Scott Joplin (c. 1867/68 or November 24, 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtimecompositions and was dubbed the “King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first and most popular pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag“, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.
Joplin was born into a musical family of railway laborers in Texarkana, Arkansas, and developed his musical knowledge with the help of local teachers. He grew up in Texarkana, Texas, where he formed a vocal quartet, and taught mandolin and guitar. During the late 1880s he left his job as a railroad laborer and travelled the American South as an itinerant musician. He went to Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893, which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze by 1897.