Scott Joplin

The “King of Ragtime” music, was born near Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868 and moved with his family to Texarkana at the age of about seven. Even at this early age, Joplin demonstrated his extraordinary talent for music. Encouraged by his parents, he was already proficient on the banjo, and was beginning to play the piano and by the age of eleven, and taught by Julius Weiss, he was studying musical theory.

After several years as pianist, playing in saloons and brothels throughout the Midwest, he settled in St. Louis around 1890. There he studied and led in the development of ragtime – a blend of European classical styles combined with African American harmony and rhythm.

In the late 1890s, Joplin worked at the Maple Leaf Club in Sedalia, which provided the title for one of his best known compositions, the Maple Leaf Rag, published in 1899. This was followed a few years later by The Entertainer.

In 1911, Joplin moved to New York City, where he devoted his energies to the production of his opera Treemonisha, the first ragtime opera. He managed to organise a performance in 1915, but without scenery or orchestra, but this was not successful and affected his morale and health greatly. In 1916 he was admitted to the Manhattan State Hospital and died there on 1 April 1917.

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