Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (15 August 1875 – 1 September 1912) was a hugely influential composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born into British household and brought up in Croydon by his mother, Coleridge-Taylor took to music at an early age. He was educated in the Royal College of Music, under Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.
Coleridge-Taylor's links to the Three Choirs Festival began in 1896, when he was recommended by none other than Elgar to visit and perform. In 1898, his ''Ballade in A minor" was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral during that year's festival.
Coleridge-Taylor also composed a piece called the 'Solemn Prelude' in 1899. However, after its first performance at Worcester Cathedral during the Three Choirs Festival, it was lost to history. Or so it was thought....
In 2020, a manuscript of the 'Solemn Prelude' was discovered by a volunteer archivist and was taken to Faber Music Publishers. The following year, again at the Worcester Three Choirs Festival, the piece was performed for the first time in over 120 years.
Coleridge-Taylor's influence on the Three Choirs Festival cannot be understated. His impact on the world of composition and the freedom of ethnic minorities to interact with the industry set the precedent for the 20th century and beyond.
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