Recently in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Taking His Legacy Forward Category

HOTFOOT 2008 flyer ~ Cafe Europe, Richard Gordon-Smith (world premiere commissioned by HOPES:The Hope Street Association) plus music by Saint-Saens, Coleridge-Taylor, Engleman, Rossini, Bizet & Mozart HOTFOOT 2008, in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall on Sunday 7 September [NB: 7 pm], is the twelfth such annual concert. Promoted as ever by HOPES: The Hope Street Association, the theme for the city's 2008 European Capital of Culture year is 'Cafe Europe', with music devised by local children working alongside professional musicians from HOPES.

The HOTFOOT annual events in Liverpool, devised and promoted by HOPES: The Hope Street Association, are never less than exciting...

Here we explain what the HOTFOOT concert is about, how it came to be, and why HOPES continues to do it.

Come and join us!
Intended to be welcoming to everyone, whether used to such concerts or not, the HOTFOOT shows are musical performances tailor-made by - rather than just for - their participants and audience; and they seek always also to bring into focus the many aspects of life in Liverpool, a cosmopolitan and richly diverse city.

Tickets (£7 -11, children £5) are available on the Philharmonic website (here) or from the Phil Box Office (0151-709 3789).

The address of the Philharmonic Hall is Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BP (location map here), and the performance begins at 7 pm [NB not 7.30pm] as it is a family show.
The concert will finish by around 9.15 pm, and the Philharmonic Hall Foyer Bar will be open afterwards, for performers and audience to meet and mingle.

The HOTFOOT 2008 concert programme
This year's (2008) programme for the HOTFOOT even illustrates the point, with a wide variety of musical formats and inspiration, not to mention, in keeping with our theme, geographically spread, with musical visits to 'cafes' in a number of different parts of Europe, including Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The concert begins with excerpts from two lively 'chamber music' or small group pieces, performed by the professional musicians of Ensemble Liverpool (also known as Live-A-Music), most of them also members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra:

*** Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921, France) ~ Septet for string quartet (two violins, viola, cello), double bass, piano and trumpet and

*** Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) ~ Quintet for string quartet and piano.

[HOPES has consistently promoted Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who remains Britain's greatest black classical composer, known especially for his work Hiawatha's Wedding Feast. He was a friend of John Archer, son of Liverpool and the UK's first black Mayor, appointed to the post in 1913 in Battersea, London.]

After Ensemble Liverpool comes a popular dance music piece by the mid-twentieth century British composer, owner of the Harry Engleman Tango Orchestra

*** Harry Engleman ~ Fingerprints

performed by John Peace and the HOPES Festival Orchestra.

And the first half ends with the Orchestra's performance of

*** Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868, Italy) ~ The Thieving Magpie.

[Interval]

Next is the World Premiere of a work commissioned by HOPES: The Hope Street Association, one of several musical works HOPES has commissioned from Richard Gordon-Smith over the years. In keeping with Liverpool's status on 2008 as European Capital of Culture, the work is

*** Richard Gordon-Smith ~ Cafe Europe.

The piece involves children from Liverpool's Greenbank, Kingsley, Rudston and St. Sebastian's Primary Schools, who, encouraged by their teachers, have been working from April with HOPES musicians (and Philharmonic colleagues) Richard Gordon-Smith and Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage, to devise the words and music, which are then composed in full score as an integral work by Richard Gordon-Smith.

The children will themselves perform in the piece, with the HOPES Orchestra and soloist Sarah Helsby Hughes (Soprano). Included in this brand new work, which employs the multi-lingual skills of the performers, are 'Song of New Friends', 'Conversation in Paris', 'Urban Castaways', 'Postcards from Germany', 'Flamenco Girl' and 'When the World Comes Knocking'.

To follow this World Premiere we have Sarah Helsby Hughes with the HOPES Orchestra in two of the most dramatic and well-loved Soprano arias, Bizet's Habanera from Carmen and The Queen of the Night from Mozart's Magic Flute.

HOPES Festival logo (small) 110x116.jpg HOPES: The Hope Street Association marks the thirtieth anniversary of the inaugural Hope Street Festival with a HOTFOOT 2007 concert offering many elements of previous such events. Tayo Aluko, Tony Burrage, Richard Gordon-Smith, Sarah Helsby-Hughes, Hughie Jones, Roger Phillips and Surinder Sandhu join children from Merseyside schools and the stalwart HOPES Festival Orchestra and Choir for an event not be missed.



HOTFOOT 2007! A Street of Hope for 30 Years

Celebrating 30 years of the Hope Street Festival


Buy your tickets here.


The first Hope Street Festival took place in 1977, when Her Majesty the Queen visited Liverpool as part of her Silver Jubilee tour. There was another Festival in 1980 and then no more until HOPES: The Hope Street Association was able to resurrect the event in 1996. HOPES, with support from the Liverpool Culture Company and the Community Foundation for Merseyside, has chosen to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the inaugural Hope Street Festival with a HOTFOOT 2007 concert which incorporates many of the elements of previous such events.

Sunday 22 July 2007 @ 7 pm (please note time),
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Hope Street, L1 9BP

with

* Roger Phillips (Presenter)

* Richard Gordon-Smith (Conductor)

* The HOPES Festival Orchestra and Choir

(Leader / Director: Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage)

and guests

CONCERT PROGRAMME:

Surinder Sandhu and the Saurang soloists
returning to HOPES to perform music by Surinder Sandhu (orchestrated by Richard Gordon-Smith) with the HOPES Festival Orchestra

Songs of the Sea with Hughie Jones' Jack Coutts, Kevin Bargen & Friends, featuring some of the performers who made the Mersey Shanty Festival an international success, singing shanties and sea songs from the days of the great sailing ships - the other music that Liverpool gave to the world a century before the Mersey Sound !

