The Local Voice

World Championship of Old-Time Piano Playing is May 24-27 in Oxford, Mississippi


The World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest & Festival returns to Oxford, Mississippi May 24-27, 2018 for its 44th season.  After 41 years in Illinois, this contest and festival moved to its new home at The University of Mississippi in 2016. The first two seasons in Oxford attracted visitors and contestants from over thirty states as well as Mexico, Canada, and Great Britain.

Held annually to coincide with Memorial Day weekend, this event boasts the largest, most comprehensive competitive events for pianists steeped in the musical genres of ragtime, traditional jazz and blues.  Students up to age 18 can compete for cash prizes and trophies in the Junior Division while the Regular Division contestants vie for trophies and larger prizes totaling $6,000.  A new contest for Seniors ages 60-and-up debuts in this year. Performers compete in period costume, are interviewed before each round, and show off their incredible musical skills in an attempt to advance to the Finals.

Smaller contests, including the New Rag Contest and Duet Contest, precede the main competition. Workshops by acclaimed guest artists Adam Swanson, Frederick Hodges, and Julie McClarey, a Silent Movie Luncheon with live piano accompaniment, after-hours parties, an epic Sing-along of the old classics and various catered events are held around the competitions. The new off-campus venue will be The Chancellor’s House, located on the historic Oxford Square, with the opening Tune-ups Party kicking off the weekend at The Powerhouse.

If you love ragtime, jazz, blues, honky-tonk, boogie or novelty songs from the days of Tin Pan Alley, then you’ll have the time of your life in Oxford on Memorial Day weekend. 


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