Oleg Mezjuev

Oleg Mezjuev I was born on November 29, 1966 in Unecha, Soviet Union. Unecha is located in the Bryansk region, in the western part of Russian Federation. When I was five years old I liked to pick out tunes on my piano accordion. My grandmother decided that I should join the music school in Unecha, so I studied piano accordion for 4 years.

During my time in the Soviet Union I lived in Unecha, Leningrad and Krasnoyarsk. In 1979 my mother married a Swede and in January 1980 we moved from Leningrad to Järfälla, Sweden. Even though I have adopted Swedish citizenship in 1988, I still consider myself being a Russian. I work in so called home-help service, helping elder people in their homes.

I never heard about ragtime when I lived in the USSR, although I might have heard the music itself when I watched the silent movies of Charlie Chaplin on the Soviet television. There was some kind of "funny" music present in those films and some of it might well have been ragtime.

The first rag I ever heard was "The Entertainer" and it was in the early 80's. Still I didn't know that this musical style was called ragtime. When people were talking about "The Entertainer" they used to call it "the music from The Sting" or simply "The Sting", so I went on to believe that this was some popular piece from the 70's or so.

In 1984 my friend Peter Andersson taught me how to play the piano by showing me the 1st movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" and the 1st strain of "The Entertainer". By that time I had forgotten how to read musical notes, so I had to memorize the music. On one occasion, when I was dusting the keys at our local chess club in Järfälla playing "The Entertainer", someone asked me if I knew when this piece was written. I said that it was probably written in the 70's. The guy corrected me by telling me that it was composed around the turn of the century. I couldn't believe that this piece was written so long time ago!

In 1985 I heard Peter Andersson play the "Maple Leaf Rag" for the first time. When he told me, that the composer of this piece was Scott Joplin, the same man who wrote "The Entertainer", I really got interested in this music! Later that year I wrote my first rag called "Anemóne nemorósa" (latin for "wood anemone") which I dedicated to my grandmother, Storozhuk Anna Aleksandrovna. To date I have written 14 ragtime compositions.

In 1989 I came in touch with Peter Lundberg, after watching his appearance on a Swedish TV show in which he played the "Maple Leaf Rag". Lundberg introduced me to his friend Kjell Waltman, another ragtime composer and a very good ragtime pianist. In 1990 I came in touch with ragtime composers and pianists in the USA. I've also attended three concerts here in Sweden with the extraordinary ragtime pianist from Norway, Morten Gunnar Larsen. I was deeply moved by the music of David Thomas Roberts, especially his "Camille", "Roberto Clemente", "For Molly Kaufmann" and other rags. His music has always been the greatest source of inspiration for me. Since then I have learned that there are several other great composers of ragtime. I especially admire the rags of Brian Keenan, Scott Kirby and Hal Isbitz, to mention but a few. Among the classic ragtime composers I like the music of Joseph F. Lamb most of all. I like the music of Scott Joplin and James Scott too, of course.

In 1995 I discovered the world of Internet and a few months later I started to sequence so called ragtime MIDI files on my PC. MIDI files are small music files that can be played on computers equipped with a sound card and speakers. In 1996 I created the Swedish Ragtime Home Page, which now contains works of eight Swedish ragtime composers. I have also been doing some research on Swedish ragtime, looking for early Swedish rags. Kjell Waltman has been very helpful in finding some of these rags. In the future I hope to include some of them here.

In May 1997 I created a new web page together with Mary Haley called The Terra Verde Corner. It is devoted to the new musical style called Terra Verde, which is partially based on ragtime. This webpage contains articles and interviews on Terra Verde, biographical information about the composers, information on where to find Terra Verde CDs and music folios, plus a few Terra Verde MIDI files for instant listening.

Besides ragtime I also like classical music (Schubert, Chopin, Bach etc.) and pop and rock (ABBA, Queen, Elton John, Bee Gees etc.). My interests include chess, military history (Napoleonic Wars, American Civil War etc.), movies (science fiction, historical, comedy etc.), computers, astronomy, R.M.S. Titanic, UFO:s, palaeontology (fossils, dinosaurs etc.) and collecting coins. I like to play tennis with my friends and every autumn I like to go out in the woods to pick mushrooms.


    Personal Links:

    My Favourite Web Sites
    Home Pages of my Friends
    My Chess Games
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    Copyright © 1996 Oleg Mezjuev.
    All Rights Reserved.