Composer Premieres Concerto In Great Britain
Alice Hare Martin, an English woman met Dr Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor, a Sierra Leonean Creole. Although they were not married they had a child – Coleridge Taylor born in London in 1875. Coleridge-Taylor was brought up in Croydon by Martin and her father Benjamin Holmans. Martin’s brother was a professional musician who schooled the child and Taylor studied the violin at the Royal College of Music. He also taught and conducted the orchestra at the Croydon Conservatoire. About this time he affected the name Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, allegedly following a printer’s typographical error who confused his name with the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
By 1896, Coleridge-Taylor had earned a reputation as a composer and some critics considered him a genius. He was often sought after for judging music festivals. After touring the US in 1904 he became interested in his African roots and began using African musical themes in his compositions.
On June 4, 1912 American violinist Maud Powell played the premiere of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto in G Major at a music festival in Norfolk, Great Britain. At the concert, Powell also premiered a short Coleridge-Taylor work for violin and orchestra based on the African-American spiritual “Keep Me From Sinking Down”.