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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Sunday, November 24

Rags by two Scotts (Joplin and Kirby)

Synopsis

For many years Ragtime composer Scott Joplin’s birth date was listed as November 24, 1868, but recent research suggests it was more likely sometime during the second half of 1867.

Joplin was born in Texarkana, Texas. His family played the banjo, violin, and guitar, but little Scott was fascinated by the piano in a neighbor’s house. Some German musicians in Texas taught him the European classics. By age 17, Joplin was on the road performing in the honky-tonks of St. Louis. In 1894, Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, where he began to write original music while performing at a place called the Maple Leaf Club, which was to lend its name to his most famous piece, the “Maple Leaf Rag.”

Scott Kirby, a contemporary composer of ragtime, shares Joplin’s first name. Born in Urbana, Ohio, Scott Kirby lived and worked for a time in New Orleans. In addition to performing the classic rags of Scott Joplin and the New Orleans romantic composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Scott Kirby composed brand-new rags in a style he calls “Terra Verde.“

“Terre Verde,” says Kirby, “is a contemporary cousin of Ragtime with roots in a wide variety of American ethnic music, as well as strong ties to European Romantics of the 19th century, such as Chopin and Schumann.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Scott Kirby Dance of the Antilles Scott Kirby, piano Viridiana 2001

Additional Information

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