Our Composer of the Month for March is Scott Joplin (1868-1917).
Perhaps best known as the composer of The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag, Joplin is also often referred to as the father of ragtime music. While he eventually received classical piano training, Joplin began as a self-taught student. With a solid musical background, his own compositions had a unique sound all their own. By 1898 he had published 6 pieces, with Maple Leaf Rag released the following year.
Other composers created ragtime works, but Joplin remains at the top of list as the best-known among them.
During the summer before 5th grade, I decided to teach myself Maple Leaf Rag, having come across the sheet music and thought it looked like a good challenge and incredibly fun to play. While that was many years ago, I still have Maple Leaf Rag memorized! Here's a link to a piano roll created, reportedly, by Joplin himself playing Maple Leaf Rag. The piano roll is fascinating to me as it has many additional ornaments and enhancements that are not in the sheet music.