Scott Joplin - King of Ragtime
Scott Joplin was a master composer of classic ragtime music and was influential in the formation of 20th century music. His birth date and place is uncertain but it is believed around July 1870 and mostly he either was born in Texarkana or came here at a very early age. While he clearly had talent on the piano, his parents insisted he study classical music but by the age of 11 was able to play 3 musical instruments, and compose music. He travelled the country performing mainly to patrons of saloons, brothels and skid row restaurants however his reputation soon spread to the middle class white community. During this time he settled in Sedalia, Mo., where he was able to complete a in music at the George R. Smith College for Negroes. In 1907 in an attempt to gain more recognition he moved to New York but unfortunately his hopes were dashed. He died at 49 weak and broken and was buried in a pauper's grave that remained nameless until 1974.
Ragtime revived itself and peaked in the 1970s with new recordings of Joplin's music which were produced for the first time on classical labels, set classical sales records. This growing awareness inspired a film director to use Joplins music (The Entertainer) in his movie "The Sting" which of course really brought public attention. The result of the interest in ragtime music was unprecedented in music history. In 1976 he was posthumously awarded "A Politzer Prize Special Award" for his contributions to American Music.
This colourful outdoor mural is displayed to depict Scott Joplins life and accomplishments.