Saturday, June 13, 2020 Composer Profile: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Creator of ‘The Song of Hiawatha’ & ‘Thelma’ [1875-1912]


June 12, 2020

By David Salazar

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, born on August 15, 1875, would go on to become a prominent conductor and composer.

Born in Holborn, London, he would be brought up in Croydon, Surrey by his mother and stepfather. His early musical interests were championed by his grandfather and his extended family would eventually arrange for him to study at the Royal College of Music at the age of 15.

During his time at the institution, he would take up composition. Upon completing his degree, he would be appointed professor at the Crystal Palace School of Music and conduct the orchestra at the Croydon Conservatoire.

Coleridge-Taylor would start to become a reputable composer in his early 20s with Edward Elgar among his early champions.

Coleridge-Taylor would embark on a tour through the U.S. after the premiere of his hugely popular “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.” There, he was invited to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt and struck up strong relationships with poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois.

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