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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 November 1868Texarkana, Texas, USA
Date of Death 1 April 1917New York City, New York, USA  (syphilis)
Nickname The King of Ragtime

Mini Bio (1)

Scott Joplin was a black American composer and pianist known as the "King of Ragtime" at the turn of the 20th century. Studying piano with teachers near his childhood home, Joplin traveled through the Midwest from the mid-1880s, performing at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Settling in Sedalia, MO, in 1895, he studied music at the George R. Smith College for Negroes and hoped for a career as a concert pianist and classical composer. His first published songs brought him fame, and in 1900 he moved to St. Louis to work more closely with the music publisher John Stark. Joplin published his first extended work, a ballet suite using the rhythmic devices of ragtime, with his own choreographic directions, in 1902. His first opera, "A Guest of Honor" (1903), was lost by the copyright office. Moving to New York City in 1907, Joplin wrote an instruction book, "The School Of Ragtime", outlining his complex bass patterns, sporadic syncopation, stop-time breaks and harmonic ideas that were being widely imitated and popularized. Joplin's contract with Stark ended in 1909, and though he made piano rolls in his final years, most of his efforts involved "Treemonisha", which synthesized his musical ideas into conventional, three-act opera. He also wrote the libretto, about a mythical black leader, and choreographed it. "Treemonisha" had only one semipublic performance during Joplin's lifetime; he became obsessed with its succeeding, suffered a nervous breakdown and collapse in 1911, and was institutionalized in 1916. His reputation as a composer rests on his classic rags for piano, including "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer", published from 1899 through 1909, and "Treemonisha", published at his own expense in 1911. It was well received when produced by an Atlanta, GA, troupe on Broadway in 1972, and interest in Joplin and ragtime was stimulated in the 1970s by the use of his music in the Academy Award-winning score to the film The Sting (1973).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Marcos Eduardo Acosta Aldrete

Spouse (3)

Freddie Alexander (14 June 1904 - 10 September 1904) (her death)
Belle Jones Hayden (1899 - 1903) (divorced)
Lottie Stokes (? - 1 April 1917) (his death)

Trivia (8)

Inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, 1992.
Pictured on a 20¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Black Heritage USA series, issued 9 June 1983.
Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1987.
He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize special award for music in 1976.
His composition, "Searchlight Rag", was inspired by tales told to him by two friends who went prospecting for gold in Searchlight, Nevada.
Was posthumously nominated for Broadway's 1976 Tony Award as Best Score, music and lyrics, for "Treemonisha."
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
The Sting (1973) helped bring his music back into mainstream prominence. Ironically, by the Great Depression, the time period in which the film is set, ragtime had waned and was no longer popular.

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