Samuel Jackson is a recent Notre Dame graduate from Huntsville, Alabama. He lived in Keough Hall and majored in Film, Television, and Theatre. He taught himself how to play the piano at age 13 with Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” He primarily plays by ear, though learned how to read music later in his undergraduate career. During his Notre Dame career, he has taken on leadership roles within the University’s musical theatre and opera communities, and most notably served as the University leprechaun during his senior year.
While Mozart and Beethoven are often heralded as two of the greatest individuals of classical music and music theory, my adoration for Scott Joplin derives from his less-acclaimed, yet equally powerful ability to produce near-magical compositions, push musical boundaries, and create joy through music amidst the collective Black struggle towards racial justice. Nicknamed the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin most definitely reigns incredibly influential and powerful to me.