Scott Joplin (1868-1917)
Scott Joplin was an African-American composer and pianist. Known as the "King of Ragtime", he composed over 40 ragtime pieces, 2 operas, and a ballet during his short career. Joplin refined and elevated ragtime by combining the syncopation of African-American folk music and 19th-century European romanticism. Among his most popular ragtime pieces are "Maple Leaf Rag", "The Entertainer", and "Elite Syncopations".
Joplin's opera, Treemonisha, was largely unknown until its first performance in 1972. The opera is a celebration of African-American music and culture; Joplin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1976 for his work on Treemonisha.