The American musician and composer was known as the “king of ragtime” at the turn of the 20th century. Ragtime is music played in “ragged” or off-the-beat time and it developed from African American work songs, gospel tunes, and dance. Noted for writing “The Entertainer” and the groundbreaking opera “Treemonisha,” Joplin wrote 44 original piano pieces or rags, two operas, and one ragtime ballet. He also co-wrote seven rags with other composers. Born to parents who were both musical, Joplin started performing as a musician when he was a teenager.
He was, in 1976, posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music. Joplin’s ragtime music would later influence a new music genre that evolved after his death – jazz.