Scott Joplin

1868 - 1917



Scott Joplin was an American composer and pianist. Dubbed the "King of Ragtime," he wrote over 100 original ragtime pieces, a ragtime ballet, and two operas.

Joplin grew up in a musical family of railway laborers in Texarkana, Arkansas, and developed his own musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. During the late 1880s, he left his job as a railroad laborer and traveled the American South as an itinerant musician. He went to Chicago for the World's Fair of 1893, which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897.

Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894 and earned a living as a piano teacher. There he taught future ragtime composers Arthur Marshall, Scott Hayden, and Brun Campbell. Publication of his "Maple Leaf Rag" in 1899 brought him fame. It also brought Joplin a steady income, though he did not reach this level of success again and frequently had financial problems. The score to his first opera, A Guest of Honor, was confiscated in 1903 with his belongings for non-payment of bills, and is now considered lost. His second opera, Treemonisha, was never fully staged during his life.

In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music.



26th June 2024

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Austin Chanu
Temple Performing Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA, United States of America

13th July 2024

Sinfonia da Camera
Ian Hobson
Hessel Park, Champaign, IL, United States of America