John Arpin

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John Arpin
Born(1936-12-03)3 December 1936
Port McNicoll, Ontario, Canada
Died8 November 2007(2007-11-08) (aged 70)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationCanadian composer, recording artist and entertainer, ragtime pianist.
EducationUniversity of Toronto

John Francis Oscar Arpin (3 December 1936 – 8 November 2007)[1] was a Canadian composer, recording artist and entertainer, best known for his work as a virtuoso ragtime pianist.

Born in Port McNicoll, Ontario Arpin studied piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music, earning his ARCT diploma in 1953.[2] He also studied at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

Arpin performed and toured widely. He died 8 November 2007 in Toronto, Ontario.

Recording career[edit]

Arpin recorded more than sixty albums, mostly of ragtime, but also played Broadway music, pop music, and classical music.

In 2002, he recorded seven CDs of piano solo music on the April Avenue record label. These albums consisted of favorite Broadway themes and familiar pop tunes. While just two compilations are still available in CD format, most of the other tracks can still be found on iTunes. Here is a complete list:

  • A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
  • All The Way
  • An Affair To Remember
  • Any Dream Will Do
  • As Time Goes By
  • Bewitched
  • Blue Moon
  • Brian's Song
  • Cabaret
  • Call Me Irresponsible
  • Cheek To Cheek
  • Climb Every Mountain
  • Dear Heart
  • Don't Cry For Me Argentina
  • Edelweiss
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • Georgia on My Mind
  • Getting To Know You
  • Have You Met Miss Jones?
  • Hello Young Lovers
  • Here
  • I Didn't Know What Time It Was
  • I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  • I Only Have Eyes For You
  • I Will Wait For You
  • If I Loved You
  • Isn't It Romantic?
  • It Had To Be You
  • It Might As Well Be Spring
  • It's Impossible
  • I've Got You Under My Skin
  • Jean
  • Killing Me Softly
  • La Mer
  • Little Girl Blue
  • Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing
  • Mame
  • Manhattan
  • Memory
  • Misty
  • Moon River
  • More
  • Mountain Greenery
  • My Funny Valentine
  • My Romance
  • My Way
  • Nadia's Theme
  • Oh What a Beautiful Morning
  • On The Street Where You Live
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Over The Rainbow
  • People
  • People Will Say We're in Love
  • Put on a Happy Face
  • Que Sera
  • Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
  • Sera
  • Smile
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
  • Some Enchanted Evening
  • Spanish Eyes
  • Spring Is Here
  • Star Dust
  • Stranger on the Shore
  • Tammy
  • The Blue Room
  • The Days of Wine And Roses
  • The Entertainer
  • The Look of Love
  • The Music of the Night
  • The Shadow of Your Smile
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Surrey with the Fringe on Top
  • The Way We Were
  • Theme From "Nicholas And Alexandra"
  • There And Everywhere
  • There's A Small Hotel
  • Till There Was You
  • Tomorrow
  • Unchained Melody
  • Unforgettable
  • We Kiss in a Shadow
  • What I Did For Love
  • What Kind of Fool Am I?
  • When I Fall in Love
  • Where Or When
  • Who Can I Turn To?
  • With A Song in My Heart
  • Yesterday
  • You Took Advantage of Me


Arpin performed as a solo entertainer and with orchestras throughout the world. In Canada, he performed with Maureen Forrester and Peter Appleyard. He made several appearances at the Mariposa Folk Festival, the St. Louis Ragtime Festival, and the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, Missouri.[2] In the Toronto area, he performed regularly in bars, clubs, and hotel lounges, notably The King Edward Hotel, The Ports of Call, The Windsor Arms, Mr. Tony's, and Pearcy House.[2]


Arpin was nominated three times for Juno Awards, given to show excellence in Canadian music. In June 1998, he won the Scott Joplin Award from the Scott Joplin Foundation of Sedalia, Missouri.

Critical acclaim[edit]

Ragtime great Eubie Blake pronounced John Arpin "the Chopin of Ragtime", while The New York Times labeled him "the Richter of Ragtime". High Fidelity magazine said of one of his albums: "This is the best recorded collection of piano rags that I know of and is, I suspect, the most authentically performed."


Notable among his own compositions are "Jogging Along" (a theme song for the acclaimed CBC radio program Morningside). He also composed the theme for TVOntario's children's shows, Polka Dot Door and Polka Dot Shorts and wrote the music for the shows. Arpin also composed the themes for several CTV network shows in the 1960s. His "Lyric Suite for Piano, Strings and Percussion" won first prize out of 450 entrants in the Yamaha Second International Original Concert in Tokyo. He also arranged music for several Canadian recording acts.

In 2005, he was commissioned by St. Michael's Choir School (Toronto) to compose and arrange a "medley" of Christmas tunes which he titled "Yuletide on the Cool Side". It was very warmly received in its premiere on a concert tour across Canada.


  1. ^ "Pianist was 'Chopin of ragtime'". Ottawa Citizen. 10 November 2007. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b c King, Betty Nygaard. "John Arpin". Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]