HOPES Festival Orchestra
performs Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Petite Suite de Concert

Sarah Helsby-Hughes (soprano) & Tayo Aluko (baritone) join the HOPES Festival Orchestra
for Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and other songs from Porgy & Bess

Children from Merseyside schools, with the HOPES Orchestra, perform
Liverpool First and Last
which they have themselves devised for HOPES with Richard Gordon-Smith & Tony Burrage, now arranged, orchestrated and conducted by Richard Gordon-Smith

Grand finale
where the entire company performs
HOPES’ Song for Liverpool, ‘Light Up The City' (from Cool Street) by Richard Gordon-Smith.


Exhibition
* We are delighted that the National Trust / Chambre Hardman have also agreed to put on an exhibition in the foyer of the Phil Hall on the day. (HOPES was a major advocate of 'saving' the Chambre Hardman House, at 59 Rodnet Street, Liverpool.)

Tickets for the show
(Sun 22 July, 7 pm [please note start time]
are now available from the Phil Box office: 0151-709 3789
or via the Liverpool Philharmonic website
at £7, £9 & £11 (£5 children).

And, finally……If you would like to be involved in this concert, as a performer, singer or sponsor / raffle donor please contact us a.s.a.p. on hope.street@btconnect.com. Thank you!

HOPES is grateful to The Liverpool Culture Company and The Community Foundation for Merseyside, both of which generously provided grant-aid for this concert.

Martin Anthony Burrage

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Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage Martin Anthony Burrage ('Tony') is a classically trained violinist, pianist, teacher and music animateur. After graduation from the Royal Academy of Music and the BBC Training Orchestra, in 1971 he joined the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, of which he remains a proud member. Founder and Director of Ensemble Liverpool, Live-A-Music and Elegant Music, Tony is a keen chamber musician, especially committed to engaging audiences and to the work of black British composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor.

Martin Anthony Burrage LRAM, GRSM, ARAM, known to his friends and colleagues as 'Tony', is director of the Liverpool-based music groups Elegant Music, Ensemble Liverpool and Live-A-Music, which he founded in 1993. Live-A-Music (chronologically the first of this trio of flexibly instrumented ensembles) is a not-for-profit group dedicated to musical activities in the community, often in schools and other venues such as local churches and halls.

Chamber music and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Ensemble Liverpool arose later, from the work of Live-A-Music, and is a more formal group which performs full 'classical' recitals, again often in informal settings. Some of these recitals include music by composers such as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, whose Piano Quintet Opus 1 Tony realised for performance in 2001 from a copy of the original handwritten full score which he had located after much enquiry in the library of the Royal College of Music, in London. This intention to establish Coleridge-Taylor's reputation is on-going.

The first-ever known recording of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Piano Quintet, using Tony's realisation of the original score, was made from a performance, probably also the first in living memory, by his chamber group Ensemble Liverpool (then known as Live-A-Music) in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall at a public recital on 7 November 2001. The artists for this concert were Andrew Berridge (violin), Martin Anthony Burrage (violin), Joanna Lacey (viola), Michael Parrott ('cello) and John Peace (piano).

Tony has also continued his work exploring the chamber music of lesser-known English speaking composers, e.g. in the 2002 Three Choirs Festival Fringe recitals entitled Across the Divide (music by Amy Beach, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, William Hurlstone, Dame Ethel Smyth and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford) and more recently as short interludes in HOTFOOT concert programmes. His interest in these musicians can be traced back to his study at the Academy of the Elgar Violin Concerto and his induction into orchestral life by that luminary of English music, Sir Charles Groves, who himself appointed Tony (then aged just 23) to his position in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elegant Music, Tony's other group, is a micro-business with only fully professional performers, delivering high quality music for entertainment and relaxed enjoyment at social and corporate functions and other celebratory events.

Teaching and music in the community
Tony as worked with many youth music ensembles, including early experience as a Royal Academy of Music Junior Exhibitioners coach, and later as Senior String Tutor and Conductor of the Liverpool Youth Orchestra. In 1973 he attended the first Suzuki Violin Workshops in Britain, given by Dr Shinicki Suzuki himself.

Now, alongside his performing duties, a busy member of the RLPO Education and Participation team, Tony is the Phil's 'adopted musician' in a local Liverpool school. He has also worked for the Phil in a variety of community settings, including Sure Start, with very young children - one of whom, not having previously enountered many bearded men, decided he was Father Christmas...

Tony is also Director for HOPES: The Hope Street Association of the HOPES Festival Orchestra, which he founded and which, with his colleague Richard Gordon-Smith, he has developed to perform annually in the HOTFOOT on Hope Street concert in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall.

Tony's involvement in working 'in the community' and with children stems back to his days in the 1960s as an undergraduate tutor for Junior Exhibitioners at the Royal Academy of Music, and even before then. He says:

I feel I can identify with some of the children I teach in Liverpool's inner-city schools.

At a time in my own childhood when my family's circumstances were extremely testing, my parents - neither of them with any musical training - made heroic efforts to ensure I had the opportunity to learn the violin and piano.

I grew up in the 1950s, in a Midlands new town post-war council estate, and I didn't go to the grammar school. But when I was about eleven a group of instrumentalists from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) came to play to us, and I knew immediately that being an orchestral musician was what I wanted to do. I can still remember telling my startled mother about this ambition, when I got home from school!

My musical education, until I reached my ultimate dream of the Royal Academy of Music, was thanks to the Worcestershire County Schools Music Service, Bromsgrove Technical College (to which I bicycled ten miles every weekday for two years) and the determination of my mother that I should have the instrumental lessons I so wanted.

