Max Morath has never forsaken his intense study and presentation of early 1900s ragtime piano. Throughout the years, he single handedly kept the essence of that era in the public eye with his numerous plays, television programs, writing and recordings. He has earned the moniker, Mr. Ragtime, by being its most ardent devotee.
Max Morath was born in Colorado Springs on October 1, 1926. An early interest in playing piano was nurtured and developed by his mother, who was a professional ragtime pianist. After obtaining a degree in English from Colorado College, he began his eclectic career dabbling in writing, acting, sales, television, and primarily piano. His initial theatrical performances found him in a variety of plays in the west. It was here that Morath began his intense research of ragtime and the Americana that surrounded it. His heroes were equal parts Thomas Edison, George and Ira Gershwin, Teddy Roosevelt, Irving Berlin, Bert Williams; and the kings of ragtime: Eubie Blake and Scott Joplin. His passion for the music and culture of early Americana was an integral part of the ragtime revival of the early '70s. In 1969, he premiered his critically acclaimed one-man play, Turn of the Century, off Broadway. Morath matched that success with the equally triumphant Living a Ragtime Life and The Ragtime Years. In the early '60s, Morath began a relationship with PBS that continues today. His informative and entertaining programs focusing on the ragtime era are considered classics in that genre. His other endeavors examining the music and culture of the early 1900s have spilled into contributions to radio programs for NPR and his written essays have appeared in numerous publications. In 1996, he finished work on a master's degree at Columbia University in American Studies. His master's thesis investigates the writer Carrie Jacobs-Bond who wrote "I Love You Truly" and hundreds of other classic early 20th century songs. Morath remained busy at the beginning of the 21st century, traveling all over the world with his one-man show, Max Morath the Ragtime Man. Morath's discs have continuously remained in print throughout the years and are available on several labels, including Vanguard, Epic, and RCA Red Seal.