FOCUS: Colour of Music Festival’s 5th year to open Oct. 18 across Charleston

Anyago Yarbo-Davenport will pay a tribute to opera sensation Leontyne Price. (Photos provided)

By Allison Savicz, special to Charleston Currents  |  Celebrating five years, the Colour of Music Festival offers a musical kaleidoscope showcasing the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture October 18-22, 2017 at various venues in historic Charleston, South Carolina.

The largest black-presenting classical organization in the world, the Colour of Music Festival brings 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 with over 15 performances.

Highlights this year include an all-female Colour of Music Festival Orchestra led by German-born, Columbia South American violinist Anyago Yarbo-Davenport paying tribute to the 90th birthday of opera sensation Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and a major contributor to black classical music advancement. In honor of Price’s work with composer Samuel Barber superstar soprano Angela Brown will perform Barber’s Hermit Songs.

Grimbert-Barré Trio

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.

A literary event featuring Dr. Christopher Brooks and Robert Sims authors of best-selling biography Ronald Hayes, The Legacy of An American Tenor is followed with Christopher Brooks and Leontyne’s Price’s brother George B. Price chronicling the personal story of her rise to fame. Dr. Karen Chandler of the College of Charleston and Charles Kaufmann, Longfellow Chorus Artistic Director will discuss the legacy of Afro-British composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) referred to as the “African Mahler.”

A Black-Tie Gala and the opening of the Masterworks series will feature Kazem Adbullah conducting Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s magnificent orchestra and choral masterpiece The Song of Hiawatha’s Overture and Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Internationally acclaimed tenor Roderick Dixon will sing the solo from the Wedding Feast — the movement that made Mr. