Treemonisha: Overture

Treemonisha: Overture

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Chamber Orchestra
1111 - 11(cornet)11 - drumset, piano - 2111
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)



Words and music by Scott Joplin. Adapted, arranged, and orchestrated by T.J. Anderson.

Orchestration: T.J. Anderson

The first fully staged performance of the Scott Joplin opera was given on January 28, 1972 at Morehouse College, in a production staged by Katherine Dunham and conducted by Robert Shaw, with orchestrations by T.J. Anderson. This production received fine notices, and brought Treemonisha to international attention.

Premiere information:
Conductor: Robert Shaw 
Editors: T.J. Anderson & William Bolcom 
Wendell Whalum, Chorus Director 
Katherine Dunham, Stage Director
Premiere featured cast members: Alpha Floyd, Simon Estes, Seth McCoy, Louise Parker, Joseph Bias, the African-American Workshop of Morehouse College, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Score and parts available from American Composers Alliance; Recording of this performance with interviews available to NPR stations through satellite, 2000.

On January 30, 1972 The New York Times published a review by Harold C. Schonberg: “In writing 'Treemonisha' - the libretto was his own – Joplin clearly intended to author a social as well as musical document. He set up the forces of ignorance and superstition against liberalism and education represented by a young lady named Treemonisha.” “Morehouse College, aided by a Rockefeller grant, gave 'Treemonisha' an ambitious performance.

Thomas J. Anderson, a visiting professor at the college, orchestrated the opera in a style that follows the one example of Joplin's orchestration that has come down to us. ”The opera concludes with 'A Real Slow Drag.' Schonberg writes: “This slow drag is amazing. Harmonically enchanting, full of the tensions of an entire race, rhythmically catching, it refuses to leave the mind. Talk about soul music!”

Scores/ rental parts available from ACA;
Vocal scores also available for purchase;
Overture inst: fl, ob, cl, bsn, hn, cornet, tbn, tba, drumset, piano, 5-part strings;

Full opera incl overture:  fl/pic, ob, cl, bsn, hn, cornet/tpt in Bb, tbn, tba, drumset, piano, strings


Overture revised in 2005.

First Perfomance
World premiere performance. January 28, 1972, Atlanta, GA
First performance recorded and aired on NPR in 1972; no commercial recording of this orchestrated version of Treemonisha as of 2010;
Text Language - Non English


Text Source/Author


Title Number


Ensemble Type
chamber orchestra
Highlight Series
Music by BIPOC composers
opera dramatic
African American experience


Files & Media





Sample Pages


Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
Print & Ship
$34.00 score
Contact [email protected] for inquiries into part rental.