(1868 - 1917)
(born November 24, 1868,
Bowie City, Texas; died April 1, 1917, New York,
most famous and most influential of the Ragtime
composers, to whose music America two-stepped,
turkey-trotted, and cakewalked into the 20th
Joplin composed "The Maple Leaf
Rag" in 1899 and "The Entertainer" in 1902.
Joplin regarded his compositions as classic American
piano pieces, to be viewed in the same vein as
Chopinís piano music.
He used the Ragtime sound and
form in writing two operas, one of which, A
Guest of Honor, has been lost. Treemonisha,
the other, was Joplin's all-encompassing interest
during the latter years of his life; the
frustrations he suffered in not being able to get it
published or produced doubtless contributed to his
"The Entertainer," featured in
the 1974 film The Sting, brought two Academy
Awards to Marvin Hamlisch for adapting and scoring
Joplinís music. Treemonisha was first
presented in full in Atlanta, Georgia, in January
1972 in a Katherine Dunham production.
Productions of Treemonisha were presented in
Houston and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts in Washington, D.C., culminating in a Broadway
presentation on October 21, 1975, that earned for
Joplin a special posthumous Pulitzer Prize in
Shaw - American Dictionary of Pop / Rock.