Treemonisha: A Real Slow Drag

Treemonisha: A Real Slow Drag

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Voices and Orchestra
1(+picc)111 -11(+cornet)11 - drumset, piano - strings
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



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 2020.
Text Language - Non English


Text Source/Author
Scott Joplin
Title Number


Ensemble Type
Music by BIPOC composers
opera dramatic
African American experience


Files & Media





Sample Pages


Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
Print & Ship
$25.00 score
Contact [email protected] for inquiries into part rental.