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Shirley Case - Laguna Beach, CA

Shirley Case, a classically trained pianist, began lessons at age five in Kansas City, Missouri, near the heartland of ragtime. Her first degree was in art at UCLA, followed by marriage to Storm Case and a return to Laguna Beach, where she taught classical piano for 32 years. It was during this time that Shirley earned a Master of Music in piano performance at Cal State Fullerton.

During the teaching years, Shirley combined her backgrounds in music and art, performing concerts featuring the music and art of various countries such as France (Debussy), Ireland (John Field), Spain (Granados) and Norway (Grieg). She illustrated these programs with slides taken in her travels to these countries.

The last of these programs featured ragtime music, and Shirley became hooked on this joyful music after a visit to the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, MO. This program was illustrated with slides of ragtime piano covers, gleaned from a friend’s extensive collection. Her appearance at various festivals was launched by a performance of “Eubie’s Classical Rag” at a master class taught by Scott Kirby and Jeff Barnhart at the West Coast Ragtime Festival. Invitations to perform followed, including the Scott Joplin Festival, Blind Boone Festival, West Coast Ragtime Festival, Sutter Creek, Old Town Music Hall and, since 2001, RagFest.

Her CD, “Ragtime Feast,” features some of her favorite composers. These include the “Big Three” of Classic ragtime – Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb and James Scott – as well as Eubie Blake and some of the many fine women ragtime composers. The CD was recorded live, by Sonny Leyland, on the Steinway piano at the Case residence, with notes edited by Eric Marchese.

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