Why are entertainers paid so much

Scott Joplin

The success story of the traveling musician who became the unforgettable King of Ragtime and who continues to thrill the world with the "Entertainer".

Scott Joplin's birthday unknown to this day

To this day, the exact date of birth of Scott Joplin remains a mystery. From the evaluation of censuses, however, we know that he must have been born sometime between June 1867 and January 1868 in Texas. His parents were freed slaves and shortly after the birth of their son left the farm on which they had worked until then. Legend has it that Scott Joplin's mother worked in a household that had a piano, so one day the little one sat down at the instrument and taught himself to play the piano. He had inherited his love for music from his parents: they played the fiddle and banjo and sang the blues. Scott Joplin's extraordinary talent did not go unnoticed for long - his music teacher Julius Weiss, who came from Germany, was enthusiastic about the boy, taught him everything about classical music, gave him free violin and piano lessons and infected him with his enthusiasm for classical music .

Scott Joplin - Scott Joplin's New Rag (1912)

Scott Joplin: Performances in churches and brothels

As a teenager, Scott Joplin worked for the railroad company, teaching mandolin and guitar on the side, and playing piano whenever possible in pubs, cafes and bars. Later he made his passion his main job and traveled as a musician through the country - again and again he is not allowed to perform in establishments because of his skin color and he has to switch to churches or brothels. But Scott Joplin was not discouraged. In 1893 he even appeared at the World's Fair in Chicago.

Ragtime causes a sensation thanks to Scott Joplin

He slowly began to write his own compositions for his performances and since his audience was crazy about ragtime, he composed ragtime pieces in addition to waltzes, marches and slow drags. One of the first, "Maple Leaf Rag", named after the club where Scott Joplins had long worked as a house pianist, initially sold sluggishly - 400 copies are bought in the first year, leaving Scott Joplin with a paltry four dollars in revenue. But the piece quickly spreads among pianists and everyone wants it in their program, Scott Joplin is becoming a cult, ragtime is even causing enthusiasm in New York. This has consequences: the following year, sales shot up to half a million and increased from year to year. The "Entertainer" followed in 1902, another success.

Scott Joplin - The Entertainer

A stroke of fate makes Scott Joplin's opera disappear

But Scott Joplin not only composed ragtime pieces, he also wrote two operas, a symphony and a musical. Unfortunately, with one exception, the works have disappeared and never reappeared. For his first opera "The Guest of Honor" he even founded an opera group, rehearsed with them and went on tour. However, before the first performance, the money that was supposed to be used to pay the rent for the opera houses was stolen. Scott Joplin was unable to meet his financial obligations, the tour was canceled and most of his property, including the opera score, was confiscated. Fortunately, Scott Joplin continued to compose and recovered from this disaster.

Scott Joplin - Best Of Scott Joplin

Pulitzer Prize for Scott Joplin

His second opera "Treemonisha" still exists - although it was initially a major failure and was forgotten. It was not rediscovered until 1970 and performed a short time later. It is about an 18-year-old freed slave who is learning to read and who wants to convince the African American community of the importance of education. In 1976 Scott Joplin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Scott Joplin private

Scott Joplin's private life was up and down. After his first wife Belle divorced, he married 20-year-old Freddie Alexander. The honeymoon was more like a concert tour for the musician. Towards the end, Freddie caught a bad cold that resulted in fatal pneumonia. After only 11 weeks of marriage, Scott Joplin was a widower. Fortunately, he soon met his third great love: Lottie. With her he founded his own publishing house in order to be able to publish his music himself. Scott Japlin is described as an intelligent, eloquent, and polite man. He is said to have been very quiet, serious and humble and avoided small talk. But he was always happy to help younger musicians and was a firm believer in the power of knowledge and education. Unfortunately not an April Fool's joke: on April 1, 1917, he died of a syphilis infection in a mental hospital.

(K. Jäger)

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