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Sun, 08.15.1875

Samuel C. Taylor, Classical Composer born

Samuel Taylor, 1893

*On this date we mark the birth of Samuel Coleridge Taylor in 1875.  He was a Black British Composer, one of that country's most celebrated composers at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The son of a doctor from Sierra Leone and a white British mother, young Taylor showed musical gifts at the age of five.  His father, frustrated in his attempts to progress as a physician through racial prejudice, deserted his family and returned to his native West Africa.

At the age of five Taylor began playing the violin and joined the choir of a Presbyterian church in Croydon, where H. A. Walters guided his progress.  He arranged his admittance to the Royal College of Music in 1890 when Taylor was fifteen.  While in school he met and married Jessie Walmisley.  They had two children, Hiawatha and Gwendolen.

His most famous symphonic performances were Hiawatha's Wedding Feast (1898), The Death of Minnehaha (1899), and Hiawatha's Departure (1900). Coleridge Taylor was very well received in the United States.  James Weldon Johnson and Booker T. Washington were personal friends and he was President Theodore Roosevelt’s guest at the White House.

The Coleridge-Taylor Society was created in 1901 in Washington D. C. specifically to study and perform his music. Samuel Coleridge Taylor died in 1912.

Africana The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1999
ISBN 0-465-0071-1

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