I learned way back then from my own personal experience that classical music can be for everyone who is given the opportunity to enjoy it.

Married since they were both students in London, Tony and his wife Hilary have subsequently been active in the cultural life of Liverpool for many years. They have a daughter, Anna, who herself now lives with her own family in London.

Working with professional colleagues
Tony has a long-time interest in world music, and has performed regularly with jazz / crossover musicians such as Surinder Sandhu (with whom he and others formed the celebrated Saurang Orchestra) and with classical Indian vocalist Sumitra Guha.

Amongst his other music profession related roles, Tony has been Chair of the NW Region of the Musicians' Union; he has a strong on-going interest in the health of performing artists.

Tony has performed across the length and breadth of the UK - from London's South Bank and the Royal Albert Hall to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh - and also in many others of the world's great concert halls, including the Vienna Musikverein, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Dvorak and Smetana Halls in Prague, in most central and southern European capital city concert halls, and in major concert halls in the Far East.

Tony estimates that he has over his career so far spent about 90,000 hours playing the violin, and has been an artist in some 300 radio, TV, film, LP and CD recordings. His television appearances include many BBC Proms, as well as the Christmas 2007 BBC live broadcast of the Liverpool Nativity, in which Tony was an on-stage performer. Film credits, also in his violin playing role, include Hilary and Jackie (1998, with screen play Frank Cottrell Boyce - the tragic story of cellist Jacqueline du Pre, some of it filmed in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall) and the similarly acclaimed film, Chariots of Fire (1981, written by Colin Welland, about the true story of British athletes in the 1924 Olympics) for which the ballroom scene was shot in Liverpool Town Hall.

Tony's concert violin - a beautiful reddish varnished instrument, made in Paris in 1895 by H.C. Silvestre - has been his constant companion since college days. He studied the piano (joint first study with the violin) at the Royal Academy of Music with Joan Last, and his violin teachers over the years have included Molly Mack, Leonard Hirsch, Emanuel Hurwitz, Frederick Grinke, Peter Mountain and Leland Chen.

Tony's first string quartet, formed whilst at the BBC Training Orchestra in Bristol, was tutored by members of the Amadeus String Quartet.

In 2001 Tony was honoured to be made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, the first such award to be granted by the RAM for contributions to music in the community.


Contact emails: Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage; Ensemble Liverpool; Elegant Music; Live-A-Music.

Read more articles about The Music and about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.

www.martinanthonyburrage.com
www.ensembleliverpool.co.uk
www.elegantmusic.co.uk
www.liveamusic.co.uk

Hope Street kids! (small) 06.9.17 254.jpg The Hope Street Festival in Liverpool, delayed from Midsummer, was on Sunday 17 September. This exciting milestone in Hope Street's history, introducing of a start-of-season early Autumn 'Feast' to go in future alongside the Summer Festival, is however neither the beginning nor the end of the journey.

HOPES FESTIVAL LOGO.JPG The 2006 Hope Street Festival (later renamed 'Feast'), on Sunday 17 September, is a continuation of such an event on Hope Street in Liverpool sometime in the summer over many years. It included the Philharmonic Open Day, a Farmers' Market, events in Hope Street's cafes, guided walks, and a performance of Richard Gordon-Smith's 'Hotfoot on Hope Street', commissioned by HOPES: The Hope Street Association in 1997, to launch their campaign for the renewal of the Hope Street public realm.

We have already noted [here] something of the history of how it all began. This posting therefore looks only at how things have developed over the past decade, following the near-loss in the late 1980s / early 1990s of both the Liverpool Everyman Theatre and the Philharmonic, and the intervention of the Campaign to Promote the Arts on Merseyside (CAMPAM), with its cry of Once lost we will not get them back!

A new era
HSF Craft Fair 06.9.17 262.jpg Slowly, in the early 1990s, the threats of cultural annihilation subsided; but at the same time CAMPAM began to take on a wider and more involved role, recognising the strategic value of the Hope Street area (by then, acknowledged formally as the Hope Street Quarter). It was not enough to defend individual arts organisations, however significant. A more comprehensive approach was required; and this was what the newly emerging registered charity, HOPES: The Hope Street Association, a coalition of local institutions, traders, community organisations and individuals, was formed, with the encouragement of John Flamson and City Challenge, to bring about.

Plans were drawn up to address the enormous potential of Hope Street Quarter as a hub for the arts, for business, for the knowledge economy, and as a focus for community engagement and capacity building. Trustees were elected to take the work forward. A Council with wider membership was convened to enable regular consultation of important issues. And a decision was made that, right from the start, there would be celebratory activities - concerts, other performances, social events - which would ensure the involvement of people at every level.. and would also give everyone an opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed and informal ambience.

Hope Street Festival resurrected
HOPES Family Fun Day Flower Stall (PB) 18.6.2000.JPG Thus do we arrive at the re-emergence of the Hope Street Festival, in its new, more modernly inclusive, guise as an event co-ordinated by HOPES., but still, as in 1977 and 1980, intended vigorously to celebrate this 'unique street'.... and still supported by amongst others Adrian Henri, Graham Frood of the Unity Theatre and other leading members of CAMPAM and then HOPES, just as they had supported events two decades previously.

The very first 'modern day' event was in 1996, a weekend of activities centred around the Everyman and other venues, with poetry, small-scale music and other open-access offerings, over one of the wettest and coldest Midsummer Days on record - or so at least it seemed to the organisers! But from that we learned a lot, and in 1997 the Philharmonic Hall was hired for a special 'community concert' organised by HOPES on the basis of as much community inclusion as possible, and as a flagship event around which many other activities took place, with each event occurring on its own terms and HOPES acting as co-ordinator and promoter.

