Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

1875 - 1912


Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)was an English composer. Coleridge-Taylor was born in Croydon to a Sierra Leonean father and an English mother. He studied at the Royal College of Music under Stanford, and later taught and conducted the orchestra at the Croydon Conservatory of Music. He soon earned a reputation as a composer, and his successes brought him a tour of America in 1904, which in turn increased his interest in his racial heritage. Coleridge-Taylor's greatest success was perhaps his cantata Hiawatha's Wedding-feast, which was widely performed by choral groups in England during Coleridge-Taylor's lifetime, with a popularity rivaled only by chorus standards Handel's Messiah and Melssohn's Elijah. He followed this with several other pieces about Hiawatha: The Death of Minehaha, Overture to The Song of Hiawatha and Hiawatha's Departure. He also completed an array of chamber music, anthems, and African Romances for violin, among other works. Coleridge-Taylor was greatly admired by African-Americans. Therefore in 1901, a 200-voice African-American chorus was founded in Washington, D.C. called the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Society.