Scott Joplin, American composer and pianist, was born in 1868, and grew up in Texarkana.

A brilliant musician who composed over 40 original ragtime songs, Joplin brought this music genre to the masses. Before he became famous, he earned money as a music teacher, helping students learn to play the mandolin and the guitar.

Scott Joplin, at age 35

 

In 1893, Scott Joplin went to the World’s Fair in Chicago and this marked a turning point in his career. He moved to Missouri the following year and by 1895, he was publishing his own music. In 1899, Joplin’s fame spread and he had many enthusiastic followers.

He stayed in Missouri until 1907, when he moved to New York City.  His tragic death in 1916, at the age of 48, was due to neurosyphilis, which led to dementia.

Scott Joplin almost single-handedly brought ragtime to fame and his influence rolled down through the decades, infusing American music in different genres, including big band and jazz. Today, this American genius is still not as broadly known as he deserves to be.

Enjoy this playlist of some of his unique and beautiful music.