The HOTFOOT concerts
HOPES' Midsummer Festival concert in Philharmonic Hall also embraced another objective - the launch of the campaign to renew the physical structure of Hope Street's impressive but faded public realm. And so the piece of music entitled Hotfoot on Hope Street came about, written by HOPES' Composer in Association, Richard Gordon-Smith, commissioned by the charity to portray the street in a twenty minute orchestral piece at a level performable by good amateur and student musicians (with a little help from some friendly professsionals).

The world premiere of Hotfoot on Hope Street was in Philharmonic Hall on 21 June 1997, twenty years to the day after the celebration on Hope Street of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Other performers appearing included Adrian Henri and Roger McGough.

HOTFOOT2005 Trade Winds 032.jpg HOPES Yellow Banners.JPG There has been a HOTFOOT concert at the Phil every year since 1997, sometimes performing the actual piece again and always picking up themes which resonate for Hope Street: the 2002 KOOL STREET project, developed in conjunction with local schools, the music on several occasions of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (Britain's foremost Black classical composer, whose friend from Liverpool, John Archer, later became the first Black mayor of a British town, Battersea in London), and Liverpool's only celebration of the 1999 centenary of Duke Ellington.

HSF1999Saurang25.6.99(1).JPG Nor must we forget the hugely popular Saurang concerts which HOPES presented alongside members of the RLPO. Then, in 2005 (Liverpool's Year of the Sea), we presented the world premiere of Richard Gordon-Smith's large-scale work for orchestra and four choirs, Trade Winds, set to the words of (another) Poet Laureate, John Masefield, whose Liverpool maritime experience aptly led him to prophesise great things for his city's future.

Millennium success
HOTFOOT Orchestra close-up 06.9.17 273.jpg In some years since 1996/7 the HOTFOOT concert has been scheduled alongside a wide range of other festival activities, the most wide-ranging of which was during Midsummer 2000. This Festival involved some twenty events, from plays and food tastings to art exhibitions and debates, all under the umbrella of the Millennium Commission's celebrations - and then, to HOPES' delight, selected as their national exemplar of community festivals, to make a presentation to the media and leading national figures (including, once more, then Secretary of State Chris Smith MP). The Millennium Hope Street Festival was led by an enthusiastic team of Trustees, volunteers, graduates gaining work experience and members of the business, faith and other communities along Hope Street.

A fallow period and a beautiful public realm
hopes_logo.gif Sadly, despite the enormous success of the Millennium Year, HOPES has found it difficult to sustain the Hope Street Festival at the level of activity many consider it deserves, and there is currently almost nothing in the HOPES kitty to keep the Festival going. Over the years it is estimated that HOPES has raised about a quarter of a millions pounds in cash and in-kind investment in developmental activities for Hope Street Quarter, and that has been matched by some ten thousand hours of volunteer work; but this massive contribution to the development of Hope Street remains very largely unrecognised, and certainly unmatched, in terms of encouragement of HOPES by the civic authorities. Nonetheless, there has been another very significant success for HOPES in that, ten years after the 'launch' of the campaign to achieve it, Hope Street finally has its brand new public realm.

HopeStreetHeritageWalk8.9.05 006.jpg The three million pounds to undertake this public realm programme was promised by Steven Broomhead, CEO of the NorthWest Development Agency (NWDA) to HOPES some four years ago, and finally the physical work has just this summer been completed under the supervision of Liverpool Vision, with Liverpool City Council. And, as the last stones are laid and the final street lights installed, Liverpool Vision has generously given HOPES financial support to enable a street celebration and another performance of HOTFOOT, the music which launched the whole idea. This is what is happening on Sunday 17 September 2006 as part of the one-day Hope Street Festival devised and led by a number of partners, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival and, of course as always, HOPES.

The future
HopeStF Paul Askew demo 06.9.17 265.jpg The new enthusiasm for the Hope Street Festival reflects the confidence and sense of place which is emerging in Hope Street Quarter. We have always known at some level that this is a unique street, combining as it does the best of almost every sort of enterprise and community. Now, visitors and stakeholders in the area are beginning to develop this sense of something special in their own ways.

It is too early to make substantive predictions for the future, but my guess, as one who has been closely involved for the duration (I am founder-chair of HOPES and as such have organised all the Festivals from 1996 to 2005 as a volunteer), is that a number of themes are emerging.

Firstly, the city is beginning to understand why Hope Street's future is also the future of the whole Mersey sub-region. Strategically, there can be few such compact areas with such a lot to offer in terms of the knowledge economy, culture and much else.

Face Paints.JPG Secondly, Hope Street is beginning to find its feet as a place to celebrate. The 'street festival' has been resurrected and is much in evidence this year. Now we have to find a way also to develop our International Festival. (If Aldburgh, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Cheltenham and others can do it, why not us? We're bigger than any of them, and we have, as they do not, our own long-established resident international symphony orchestra.) And along with that, as perhaps the other side of the same coin, we need to extend our grasp of how to engage our local communities and neighbours, capacity building where there are currently aspirations rather than existing expertise; some work on this is now underway.

And thirdly we have to nurture the direct commercial and business needs of partners in the Quarter, be it via a business association or some other means. The door is open and the opportunity must now be taken, whilst the enthusiasm to collaborate is there!

