Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This Is Surrey Today: 'Festival will mark life of composer' Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor]

Friday, August 5, 2011
“THE world premiere of an opera composed by Croydon's "forgotten" black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is to be staged in the town next year. It will be the highlight of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the composer's death.”

“Jonathan Butcher, artistic director of Surrey Opera, said staging Frida, or Thelma as it has been more commonly known, at the Ashcroft Theatre next February would alone cost £50,000. Coleridge-Taylor composed the three-act opera between 1907 and 1909 but he failed to find any opera company prepared to take on what would have been a lavish production. After his death in 1912 at the age of 37, the work slipped into obscurity as the popularity of his compositions diminished over the years.

“The aim of the festival will be to bring his work back into the public eye and re-establish the outstanding reputation he had in his lifetime. He was described by Edward Elgar as 'far and away the cleverest fellow amongst the young men'. Mr Butcher said it was intended to hold at least one recital or lecture a month throughout 2012. Events already being lined up include a performance of Coleridge-Taylor's violin concerto by Croydon's resident orchestra, the London Mozart Players, churches putting on his religious music and a celebration service around his August 15 birthday at Croydon Minster.”

[AfriClassical.com profiles the Afro-British composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation, http://www.sctf.org.uk/ is a partner in the efforts to commemorate the composer's life in 2012.]

Comment by email:
Bill, I just read your post five minutes ago. Fantastic news it is. I look forward to learning more about the festival. Thanks for being so on top of things! Africlassical is an indispensable resource. Best, JMW (Conductor John McLaughlin Williams)

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