for more details.