The Master Composer: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

This project, a partnership project with Morley College, commemorates the 110th anniversary of the almost forgotten, yet extraordinary life of one of Britain’s Black British Composers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 -1912).

Very little is known about the life and extraordinary talent of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor both in the realms of his music and contributions to the fight for racial equality.

Born in Holborn in 1875 to an English mother and a father originally from Sierra Leone, Coleridge-Taylor worked with the starry likes of Edward Elgar and Charles Villiers Stanford, and once even met President Theodore Roosevelt at the White House.

This project includes an exhibition and a series of musical performances in partnership with Morley College to commemorate the life of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, as well as a touring exhibition to Deptford Lounge, Milton Keynes Library and Harrow Arts Centre.

Deptford Lounge Exhibition: 3rd – 31st October 2022

The touring exhibition about the life of Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was installed at the Deptford lounge. The exhibition included photographs, documents and original materials sourced from the Black Cultural Archives, the Black Cultural Archives, the British Newspaper Archives, the London Metropolitan Archives, the Museum of Croydon, the Royal Choral Society, and the Royal College of Music.


“No greater gift could you give to other by showing this exhibition”.

“Thank you for highlighting once more a story that we/our community never hear about. I was very interested in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s achievements. There should be a space where an audience could listen and appreciate his forgotten gift and talent”.

Milton Keynes Library Exhibition: 4th – 31st October 2022


“A genius. Light that shines brilliance through generations”.

Morley Gallery Exhibition: 6th – 27th October 2022

The exhibition was held in the main gallery, open to the public, and also featured some audio material of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s compositions for visitors to interact with.


“Excellent exhibition – well researched & presented. I learned a lot about a composer that I had heard of but did not know so much about his impressive campaigning. Thank you!”

“Lovely exhibition. I love the black and white photos. Interesting connections with Washington, Du Bois and Dunbar that I wasn’t aware of. Thank you!”

“A well-constructed exhibition – and education. Filling in the vague gaps and prompting to hear his compositions”

“Wonderful exhibition. My grandfather went to see him around Croydon in the 1910s. Very powerful letters, too. So well expressed”

Lunchtime Concert at Morley College: 11th October 2022

The project included a free lunchtime piano recital of his compositions, held in the Holst room, performed by Advanced piano students. This was part of the weekly Tuesday Lunchtime Concert series during Black History Month in October.

Samuel Coleridge Taylor Orchestral Concert at Morley College: 20th October 2022

On Thursday 20th October there was a concert held in the Emma Cons Hall at Morley College which included a select number of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor pieces performed by the Morley Chamber Orchestra. The concert was preceded by a small private tour of the exhibition held at Morley Gallery.

The following pieces were performed:

  • Antonín Dvořák – Legend op.59 no.7 and Legend op.59 no.9
  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor;
    • Ballade in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra op.4 (with Leon Human on the violin)
    • Novelette op.52 no.1
    • Zara’s Earrings for Soprano and Orchestra op.7 (with Sera Baines on Soprano)
    • Petite Suite de Concert op.77 (1. Le caprice de Nanette, 2. Demande et reponse, 3. Un sonnet d’amour and 4. La tarentelle fretillante).


“What a wonderful evening of discovery. Great Exhibition and the chance to hear it ‘in sound’.”

“I enjoyed the evening very much. I think the people that organised it did it very well. I enjoyed the music very much.”

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Songs of Sun and Shade Recital: 4th November 2022

This project will culminate with an exhibition at Harrow Arts Centre in spring 2023.