The Hope Street jigsaw pieces are in place
HOPES (banners) 06.9.17 260.jpg The mechanisms to achieve all these objectives now exist. HOPES is an established charity with the remit to take any and all of these activities forward where partners wish it. Liverpool Vision has helped and led a number of initiatives, including the establishment o

A Tribute To Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

 A Tribute to Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: CD cover of live recording, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall recital, 7 November 2001, by Ensemble Liverpool / Live-A-Music - Piano Quintet Op.1 & Fantasiestucke Op.5 The black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912) is known almost exclusively for his large-scale work, 'Hiawatha's Wedding Feast'. There is however much more to this fascinating man than just one work, including the story behind his very early chamber music works such as the Opus 1 Piano Quintet of 1893.

Life and art are intertwined in the biography of this gentle, committed advocate of equal rights who was also a hugely talented musician.....

If ever there was a tale to be told, this is it. Samuel Coleridge Taylor lived only 37 years and is one of Britain’s best kept musical secrets. Black History Month, in October, will offer an opportunity to reveal more about the story behind the life of this remarkable man.

Samuel Coleridge (he was named after the poet) was born in Holborn London on 15 August 1875, the dark-skinned son of Dr Daniel Taylor, a London-trained physician from Sierra Leone whom the child never saw, and of an abandoned English mother, Alice Hare, who later married a railway worker and with him struggled to support their family in Croydon. Samuel's arrival was quite possibly out of wedlock – a shocking start in life in those unforgiving Victorian times. And yet, from this unpromising beginning, he was by the time of his death in 1912 a nationally feted figure, a composer, conductor and professor of music who travelled extensively, both within the United Kingdom and even, three times, to the United States.

A talent emerging
Samuel’s change in reputational (if not financial) fortunes began when he got to know a wealthy Croydon benefactor, Colonel Herbert Walters, who helped to pay for his childhood violin and piano lessons. The boy's talent then took him at an early age to study performance and composition at the newly-established Royal College of Music in London, where by the age of eighteen in 1893 he had produed his first mature pieces, including the magnificent Opus 1 Piano Quintet*.

There were, as with every composer, many formative influences, but even from his earliest works Samuel Coleridge-Taylor showed an interesting combination of approaches to composition; he employed unusual time measures (5/4 at one point in the Fantasiestcke) whilst incorporating also into his music the sorts of melodies and harmonies which he, though never having heard them at first hand for himself, believed might be found in his black (‘Anglo-African’) cultural heritage. This later resulted in several works such as the African Suite with its Danse Negre, as well as his Negro Melodies and much else.

Slavery, inequality and widening experience
Given Coleridge-Taylor’s personal family history, and his concerns throughout adulthood with slavery, inequality and injustice, it is telling that the Hiawatha trilogy, his best-known composition, relates the story of an Amerindian child raised by his grandmother who, as an adult, seeks out his father before leading his people forward courageously, making prophesies about the future of his race and the arrival of the white man.

Indeed, by 1900 and at the age of just 25, Coleridge-Taylor was reflecting art in life, as an elected representative to the great 1900 Pan-African Conference in London, which publicised the plight of African peoples throughout the British Empire. By then too his professional career was taking wings, and he was for some years the protégé of amongst others Sir Edward Elgar, as well as his original musical mentor, the first Principal of the Royal College of Music, Sir George Grove, and the composition professor, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Samuel was never to become wealthy – which, there being no Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation to promote his work after his death, meant his music was effectively lost for many years. But as the composer developed in adulthood as a musician and as a man, he commanded huge respect across the very broad spectrum of his friends and colleagues.

Mature work
By his death in 1912 Coleridge-Taylor had produced well over one hundred works, but it was his early extended choral trilogy, Scenes from the Song of Hiawatha, composed between 1898 and 1900, which brought him to the public eye. For many years even after his death this piece was performed annually at the Royal Albert Hall, in elaborate costume with processions and much theatre.

Other music by Coleridge-Taylor included many interesting and varied works, including several operas (A Tale of Old Japan springs tantalisingly to mind), chamber works (mostly from earlier in his career) and a Violin Concerto only recently recorded after many years of neglect, sometimes by those who should have known better. Slowly however there has been a re-emergence of his music, as manuscripts are rediscovered and if necessary edited into performable scores. The annual HOTFOOT concert of HOPES: The Hope Street Association in Liverpool has since 1996 presented a considerable number of Coleridge-Taylor pieces, including excerpts from Hiawatha, the African Suite, the Romance for Violin and Orchestra, the Petite Suite de Concert and the Ballet Suite.

For several years around the Millennium these and other performances of Coleridge-Taylor's music were encouraged by Daniel Labonne, who chaired the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Society.

Visits to the United States of America
Coleridge-Taylor carried out a large number of appointments as conductor or adjudicator at festivals and competitions, constantly travelling around Britain and beyond, and visited the United States three times, in 1904, 1906 qnd 1910 (probably departing from Liverpool; he knew John Archer of Liverpool, who was later to become the first black British mayor, in Battersea, and whose portrait is now in Liverpool Town Hall).

One interesting aspect of these travels is that Coleridge-Taylor is thought on occasion to have sent his manuscripts ahead, and there is a suspicion that his very early String Quartet, now lost, may have gone down with the Titanic.

Whilst in America Coleridge-Taylor conducted many of his own works, often performed by black musicians whose recent family history included slavery and oppression (at one point he refused to return to the USA until he had assurances that his singers, if not players, would be black people). During all his visits he was received as a great celebrity, eventually conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as the only black person present.

Because of this travel a considerable amount of Coleridge-Taylor’s music is to be found in repositories such as the Free Library of Philadelphia, rather than all at the Royal College of Music or elsewhere in Britain.. Coleridge-Taylor remains to this day a role model in the United States, with music societies and schools named after him.

