Hometown: Oslo, Norway
Web site: http://www.opheliaragtime.com/
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The orchestra was formed by Morten Gunnar Larsen, with the intention of playing orchestrated arrangements of classic ragtime pieces, after he had heard The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra whilst studying in N.O. in the early seventies. Never a man to hurry his projects, Morten managed to get the band playing concerts by 1977 - and not long afterwards Ophelia had the pleasure of accompanying the then 94 year old Eubie Blake on a concert in Oslo (unfortunately not recorded).
Gradually the bandís repertoire expanded to include other popular music from the beginning of the last century and now includes 1920ís hot music, songs from early stage musicals, vaudeville melodies, and waltz, tango, and novelty tunes.
The most recent development has been the inclusion of music from Brazil, the Caribbean, and the famous (and notorious) cabarets of Weimar Republic Berlin (1918 - 1933).
In forming Ophelia, Morten has chosen professionals from a widely differing variety of backgrounds- jazz, theatre, opera, and philharmonic orchestra. What they have in common is their skill, flair, humour, and love of the music they play together.
The orchestra has played at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and toured extensively in the USA, in 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 giving concerts in New York, Seattle, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Tulsa, Chicago, Nevada City, Columbia Mo, San Francisco, Belmont, Boulder Co, and The annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Mo.
Within the last few years the orchestra has worked on a series of Ďthemeí concerts, highlighting various composers, or works, including: Eubie Blake (Memories of Eubie) George Gershwin, Kurt Weill (Berlin to Broadway) and of course, Joplinís Treemonisha.
In the Mississippi Rag poll 1999 Ophelia was voted world's best ragtime orchestra.