By Keely Laughlin for The Island Connection
Bob Milne, considered to be the best ragtime/boogie-woogie pianist in the world, will perform Feb. 6 at the Seabrook Island Club.
Milne was filmed and documented for future generations in 2004 during three days of interviews at the Library of Congress and was declared a National Treasure at the conclusion.
His natural ability to hear and play music goes back to his early childhood. A French horn player in high school, he went to the prestigious Eastman School of Music at the age of 17, then became assistant first horn in the Rochester Philharmonic at age 19. After symphony concerts, the students hung out in local saloons. When the piano player didn’t show up at a sing-along one night, Milne filled in and was hired on the spot. He continued playing the horn until age 21, then turned to the piano full-time in the Detroit area, performing seven nights a week for 25 years.
Playing in concert halls since 1991, Milne performs worldwide every year. A comment often heard following one of his performances is “unbelievable.” The list of music festivals he’s appeared at is extensive, including the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri; the Montreal Jazz Festival; the Eau Claire Ragtime Festival; and the Sacramento Ragtime Festival.
Milne has been averaging around 250 performances per year. He is highly sought after both for his incredible piano playing and his easygoing presentations.
“If I have been given any ability at all, it is my duty to honor it by trying to improve that ability every time I perform,” he has claimed.
Tickets for the 7:30 performance, $10, are available at kiawahisland.org/events/.