A premature end
In 1912, after twelve years of happily married life (to Jessie Walmisley, another pianist) and fatherhood (his two children, Hiawatha and Gwendolyn, both also became musicians) but also of hard-pressed poverty, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died of pneumonia, a condition which previous good health – or antibiotics, had they been available then – would simply have seen him indisposed for a week or two.

And so, in his prime (who knows what other music he might have produced, given time?), died a thoroughly decent man, much loved and respected across the nation, and an inspirational musician.....

* A note on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s early work
Coleridge-Taylor’s early works were for chamber ensembles – probably the only performance forces available to him at the time. These works lay almost completely unacknowledged for the best part of a century. The Opus 1, or first formal work, Piano Quintet was resurrected from total obscurity in 2001 by Martin Anthony (aka Tony) Burrage (a violin and piano graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) who is Director of Ensemble Liverpool / Live-A-Music. This ensemble recorded the Opus 1 Piano Quintet in 2001 at a concert in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

Also recorded at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall concert was Coleridge-Taylor's 1895 Fantasiestucke for string quartet (first performed in modern times by Ensemble Liverpool / Live-A-Music, in 1993 to mark the Cornwallis initiative in Liverpool from a score also discovered by Tony Burrage, and originally published in 1921). The Op. 1 and Op. 5 pieces have also been performed elsewhere by Ensemble Liverpool / Live-A-Music, including during the 2002 Three Choirs Festival in Worcester, as part of the Ensemble's Across the Divide programme of works by a diverse range of turn-of-the century English speaking composers: Amy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), Coleridge-Taylor himself, William Hurlstone (1876-1906), Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) and Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924).

[Copies of a 2001 live concert recording of some of Coleridge-Taylor's chamber music can be accessed via the Royal College of Music (RCM) and the British Library.]

Coleridge-Taylor’s Piano Quintet and Fantasiestucke show the influence of Johannes Brahms (1833-97; his Clarinet Quintet was written in 1891) and Anton Dvorak (1841-1904; the
American Quartet was composed in 1893), as well as his mentors, English composers Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) and Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934; the Serenade for Strings was written in 1892/3). Other English contemporaries of Coleridge-Taylor, with whom he may have been in touch, were Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), Gustav Holst (1874-1932), John Ireland (1879-1962) and Sir Arnold Bax (1883-1953), as well as Coleridge-Taylor’s good friend and fellow student at the RCM, the tragically short-lived William Hurlstone (1876-1906).

The first ever public performance of the Piano Quintet Op. 1 was on 9 October 1893 in Croydon Public Hall, when the young composer himself played the piano part. (Other performers included a string quartet actually led by a woman, Jessie
Grimace.) The concert came about as a result of Coleridge-Taylor’s newly acquired status as a Royal College of Music composition scholar.

This experience must have been a huge ordeal for the shy eighteen-year-old, as yet barely acquainted with the ways of the London conservatoires (it is said he hid from everyone immediately after the concert); but it was, in the words of the Croydon Advertiser, an ‘astonishing’ event which left no doubt about either the performing capability or, even more strikingly, the compositional talent, of the retiring young man who was able even so early to produce an entire concert of his own work.

The Opus 5 Fantasiestucke, composed just two years after the Piano Quintet, was first performed on 13 March 1895, at the Royal College of Music in London. The work, in five movements,
is dedicated to Coleridge-Taylor’s composition teacher, (Sir) Charles Villiers Stanford. One tangible result for Coleridge-Taylor of this early performance was winning the Lesley Alexander prize for composition (£10, a very useful sum at that time for an impecunious student); and another was a ‘quite brilliant’ Spring report from his RCM teachers.

After his first engagement with chamber works – including the Clarinet Quintet, also of 1895 – Coleridge-Taylor veered towards wider forces and the more popular end of the musical spectrum, perhaps because of financial pressures.

We shall never know if, like some other composers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor would have returned to the more intimate focus of the chamber ensemble in later maturity; but some performers of these early pieces like to think he would have done so.


More articles with information on contemporary performances of Coleridge-Taylor's works


More books about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor:
Geoffrey Self (1995) The Hiawatha Man, Scholar Press

Charles Elford (2008) Black Mahler, Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd.

Read more about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

www.samuelcoleridgetaylor.org

HOPES: The Hope Street Association (Liverpool) was honoured by being invited in September 2000 to give the 'community festival' perspective at a national meeting in London attended by the Secretary of State for Culture, Chris Smith M.P., the Millennium Commissioners and their special guests. The paper which follows was presented on this occasion by HOPES Hon. Chair, Hilary Burrage.

HOPES: The Hope Street Association
Presentation to the Secretary of State for Culture, the Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, and the Millennium Commission
London, 22 September 2000

Maintaining the Momentum of Change: Making connections – building communities

THE HOPE STREET MILLENNIUM FESTIVAL (LIVERPOOL)
The Liverpool Hope Street Millennium Public Arts Route

Background
HOPES: The Hope Street Association came into being in 1994/5 as a result of the on-going campaign to support Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse Theatres and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, all of which were then under serious threat of financial calamity. Since 1991/2 The Campaign to Promote the Arts on Merseyside (CAMPAM – now amalgamated with HOPES) had proclaimed of these vital elements of Liverpool’s cultural life that ‘once lost, we will not get them back’.

The Hope Street Quarter is an area at the downtown edge of Liverpool City Centre which covers approximately a square kilometre. It is probably unique in the density of civic resources it offers, with an amazing number of cultural and educational institutions lined along and on either side of Hope Street itself. Almost all of these institutions are members or partners of HOPES, including both Cathedrals and both Universities, several colleges and training centres in the area, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Hall, and the Everyman and Unity Theatres. Other HOPES members importantly include local traders, professional businesses, residents and private individuals.

