Scott Joplin was a pianist and composer born in 1868 and died in 1917. This African-American played a major role in the history of ragtime, a musical genre that was the precursor of jazz, in which the piano plays an essential role. Scott Joplin lived only 48 years but he made his mark with music such as Maple Leaf Rag and above all The Entertainer, a piece of music that would be made famous decades later with the film The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, a film that won several Oscars including the Oscar for best song score and musical adaptation. Scott Joplin began his musical career in St. Louis, Missouri. It was in this city that ragtime was largely developed. He started out as a cornet player before playing piano in clubs. His first work was published in 1895, Please Say You Will. He had a huge success in 1899 with Maple Leaf Rag, a piano piece that sold a million copies in just a few years. In 1905, he wrote the Ragtime Walz Bethena, another famous work by this musician, as a tribute to his wife who died at the age of 20. During his career, Scott Joplin wrote independent compositions as well as piano concertos and operas, such as Treemonisha, in which he paid tribute to both his mother and his late wife.