Presentation on theme: "Scott Joplin An African American composer and pianist, Scott Joplin has been known as the King of Ragtime since the turn of the 20th century Born in Texarkana,"— Presentation transcript:
Scott Joplin An African American composer and pianist, Scott Joplin has been known as the King of Ragtime since the turn of the 20th century Born in Texarkana, Texas in 1868
Joplin grew up in this 4-family house. As a child, his family didn’t own a piano, but his mother cleaned homes and most of them had pianos, so Scott taught himself to play.
Although his family was poor, his father (a former slave) and mother were able to buy a piano for Scott when he was 14.
Since the young Joplin showed such musical potential at an early age, a German neighbor gave Scott free classical music lessons where he learned about many of the great composers shown below. German neighbor Julius Weiss
At the age of 20, Joplin moved out to make a life of his own. He sang in quartets, played trumpet in the Queen City Concert Band, and was an actor in a minstrel troupe. He traveled everywhere throughout the Midwest and New York.
At the age of 25, Joplin traveled to Chicago to play at the World’s Fair. The Chicago World's Fair was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' "discovery" of the New World. The fair had a profound effect on architecture, the arts, Chicago's self image and American industrial optimism.
The Fair covered more than 600 acres, and it featured nearly 200 new buildings of European architecture, canals and lagoons, and people and cultures from around the world. Over 27 million people (about half the U.S. population) attended the Exposition over the six months it was open. It was here that Joplin was introduced to many other styles of music, especially the marching band music of John Phillip Sousa, who played there daily.
At 27, Joplin settled in Sedalia Missouri, and studied music at the George R. Smith college for Negroes where he studied music theory, harmony, and composition. Since the college and its records were destroyed in a fire in 1925, there is no way of knowing how long he went there.
While in Sedalia, Joplin worked at the Williams Brother’s Saloon in the evenings, entertaining guests in the 2 nd floor private club known as the Maple Leaf Club. One of his most famous songs is named after this club. A monument erected on the site of the Maple Leaf Club. It’s now a parking lot.
In 1899, Joplin sold what would become one of his most famous pieces, "Maple Leaf Rag", to John Stark & Son, a Sedalia music publisher. Joplin received a one-cent royalty for each copy and ten free copies for his own use, as well as an advance.
The Maple Leaf Rag earned Joplin a modest income for the rest of his life. It has been estimated that Joplin made $360 per year on this piece. "Maple Leaf Rag" boosted Joplin to the top of the list of ragtime performers, giving him the nickname, “The King of Ragtime,” and it moved ragtime into prominence as a musical form.
Due to the success of “Maple Leaf Rag,” Joplin moved to St. Louis with his new wife, Belle. It was during this time that he wrote some of his greatest compositions, including “The Entertainer,” “March Majestic,” and “Ragtime Dance.” St. Louis
A few months later, Joplin composed a ragtime opera called “A Guest of Honor,” and formed an opera company with personnel of 30. He rehearsed the work at the Crawford Theatre in St. Louis, and embarked on a tour scheduled to take him to towns in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Early in the tour, someone associated with the company stole the box office receipts, seriously damaging the company's financial position. It was probably in Pittsburg, Kansas, a couple of weeks later, that the tour ended, with Joplin unable to meet his payroll. Furthermore, unable to pay for the company's board at a theatrical boarding house, all of his possessions, including the music from the opera, were confiscated. Copies of the score were never filed with the Library of Congress and the music has never been recovered.
In 1907, he moved to New York City and wrote an instruction book called “The School of Ragtime”.
In New York, Joplin started producing an opera called “Treemonisha ” in 1911. He paid for everything himself.
Treemonisha combined all his musical ideas in a three-act opera. It was the first black American opera to be written and performed.
He became obsessed with producing the opera and it drove him to a nervous breakdown after it’s failure with audiences in 1915.
He died in NYC in 1917, just 2 years after the failure of his opera.
Joplin never made an audio recording, but he did make 7 piano rolls in 1916. They are they only examples we have of his playing ability.
Scott Joplin’s music was revived in 1972 when the movie “The Sting” used it for the background to the scenes in the movie and the soundtrack. His rag, “The Entertainer” in particular enjoyed a new popularity, especially when it reached #3 on “Billboard’s Hot 100” in 1974.
In his 49 years of life he was never recognized as a serious composer. During his lifetime, there were little opportunities for black musicians to have their compositions heard by anyone in the “serious” world. Recognition came posthumously (after he died). In 1976, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.