HOPES' Aims
From the very beginning, HOPES had a number of stated aims:

- to establish the area around Hope Street as a formal Quarter, thereby gaining for it and its constituent parts serious recognition as a springboard for appropriate, managed development;

- to establish formal liaison with decision-makers in the City of Liverpool in order to promote and develop the many aspects of Hope Street Quarter which put together would offer a striking synergy for renaissance of the area and the city as a whole;

- to establish a special identity as a not-for-profit body with links with national and other local bodies involved in regeneration and social entrepreneurship;

- to gain Millennium Commission recognition and support, especially for celebratory activities which brought together members of the local community and a wide range of artists and other professionals in the area.

It can be said in general terms that the year 2000 has seen a significant measure of success in all four of these objectives, and not least, in the first three cases, because of the impetus which Festival support from the Millennium Commission has provided.

Moving towards the Hope Street Millennium Festival
Hope Street’s Festival has been focused, although not exclusively, on the Midsummer period. We began earlier in the year with some ‘taster’ small concerts and children’s workshops in local community venues, and we will continue with these, and with other educational and arts projects, until the end of the year, and beyond. But the main focus has been Midsummer, following from a practice of running Midsummer Festivals which began in 1977, with the celebration of HM Queen’s Silver Jubilee and a pageant on Hope Street arising from Malcolm Arnold’s work, The Valley and the Hill. On that first occasion some 17,000 school children were involved, but from this grew a number of other Hope Street Midsummer Festivals which might be compared with, say, early Three Choirs Festivals in terms of content and delivery.

By the mid-1980s, however, this series of festivals had come to an end, and the first, tentative, festival of the current series was organised by the Hope Street Association in 1996. This first, modest venture was over one weekend only, but, encouraged by the interest it engendered, we have since developed annual programmes over longer periods, with the Millennium Midsummer Festival extending over the entire month of June.

Preparations for the Hope Street Millennium Festival have their roots in the very first decisions made by HOPES. We agreed at a well-attended public meeting to make an application to the Millennium Commission for a significant capital award to support the physical regeneration of the Hope Street Quarter - a bid, put together entirely on a volunteer / pro-bono basis, which was unsuccessful but which also drew considerable attention to the Quarter at a time when we were also seeking (ultimately successfully) to have the Quarter so designated by the city authorities. Several early rejections of economic development and arts-related bids, however, left us if anything more determined to succeed in a significant bid which would highlight the unique and exciting features of our Quarter. And so further work and public consultation led to the successful Millennium Festival Award which has now been delivered and employed with very real effect.

Facing the challenges
The Hope Street Association has however been seriously challenged in delivering such a festival. HOPES has almost no direct income (other than modest membership fees and occasional individual donations); but it does receive significant in-kind support from many sources, the most sustained of which has been provision of an office and facilities by the Liverpool Business School and, latterly, by the Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust. This generous support is matched by ‘staff’ who are young graduates on management-training placements from our Universities (mostly the Language Learning Centre of the University of Liverpool). These young people are mentored and supervised by HOPES’s Chair, a semi-retired lecturer who has hands-on involvement in the day-to-day running of the organisation. Without the enthusiasm and energy of HOPES’s ‘staff’ trainees the close community links and many activities of the Association and its Festival would not be possible – young people bring their own very valuable momentum to events!

Participating in the Hope Street Millennium Festival
A key aim of HOPES’ approach to the Millennium Festival has been community participation at every level. Our objective has been to deliver artistic and educational activities using highly-skilled professionals working with local people who have a close knowledge of the community – thereby, we hope, breaking down possible psychological and other barriers to collaboration in the renaissance of the Hope Street Quarter and helping where we can to bring about also the longed-for renaissance of Liverpool.

Over many months the following outline programme for the Hope Street Millennium Festival developed and has now been delivered:

Involvement of Merseyside schools in the Festival,, especially through

- an extended Banners project led by an Egyptian teacher, Nivien Mahmoud, who has come with her family to Liverpool whilst her husband studies at the University

- invitations to schools to involve their students in the now-established annual Hotfoot on Hope Street Midsummer concert at Philharmonic Hall

- poetry and arts / science ‘creativity’ projects led by HOPES graduate trainee Development Officer, Jo Doyle, with volunteer expert advice and support

Involvement of top-level artists and educationalists such as players from the Royal Liverpool Orchestra in a number of activities such as

- the Gala Midsummer Hotfoot on Hope Street concert at Philharmonic Hall, in which talented young amateur instrumentalists and singers performed music ranging from Peter and the Wolf to Beatles arrangements alongside players RLPO professionals

- informal chamber concerts by Live-A-Music, a group of RLPO players, at venues like St Bride’s Church, Toxteth (at the invitation of the Vicar) and Liverpool Town Hall (at the invitation, on BBC Music Live Day, of the Lord Mayor)

- music workshops for children (and their parents) run alongside these concerts by another Live-A-Music / RLPO player, Richard Gordon-Smith (also HOPES’ Composer-in-Residence) at community venues such as St Bride’s and The Blackie

- an emphasis on music by ‘minority’ composers and performers, eg: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (researched by Live-A-Music’s Director, Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage) and the Saurang Orchestra, initiated by Surinder Sandhu, which brings together professional players from the Indian, Western and Jazz traditions – and which this time included performance of the international Ode to Joy, supported by Liverpool City Council Arts Unit and David Ellwand of Summer Music

- the creation overall of 60+ engagements in the city for professional performers, as well as encouragement for new composers via a competition offering opportunities for winning entries to be performed by a professional group of musicians

Involvement of the wider local and Merseyside community through

- widespread media coverage, local leafleting / newsletters, consultation meetings etc

