Scott Joplin’s Ragtime Hits Played by Richard Dowling

By Mittie Roger


Richard Dowling

The works of Scott Joplin, King of the Ragtime Writers, will be featured for one night only, played by one of his foremost exponents and a San Miguel favorite, pianist Richard Dowling. This delightful, soon to be recorded program, will take place at 6pm on Friday January 30th at St. Paul’s Church on Calle Cardo.

Pro Musica Concert Series
Piano: Richard Dowling plays Scott Joplin
Fri, Jan 30, 6pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
120/250/350 pesos

Scott Joplin achieved fame during his lifetime, something that can’t be said of many composers. Long after his death, he continues to be seen as the most sophisticated and consummate ragtime composer of that great era. In addition to composing, he played piano, cornet, guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo, and sang. Though Joplin didn’t start piano ragtime, until the 1899 publication of his Maple Leaf Rag, he soon become its most popular composer. At the time he had commented to his friend Arthur Marshall, “Arthur, the Maple Leaf will make me King of Ragtime Composers”. Hence his name “the King of Ragtime”

The infectious energy of Joplin’s rags have inspired many notable musicians in the United States as well as abroad, such as Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and William Bolcom, to form an informal ragtime composer group. The latter, a Grammy nominee and Pulitzer Prize winner, composed many rags and the continuing interest in Ragtime (and Joplin’s fellow composers) further serves to validate the genre.

Jazz, which sprang from African and ragtime sources, developed around the time of Joplin’s death and his music was very influential in its development. While jazz is commonly a group improvisation; rag tends to be a piano solo. Some ragtime later evolved into compositions with multiple instruments but with less improvisation, for example, Gunther Schuller’s New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble and Irving Berlin’s song, Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Interestingly, the latter may be derived from Joplin’s A Real Slow Drag. Schuller’s group plays fully composed works and places little emphasis on improvisation.

A little known fact is that he also composed in a variety of other genres; including—just like today’s program—different styles of piano music, a folk ballet, Rag Time Dance, and two operas, the first of which has been lost. His surviving opera, Treemonisha, was revived in 1972 in an arrangement by Atlanta composer, T. J. Anderson.

Richard Dowling is an internationally renowned pianist, playing a variety of styles of music; however, his interest in ragtime is a profound one, giving unique insight into Scott Joplin and his compositions. The concert will feature 18 of Joplin’s most famous rags, including the Maple Leaf Rag, The Entertainer, Patriotic Patrol, and the Magnetic Rag.

Tickets for the concert at St. Paul’s are 120/250/350 pesos donation each, and are on sale at La Tienda in the Biblioteca; La Conexión; only at Aldama 3 and Libramiento a Dolores 105, and at the concert half an hour before performance time.

Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our new web site,, or contact us at


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