Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912) was the son of Dr Daniel Taylor, a Creole from Sierra Leone, and Alice Martin, an English woman.  He began violin lessons with his grandfather at a very young age, one description mentions that he was often seen "carrying a small violin in one hand and his marbles in the other."  In 1890, he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, awarded over other notable composition students Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, both of whom are regularly found on competition lists.  In 1900, Coleridge-Taylor's most successful composition, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, was debuted and made him a household name throughout the world.  He toured the United States three times meeting many famous American composers, musicians, writers and orators.  Due to the common practice of publishers buying musical works for a flat fee, Coleridge-Taylor spent much of his professional career in financial distress while his works sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

Having befriended many notable black authors such as Paul Laurence Dunbar and W.E.B. DuBois in the United States, Coleridge-Taylor began both searching for a connection to the history of his father and organizing and participating in Pan-African seminars and conferences.  Often attributed to the strains of his financial situation, Coleridge-Taylor died of pneumonia in 1912 at the age of 37, survived by his wife and two children.

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