Scott Joplin: King of Ragtime


Scott Joplin occupies a pivotal position in American musical and social history. From humble origins – he was born into a family of railroad labourers in Texas in 1868 - he was to achieve national fame, most notably for his Maple Leaf Rag, and he would go on to create a body of work full of lyricism and rhythmic vitality.

The story of Joplin’s life illustrates the hurdles encountered by an African-American musician in American society at the turn on the 20th century. Even his thorough musical education came about largely due to sheer good fortune.

This day school will analyse Joplin’s music, tracing its origins in a combination of Western classical harmony and African-American music and defining the distinction between ragtime and jazz.

We will also study the central work of Joplin’s final years, his opera Treemonisha which, although performed in Joplin’s lifetime, was neglected for decades after his death.

In association with Jazz at St Giles.

Programme details


Original Rags
Humble origins and musical education

Coffee/tea break

Maple Leaf Rag
Fame and (some) fortune

Lunch break

"an entirely new form of operatic art"

Coffee/tea break

Magnetic Rag
Final years

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition fee (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Baguette £6.10


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Mr Jonathan Darnborough

Tutor and Director of Studies

Jonathan Darnborough is Director of Studies in Music and Departmental Lecturer in Music at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. As composer and pianist, he has performed throughout Britain as well as in the USA and Europe. He is the author of Oxford University’s first three online courses in music.

Miss Claire-Louise Lucas


Claire-Louise Lucas, mezzo-soprano, has performed throughout the UK and in the USA. She has sung for Opera North, Opera International and the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.