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.