- a longer-term commitment to establish a Hope Street Millennium Public Arts Route celebrating the activities of all who have been involved in our Millennium Festival

- maintaining contacts in local communities through friends and colleagues made whilst HOPES provided administrative support for the 1998 Liverpool Windrush activities (at the initial suggestion of Jeffrey Morris of BBC Television)

- development of an on-going website (which now averages 25 ‘hits’ per day)

- a dazzling pre-Launch performance at the Metropolitan (RC) Cathedral by Sicilian flag-throwers, arranged by Mrs Nunzia Bertali, Italian consul for Merseyside

- engagement of local people to provide voluntary advice and assistance in the development, marketing and promotion of all the Festival activities, through an informal network of Festival Committee members and helpers – including Arthur Bowling, a Millennium Fellow who was introduced to HOPES by the Commission


- concerts and free workshops over several months which had marketing campaigns targeted particularly at local communities around Hope Street, for which, in addition to wider promotional support from the RLPS, we delivered leaflets door-to-door

- producing and displaying the HOPES Banners all along Hope Street for the Midsummer weekend, in a collaboration with schools, Liverpool University Student Guild and their Organiser Emily Coombes, the Youth Service, the Probation Service (who provided community service probationers to actually mount the banners) – and, crucially, the owners of all the stretches of iron railing along the street

- a ‘Family Fun Day’ on Sunday 18 June, when we collaborated with the Dingle SALE (Southern Area Local Enterprise), the Police, Liverpool John Moores University and other authorities to close a stretch of Hope Street and offer free family entertainment (Brownies and local dance groups, young popular musicians, balloons, craft and activity stalls in the John Moores University car park on the corner of Hope Street, etc.) which many people enjoyed - in brilliant sunshine!

Involvement of HOPES members, regeneration professionals and other interested practitioners, students and citizens through

- displays, newspaper articles and radio / TV interviews about the Festival and regeneration of the Quarter

- a formal Festival Launch when Angela Heslop, Arts Editor of Radio Merseyside, gave the Annual HOPES State of the Arts on Merseyside address

- displays, newspaper articles and radio / TV interviews about the Festival etc

- a HOPES Millennium Gala Dinner, attended by Guests of Honour The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mrs Louise Ellman MP for Liverpool Riverside, Councillor Mike Storey as Leader of Liverpool City Council, and David Scougall, a Director of the British Urban Regeneration Association, as speaker, with many other significant figures in Liverpool’s regeneration alongside other members and supporters of HOPES

- liaison with bodies such as the Musicians’ Union and others, in an informal network

- a National Conference, Art at the Heart: The Role of Established Cultural Quarters in City Renaissance, which had as Keynote Speaker Chris Brown of the Urban Task Force, as well as a wide range of other development practitioners and academics

- production after this conference of a publication, The Hope Street Papers, which contains professional presentations from actual speakers and others, as well as responses from members of the public who attended the conference as participants

HOPES’ current position
Whilst HOPES remains an organisation dependent almost entirely on volunteer activity and support, with many professionals and members of the community giving their services freely, our position has shifted very positively during our Millennium Festival year. Significant factors in this change include

- strengthening of community links, eg, through collaboration with Dingle SALE, the St Bride’s (Canning / Toxteth) community and the University of Liverpool Students’ Guild community volunteers

- greater involvement with the Universities and Colleges (eg: invitations to work with fifth year Architecture students at Liverpool and LJMU, to perform a community chamber concert at Liverpool Art School, to collaborate with the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Institute for Performing Art in a science theatre proposal, and to collaborate with music students at Liverpool Hope University College)

- agreement from the Charity Commission that HOPES can register in the near future as an arts, educational and conservation etc charity, expressly to benefit the City of Liverpool and the local community

- much strengthened links with the British Urban Regeneration Association, the North-West Regional Development Agency, the NW Arts Board, the Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust , Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Local Agenda 21, Aurora, the Musicians’ Union and other significant organisations

- establishing working contact with the London-based School for Social Entrepreneurs, especially since this year our graduate trainee Development Officer, Jo Doyle, has at HOPES’ initial suggestion been studying there; she is currently developing a HOPES programme which will bring together professional musicians (eg: from the RLPO / Live-A-Music) and community-based practitioners to engage young popular musicians in a New Deal scheme addressing social exclusion

- development of a formal relationship with the City of Liverpool’s Youth (Life Long Learning) Service, which has agreed to offer financial support for Jo Doyle’s project

- making professional musical connections with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Society (based in Croydon, where he lived) and members of the Saurang Orchestra (who visit Liverpool to play in it from India and the United States) – so providing proof positive that ‘classical’ music is not the preserve simply of a certain type of person

- increasingly strong connections with the innovative public-private partnership city-centre development agency, Liverpool Vision, and with the City of Liverpool’s new Regeneration Directorate (who very helpfully introduced us to the Youth Service)

- establishing as a priority consideration of mechanisms for graduate retention in Liverpool, beyond simply the post-graduate management training phase

- achieving the prime objective of the Association, which is to establish the need for acknowledgement and renaissance of the Hope Street Quarter – this was recently accomplished after submissions to and high-level discussions with the City’s Unitary Development Plan office and then with the new City Centre Development Company, Liverpool Vision, which in July revised its strategy to include Hope Street Quarter as a primary location for attention, having initially not done so at all

The advantage of Millennium Funding
For all these developments the advantage of Festival funding from the Millennium Commission has been enormous. It allowed us to plan a Festival in confidence, knowing that we could pay at least essential bills; and, most importantly, it gave us credibility and a new and higher profile. That's worth more than almost anything else.