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Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
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    (August 15, 1875-September 1, 1912)
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Named after poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    Composer and conductor
    Best known for three cantatas based on Longfellow’s ‘Song of Hiawatha’: ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast,’ ‘The Death of Minnehaha,’ and ‘Hiawatha’s Departure’
    Other compositions include ‘African Suite,’ ‘African Romances,’ and ‘Twenty-Four Negro Melodies’
    Nicknamed ‘Black Mahler
    His middle and last names were joined by a hyphen as a result of a printer’s error.
    He named his son Hiawatha after the subject of his most popular compositions.
    His only opera, ‘Thelma,’ was lost for nearly a century before the manuscript was discovered in the British Library.
    Edward Elgar called him ‘far and away the cleverest fellow among the young men.’
    He was the youngest delegate at the First Pan-African Conference held in London (1900).
    During a tour of the United States, he was received at the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt, a rare honor for a black man at the time (1904).
    He was the first black conductor to lead the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the United States Marine Band.
    At its peak of popularity, ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast’ was second only to Handel’s ‘Messiah’ as the most frequently performed choral work in Britain.

Credit: C. Fishel

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