2017 Colour of Music: Five-Day All Black Classical Music Festival

Colour of Music Festival Orchestra

The Colour of Music Festival announces the fifth annual Colour of Music Festival October 18-22, 2017 offering a musical kaleidoscope showcasing the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture at various venues in historic Charleston, South Carolina.

Since 2013 the Colour of Music Festival (COMF) has brought international, national, and regional classically trained black musicians to fill the streets and halls of Charleston with musical sounds that have been a part of the world stage for more than 300 years. Its goal is to give the public an opportunity to experience the talent of prodigiously gifted classical principals, composers, and performers of African descent the opportunity to share their musical talents, knowledge, and inspiration.

Few classical music enthusiasts are aware of the tremendous contributions of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer, and contemporary of Mozart, whose opera and classical masterpieces equaled or far exceeded those of his 18th century contemporaries. Though highly recognized overseas, his contributions have gathered little notice in the U.S. Today thousands of tremendously talented black classical principals, composers, and performers have few opportunities to grace concert stages of major American orchestras.

Featuring acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists to form the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra, the five-day festival showcases artists from across the globe trained at some of the most prestigious music schools, conservatories, and universities in the world. Programs include organ, piano, vocal, chamber, orchestral performances as well as an educational symposium series.

The 2017 Festival features leading black artists from France, Britain, Colombia, the Caribbean, and the United States performing orchestral and choral works, chamber, piano, organ, vocal recitals, and opportunities for community education.

Leading black maestros Kazem Abdullah and David E. Morrow will serve as guest conductors to lead the Masterwork Series and Anyango Yarbo-Davenport will lead an all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi.

2017 Colour of Music Festival highlights include:

  • An all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi extends a year-long tribute acknowledging the 90th birthday (February 10, 2017) of opera sensation Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and a major contributor to black classical music advancement, and in honor of her work with composer Samuel Barber featuring soprano Angela Brown performing Barber’s Hermit Songs
  • Paris-based chamber virtuoso Grimbert-Barré Trio featuring brothers Romuald, Jonathan, and Maxence Grimbert-Barré, début Jonathan Grimbert-Barrés’ Triple Concerto for String Trio and Orchestra
  • Opening the Festival’s Masterworks Series, the Saturday, October 21 Black Tie Gala performance features German-based Maestro Kazem Adbullah conducting Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s magnificent orchestra and choral masterpiece The Song of Hiawatha’s Overture and Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. The internationally acclaimed tenor Roderick Dixon will sing the solo from the Wedding Feast — the movement that made Mr. Coleridge-Taylor famous extending the composer’s name throughout the world
  • Under the baton of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow, the Sunday October 22 Matinee Memorial performance honors black composers of our past, the Emanuel-9 and survivors featuring Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee, Franz Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and the world première performance of Trevor Weston’s Unburied, Unmourned, and Unmarked for string orchestra in honor of those who perished during the Middle Passage

In addition, a two-part morning symposium series featuring thought leaders and musicians will highlight academic perspectives of the cultural contributions of black artists Topics include An Ode to Leontyne Price and The Legacy of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Revisted.

The Festival will once again expand its Education and Community Engagement activities to include schools in Berkeley and Charleston Counties with the addition of Dorchester County schools.

“Completing our first four years on an artistic high we eagerly look forward to reaching new musical heights with black classically trained talent from around the globe. Entering our fifth season we turn a corner with a program that includes an all-female chamber orchestra led by Anyango Yarbo-Davenport honoring opera legend Leontyne Price,” said Lee Pringle, General Manager and Artistic Director.


Colour of Music Festival Tickets and Information $11-$72

In person: Gaillard Center Box Office, 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston

By phone (843) 242-3099

Online: www.colourofmusic.org

At door: (credit card, cash or check) before each performance

Series packages with discounts up to 30% off available

All-inclusive packages for college professors/administrators, church groups, and groups of ten or more available; $10 for schools/church youth groups



October 18-22, 2017 • Charleston South Carolina 

Symposium Presentations • 10:00am

Gaillard Center Salon 1, 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston                                                                    

Fri Oct 20                 Ode to Leontyne Price                                    

Sat Oct 21                  The Legacy of Black Composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor


High Noon Organ Recital • 12:00pm

St. Philips Church, 142 Church Street, Charleston

Fri Oct 20                 Collin Richardson

Sat Oct 21                  Mick Thomas Terry


Chamber Music Vocal Matinees • 2:00pm

Murray Center Salon, 14 George Street, Charleston

Wed Oct 18                Rodrick Dixon, Tenor

Thu Oct 19                 Angela Brown, Soprano


Ebony and Ivory Piano Recitals • 5:00pm

Murray Center Salon, 14 George Street

Fri Oct 20                 Nnenna Ogwo, Pianist                                                            

Sat Oct 21                  Dynasty Battles, Pianist                                                                      


Chamber Music Series • 7:00pm

Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street

Wed Oct 18                Wade Davis, cello and Leslie Paris Kwan, harpsicord                                          

Thu Oct 19                 Colour of Music Female Virtuosi (all-female chamber orchestra)

Fri Oct 20                   Grimbert-Barre Trio (North American debut)                                                                                                                                    


Masterworks Series I

Gaillard Center Martha & John Rivers Performance Hall and Grand Ballroom

Sat Oct 21      Gala Evening Performance                                                             

7:00pm            Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 featuring soprano, Angela Brown, and The Song of Hiawatha’s Overture and Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast featuring internationally acclaimed tenor Roderick Dixon; Maestro Kazem Abdullah conducting the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra

9:00-11:00     Black Classical Renaissance Gala Benefit

Cocktails/hors-d’oeuvres, live music and dance with orchestra members)


Masterwork Series II

Gaillard Center Martha & John Rivers Performance Hall

Sun Oct 22     Matinee Memorial Honoring Black Composers of Our Past and

5:00pm           Emanuel-9 Survivors                                                            

Featuring Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee, Franz Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass world premiere of Trevor Weston’s Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked under the baton of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow


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