Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (15 August 1875 – 1 September 1912) is acknowledged as the greatest Black British composer of ‘classical’ music, his best-known work being Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast; but there were many other facets also to the achievements of this important musician and humanitarian.
The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation has therefore been registered from 21 September 2010, as a limited Community Interest Company (Certificate of Incorporation No. 7383078) to bring people together through music, and to celebrate this composer’s life, work and legacy.
The objects of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation, which is a not-for-profit limited company, are:
to promote the work of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and to encourage interest and involvement in classical music using his life and work as an example of excellence in achievement and in overcoming adversity.
The SCTF origins
The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation has been set up with active support from the Liverpool-based charity HOPES: The Hope Street Association which, with Live-A-Music and its recital partner Ensemble Liverpool, has been researching and bringing to performance the work of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor for the past two decades.
The impetus for the Foundation’s development has been the specific request of Daniel Labonne (pictured, left), the Founder-Chair of the original Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Society in Coleridge-Taylor’s home town of Croydon, who is still very much in contact with us at SCTF.
From the past to the present
Whilst the language of the SCTF objects may sound formal, or even quaint, the intent behind them is very much of the here and now. Our intention is to use music, as Coleridge-Taylor himself did, to bring people together, and, e.g., to share and promote his music for others to enjoy.
No doubt part of this aim will be to encourage more performances of the core repertoire, such as Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast – hopefully to be again performed by people of all sorts, as in times past (especially in the inter-war years) when this work was produced annually in many parts of Britain and beyond.
But we also intend to continue the exploration, with all others (if they wish) who are currently active in this field – or who would now like to become involved – of the lesser-known works, both large-scale choral and orchestral, and the (mostly early) chamber compositions.
An example and a date to look towards
And alongside all this, the SCTF will seek to learn more from the personal example of Coleridge-Taylor, a founding member in 1900 of the (London-based) Pan-African Conference and an unwaveringly decent human being who lived his life, sometimes against the odds, according to his belief that there is hope, and good, in all of us.
Saturday 1 September 2012 will see the centenary of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s tragically early death, from exhaustion and pneumonia. Whilst this loss, when he was aged just 37, is deeply saddening on both a human and a musical level, we hope the Coleridge-Taylor centenary will encourage us to look beyond that, to the celebration of the life and work of this composer, bringing better recognition to a musician and humanitarian who already has his place amongst the 100 Great Black Britons.
Making progress, now
If you would like to be part of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation’s future, with absolutely no obligation beyond whatever connection you choose to make, please just say the word.
You can email to make contact with us here.
We look forward very much to collaborating with you in promoting the legacy of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.