Matthews, Artie

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Matthews, Artie

Matthews, Artie, black American ragtime composer; b. Braidwood, Ill., Nov. 15, 1888; d. Cincinnati, Oct. 25, 1958. He Spent his formative years in Springfield, Ill., and learned ragtime from the pianists Banty Morgan and Art Dillingham. After working in the tenderloin district of St. Louis (c. 1908), he took lessons in piano, organ, and theory. He was active as a composer and arranger for local theaters. In 1915 he went to Chicago as a church organist, and after World War I settled in Cincinnati, where he obtained a degree from the Metropolitan Coll. of Music and Dramatic Arts (1918). Together with his wife, Anna Matthews, he founded the Cosmopolitan School of Music for classical training of black musicians in 1921. He was an outstanding composer of piano rags, producing 5 Pastime rags (1913, 1913, 1916, 1918, 1920). He also wrote a jazz classic for piano, Weary Blues (1915), and several songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire