Larry Karp Memorial Fund Award Seeks Submissions from Ragtime Kids

The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation (SJIRF) has recently announced the Larry Karp Memorial Fund Award Program. The award will recognize and educate young ragtime performers at the middle and high school level.

Larry Karp was an internationally recognized medical doctor specializing in perinatal medicine (high risk pregnancy care) who left his highly successful practice to pursue a successful career in writing. Among his many books were three mysteries and a thorough biography based on his passion for ragtime and specifically Brunson Campbell, known as the “Ragtime Kid.”


The Karp Memorial Fund Committee took the “Ragtime Kids” theme to title the new award. The program’s intent is to “inspire young performers and researchers to create new ragtime music and discover more of ragtime’s history.” The objectives include educating young people on the significance of ragtime music and specifically the role Scott Joplin had on American music and the role Sedalia, Missouri played in that heritage.

When Larry Karp died October 11, 2016, his family approached the Joplin Foundation about establishing a memorial. Larry’s family began a fund in 2017 and it has grown through contributions over the past year and a half. A committee including Larry’s wife Myra and son Casey was established to consider an appropriate way to commemorate Larry’s life and the award has been established. The application process is now open. Applications can be downloaded by going to the SJIRF website at Applications are due in the Foundation office by November 1, 2019, and winners will be selected and notified by March 1, 2020, and announced at the Festival on May 27.

Video clips of the applicant performing two complete pieces should be included or a YouTube URL address should be given. The selections should be in ragtime style offering contrasting tempos and texture. Include a description of each piece that specifies title, composer, and additional information that would be helpful in evaluating the performance.


The winner will receive a $500 cash award to be applied toward continuing music education and for offsetting expenses to attend the SJRF Festival. Complimentary items include a Festival ticket package and Festival memorabilia, the opportunity to meet and mingle with ragtime performers, a performance opportunity on stage with festival headliners, and to assist in the development of future festivals.

The committee wanted the award to reflect back on Larry Karp’s fascination with the original “Ragtime Kid,” Brun Campbell and thus the title “Larry Karp Memorial Fund Award: Recognizing Young Ragtime Performers.” There was some concern expressed that the “Ragtime Kids” title will deter junior and senior high applicants so “Recognizing Young Ragtime Performers” was appended to the award title.Larry Karp Memorial Fund Award

Foundation President, John Simmons said “Our foundation is committed to advancing the reach of our ragtime heritage and culture. It is our mission to educate and promote ragtime’s contribution to American music. The Ragtime Kids Young Ragtime Performers program is well suited to the enthusiasm that youth have for this music once they discover it. Building on that excitement, with an outlet and pathway that they can travel, builds a foundation for future generations.”

Or look at our Subscription Options.