PRS for Music
by Tina Hart
PRS for Music has honoured African British classical composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) with the display of a new sketch in the organisation’s boardroom.
The composer is believed to have been as famous in his day as John Lennon and Paul McCartney with his Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast work making him a global star.
Kwaku, the editor of British Black Music Magazine, Coleridge-Taylor’s biographer Jeffrey Green, and representatives from the Royal Choral Society, the Royal College of Music and the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network, were present at the unveiling.
When the composer died in 1912, there was furore in the media after the poor finances of his estate were revealed. He sold outright the publishing rights to his biggest hit Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast for £15.75.
The Performing Right Society (PRS) was founded in 1914 partly as a consequence of the deliberations over Coleridge-Taylor’s finances.
Guy Fletcher, Chairman of PRS, said: "Samuel’s contribution to the musical world at a time when his colour could have held him back is nothing short of incredible. It is right his life and work is celebrated and we are honoured to have his picture centre stage in our office."