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Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel

music coll london composition

Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel, important English composer, conductor, and teacher; b. London, Aug. 15, 1875; d. Croydon, Sept. 1, 1912. His father was a black Sierra Leone physician and his mother was English. After violin lessons with Joseph Beckwith in Croydon, he entered the Royal Coll. of Music in London in 1890 to continue his violin training; in 1892 he became a composition student of Stanford there, and in 1893 he won a composition scholarship; before completing his studies in 1897, he had several of his works premiered there. His first public success came with his Ballade in A minor for Orch., which was premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester on Sept. 14, 1898. It was soon followed by what proved to be his most successful score, the cantata Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, which was first performed under Stanford’s direction at the Royal Coll. of Music on Nov. 11, 1898. It was subsequently performed widely in Europe and the U.S. Although he continued to compose in earnest, he never duplicated this popular success. He also was active as a conductor, leading various orchestral and choral aggregations. He likewise was engaged in teaching, serving as prof, of composition at Trinity Coll. of Music (from 1903) and at the Guildhall School of Music (from 1910) in London. In 1904, 1906, and 1910 he visited the U.S. While greatly influenced by Dvorak, Coleridge-Taylor’s works also reveal a fascination with black subjects and melodies.

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