Scott Joplin

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Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin
Scott Joplin in June 1903. This picture also appears on the cover of “The Cascades” from 1904.
Background info
Birthday/Birthplace c. late 1867 or 1868 (tombstone says November 24, 1868)
Northeast Texas, U.S.
Origin Texarkana, Texas, U.S.
Deceased April 1, 1917(1917-04-01)
New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Ragtime
  • march
  • waltz
  • Composer
  • pianist
  • music teacher
  • Piano
  • cornet
  • guitar
  • mandolin
  • violin
  • banjo
  • vocals
Active Years 1895–1917


Scott Joplin Short Bio

Scott Joplin (Texarkana, Texas, United States, November 24, 1868 – Manhattan, New York, United States, April 1, 1917) was an American-African American pianist, one of the figures most important in the development of classical ragtime, for which he wanted a status similar to that of serious music from Europe and the possibility of admitting extensive compositions such as operas and symphonies.

Joplin was born into a family of music workers in northeastern Texas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. He grew up in Texarkana, where he formed a vocal quartet, and taught mandolin and guitar. After traveling through the southern United States He went to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair, which played an important role in popularizing ragtime for 1897.

In 1894 he moved to Sedalia (Missouri), where he earns his living as a piano teacher; There he taught future ragtime composers Arthur Marshall, Scott Hayden and Brun Campbell. Joplin began publishing music in 1895, and the publication of Maple Leaf Rag gave him fame in 1899. In 1901 he moved to Saint Louis, where he continued composing and publishing, playing frequently in that community. They confiscate the score of his first opera, A Guest of Honor, for not paying the bills, and now it is considered lost. In 1907 he moved to New York to find a producer for a new opera. His second opera, Treemonisha, was not well received in his partial staging in 1915.

In 1916 Joplin suffers from dementia as a result of syphilis. He entered a psychiatric hospital in 1917 where he died three months later, at 49 years old. It is widely considered that the death of Joplin marked the end of ragtime as a trend music format, to evolve in the following years towards other styles and become stride, jazz, and eventually Big Band swing.

His music was rediscovered and became popular again in the early 1970s, with the release of Joshua Rifkin’s album that sold a million copies. This was followed by the movie El Golpe, winner of the Oscar in 1973, which highlighted several of his compositions, highlighting The Entertainer. The Treemonisha opera was finally produced entirely in 1972. In 1976, Joplin was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

More Facts about Scott Joplin

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