David Thomas Roberts was born on January 16, 1955 in Moss Point, Mississippi. By age eight he
was composing, painting, and writing stories. In 1963 he performed his first composition, a
waltz, in recital. From 1965-69 he focused upon visual art, a field in which he remains
entirely self-taught. In 1969, he returned to the piano and composition. In 1971, at age 16, he
wrote his first rag. At this time he was especially interested in the music of Charles Ives,
Erik Satie, Scott Joplin and Alexander Scriabin, whose work he encountered and studied
independently of any teacher.
In his early twenties he wrote some of the piano pieces for which he is best-known. His poetry was first published at that time. His first recording, "Music For a Pretty Baby", appeared in 1978. By 1984, two albums devoted entirely to his own compositions were internationally available. Pieces such as "The Early Life of Larry Hoffer", "Roberto Clemente", "Pinelands Memoir", "Through the Bottomlands", and the eclectic suite, "New Orleans Street" led many writers to hail Roberts as the leading contemporary ragtime-based composer. The New Orleans historian Al Rose called him "the most important composer of this half of the century in America".
He made his European debut in February, 1988, at Oslo Concert Hall and at The Black Box (Oslo performance center). His first joint concert with Frank French took place in Boulder, Colorado in October, 1991. David Thomas Roberts is listed in "The International Who's Who in Music". He is the author of entries in "The New Grove Dictionary of American Music". He continues to lead the multi-media life of composer-pianist, writer and visual artist, and is currently writing a critical history of New Ragtime.