Presser Graduate Award

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

As my first blog post, I’m proud to announce that I am the Eastman School of Music Presser Graduate Award recipient for 2021! My research is on the songs of the great British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912). He was a black musician, conductor, and scholar who developed friendships with many prominent African-American figures, such as W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Harry T. Burleigh, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Coleridge-Taylor’s famous cantata trilogy, The Song of Hiawatha, based on Longfellow’s poem, was one of the most performed choral pieces (alongside Messiah and Elijah) among English choral groups during his short life. However, over the years, his works have remained on the fringe of classical music’s most commonly performed pieces. Not anymore! Representation matters in classical music too, and it’s up to all of us to make it happen.

Through this generous grant from the Presser Foundation, Covid permitting, I’ll travel to London and to the Yale Library this summer to study Coleridge-Taylor’s original autograph scores, with the goal of creating an edition of his songs, specifically geared towards young singers. Additionally, I will record an album of Coleridge-Taylor’s beautiful songs sometime this summer.

I’m looking forward to sharing my research and thoughts on this website! In the meantime, I highly encourage you to listen to this incredible composer’s music.

Sweet Evenings Come and Go, Love (poetry by George Eliot): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj7vR1Tt1Zo

Violin Concerto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kR7CSq7Szk

Petite Suite de Concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP_2DYjiikE

Deep River: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=162Cok3jDoo

Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S05Jd6iH0nI