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The Star of Ethiopia: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Historic Visits to D.C. (1904-1910)

Sat, April 21, 2018 – 3:00 pm

The Star of Ethiopia: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Historic Visits to D.C. (1904-1910)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was a black British composer who catapulted to fame with his 1898 oratorio Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.

W. E. B. DuBois, who celebrated Coleridge-Taylor in his musical pageant The Star of Ethiopia, wrote: Fortunate was Coleridge-Taylor to be born in Europe and to speak a universal tongue. In America, he could hardly have had his career. He was one with that great company of mixed-blooded men: Pushkin and Dumas… and Douglass.

In Washington, D.C., where he conducted at the Metropolitan AME Church, Coleridge-Taylor was the toast of the African-American community —and avidly absorbed the music of black America. In collaboration with Harry Burleigh and others once associated with Dvorak, he played a dynamic role adapting spirituals for the concert hall.

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