Featured Composer: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912) was an English composer and conductor, best known today for his cantata Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, written in 1898. Named after the poet by his mother, Coleridge-Taylor grew up in Croydon, where he received early lessons on the violin from his grandfather and entered the Royal College of Music at the age of 15.
Championed by his professor Charles Stanford, the critic August Jaeger, and the composer Edward Elgar, Coleridge-Taylor himself began teaching at the Crystal Palace School of Music in addition to conducting across England. His success in England eventually led to three tours of the U.S.A., where he both conducted and developed an interest in his lineage. Descended from African-American slaves who later came to England, Coleridge-Taylor began to explore musical influences from Africa. These can be heard in many of his piano works, such as his African Suite Op. 35, 24 Negro Melodies Op. 59, and The Bamboula.
Coleridge-Taylor's legacy lives on, through both his music and organizations such as the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation.