College of Liberal Arts
and Social Sciences

The University of Houston
402 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3000
Phone: 713-743-4002
Fax: 713-743-2990

News & Events

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: A Centennial Celebration

The Moores School of Music proudly presents the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: A Centennial Celebration October 5 & 6, 2012 in the Moores Opera House at the University of Houston (UH Main Campus, Entrance #16 off Cullen Blvd. This two-day festival includes panel discussions, pre-concert talks, and performances of songs, piano, chamber and orchestral music by this Anglo-African composer with faculty and guest artists, as well as our Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorale joined by the Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale.

On Friday, October 5 at 2 pm, the Panel Discussion, detailing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s life, work and influence with Jeffrey Green, Yvonne Kendell, John Snyder, and Earl Stewart, will take place in the Choral Recital Hall (MSM Room 160). This is a free event.

On Friday, October 5 @ 7:30 pm, the Moores School of Music faculty (including soprano Cynthia Clayton, mezzo-soprano Melanie Sonnenberg, baritone Timothy Jones and pianist Nancy Weems) will perform a recital of songs, piano and chamber music. The recital ticket prices are $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. This event will be preceded by a free lecture by Professor John Snyder in the Choral Recital Hall (MSM Room 160).

On Saturday, October 6 @ 7:30 pm, the Moores School Symphony Orchestra (Franz Anton Krager, conductor), the Moores School Concert Chorale (Betsy Cook Weber, director) with Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale (A. Jan Taylor, director) with faculty violin soloist Andrzej Grabiec and tenor soloist to be announced. This performance is a reserved seating event with ticket prices at $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets for both evens may be purchased online at or by calling 713-743-3313 and are also available at the door. This event will be preceded by a free lecture by Professor John Snyder in the Choral Recital Hall (MSM Room 160).

“Samuel Coleridge-Taylor belongs to the cadre of undeservedly forgotten composers. Fortunately, he is being re-discovered, and audiences will once again have the opportunity to hear his melodically engaging, rhythmically vital, and harmonically rich music.” John Snyder, Moores School of Music, Professor of Music Theory

Born in London in 1875 to an African father and an English mother, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor showed musical talent at an early age. He studied violin and composition (under Charles Villiers Stanford) at the Royal College of Music, where his classmates included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The spectacular success of his cantata, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast (1898), brought him prominence in British musical circles. Two more cantatas, The Death of Minnehaha and Hiawatha’s Departure, cemented his fame, and matched in his time in England only by Elgar.

A popular composer in England, Coleridge-Taylor soon became a cultural hero in the African-American community. Coleridge-Taylor Societies were organized to perform his music, and he visited the United States three times, conducting the New York Philharmonic on the last trip (1910). There are two schools in the US named for him, in Baltimore, MD and Louisville, KY.

Coleridge-Taylor’s music remained popular for a quarter-century after his untimely death at age 37—the Hiawatha trilogy, for example, was performed annually between the World Wars. He slipped into obscurity by the middle of the century, but has been rediscovered in recent years; the Violin Concerto, for example, has been recorded three times since 1994.

On the centennial of his death, the University of Houston Moores School of Music is pleased to celebrate Coleridge-Taylor’s life and music in two concerts, along with scholarly discussions of his life, work, and influence.

~Jill Bays-Purtill

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