Stephen Collins Foster, 1826-1864
Austin, William W. "Susanna", "Jeanie", and "The Old Folks at Home": The Songs of Stephen C. Foster from His Time to Ours. 2d ed. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988.
Arthur Farwell (1872-1952)
Biography. Waters, Edward N. "The Wa-Wan Press: An Adventure in Musical Idealism." In A Birthday Offering to C[arl] E[ngel], comp. and ed. Gustave Reese, 214-33. New York: G. Schirmer, 1943.
H. T. Burleigh (1866-1949)
Biography. Simpson, Anne Key. "Hard Trials: The Life and Music of Harry T. Burleigh." Composers of North America, no. 8. Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press, 1990.
Scott Joplin, 1868-1917
Biography. Biography. Sedalia continues to celebrate its unique ragtime heritage with the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival held under the auspices of the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation (http://www.scottjoplin.org).
Ben Harney, 1872-1938
Biography. Biography. Harney later played a world tour, leaving the stage in the early 1920s, when health issues made it impossible for him to continue his career. He retired to Philadelphia, where ...
John Stark, 1841-1927
Biography. Biography. Because of business disagreements, Joplin eventually left Stark for other publishers. Nevertheless, Stark was successful enough to move to New York where he competed with the myriad publishers of Tin ...
Joseph Lamb, 1887-1960
Biography. Biography. Lamb died in September of 1960 in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, recognition of his contributions to ragtime came only at the end of his life.
James Scott, 1885-1938
Biography. Biography. Scott, Joplin, and Joseph Lamb form the acknowledged triumvirate of ragtime greats. In many ways, Scott's pieces were more virtuosic than those of his two colleagues'--except for some of Lamb's ...
May Aufderheide, 1888-1972
Biography. Biography. Despite a serious grounding in art music, Aufderheide turned her attentions to ragtime. Her first rag, "Dusty," was published in 1908, the same year that she wed Thomas Kaufman. The ...
Will Accooe (d. 1904)
Biography. Biography. Accooe also composed for other musicals. Williams and Walker's The Sons of Ham (1900) included some Accooe material. He also wrote a musical in 1901 with Will Marion Cook called ...
Alton A. Adams
Biography. Biography. Alton Augustus Adams, born in the Virgin Islands in 1889, remains an iconic figure there. When the United States took over the islands in 1917, the new governor appointed Adams ...
Maurice Arnold, 1865-1937
Biography. Biography. Maurice Arnold was one of many African-American students of Antonin Dvorak during Dvorak's 1894 stay in the United States. Arnold participated in Dvorak's famous January 23, 1894, concert at the ...
Eubie Blake, 1883-1983
Biography. Biography. Blake was one of the principle figures of the ragtime and early jazz revival of the 1970s, giving talks and performances well into his nineties. In 1979 the musical Eubie ...
J. Tim Brymn, 1881-1946
Biography. Biography. After the revival of black musicals in 1921, Brymn immediately returned to stage work, appearing in Put and Take and conducting the orchestra for Liza. In 1923 Brymn introduced the ...
Bob Cole, 1868-1911
Biography. Biography. James Weldon Johnson later referred to Cole as "the single greatest force in the middle period of the development of black theatricals in America." Although he is still not well ...
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, 1875-1912
Biography. Biography. In England, Coleridge-Taylor continued an active life in music. He composed, taught at Trinity College of Music, conducted numerous choral societies, and even conducted in the famed Handel Society from ...
Will Marion Cook (1869-1944)
Biography. Biography. Biography. Cook also followed his own advice. Thomas Riis, in his study of early black musical theater, singles out Cook's remarkable harmonic skill and compositional sophistication. When the pursuit of ...
R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)
Biography. Dett was opposed to the style of "swinging the spirituals" that was becoming popular during the 1930s. He held a poll among his students at Bennett College regarding their opinions of ...
Shepard N. Edmonds, 1876-1957
Biography. Biography. Little is known of Shepard N. Edmonds, except that he published some music. He was part of a vaudeville team with J. Leubrie Hill which performed on the East Coast ...
James Reese Europe, 1881-1919
Biography. Biography. The impact of James Reese Europe on American music cannot be overestimated. Perhaps even more than Will Marion Cook, he shaped not only the music of his own time, but ...
J. Leubrie Hill (John Leubrie), d. 1916
Biography. Biography. Florenz Ziegfeld, producer of the Ziegfeld Follies, was impressed enough to buy the rights for a few of the numbers from My Friend from Kentucky including "At the Ball, That's ...
Billy Johnson, 1858-1916
Biography. Biography. After a period in Chicago, where Johnson got married, dabbled in politics, wrote some songs, and appeared in the last Pekin Stock Company production, he returned to the New York ...
Biography. Biography. Around 1905, he began a long career as a conductor and composer, working with James Reese Europe on Ernest Hogan's Memphis Students performance troupe. In 1906 he became music director ...
Biography. Biography. John Larkins was a minor figure in black music in the early part of the 20th century. He ran "Jolly" John Larkin's Company and employed James Reese Europe as its ...
Biography. Biography. Perrin also had a production company. Sid Perrin's High Flyers Company produced at least two shows--Show Folks (1920) and High Flyers (1921).
Maceo Pinkard, 1897-1962
Biography. Biography. Composer Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, in 1897. After his "Oh, You Darktown Regimental Band" was published in 1920 by the first black-owned music publishing company, Pace ...
Biography. Biography. Ms. Aldridge was the mentor and coach to such luminaries as Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, and Roland Hayes. She also composed several classical works including the songs "Noontide Song" and ...
Luckey Roberts, 1887-1968
Biography. Biography. Roberts recorded two unissued solo piano sides for Columbia in 1916. These were his compositions "Shoo Fly" and "Shy and Sly." Although he accompanied other artists in late-1920s recordings, he ...
Biography. Biography. A musician who was well-versed in almost all musical idioms except the blues, Benjamin Shook was a bandleader in Detroit from the end of the 19th century into the 1930s. ...
Noble Sissle, 1889-1975
Biography. Biography. Sissle also founded the Negro Actors Guild. Known as the unofficial mayor of Harlem, he died in December 1975.
Chris Smith, 1879-1949
Biography. Biography. Chris Smith "wrote songs that pointed to black folk styles," according to music historian Eileen Southern. One of his biggest hits, "Good Morning, Carrie," was recorded as early as 1901. ...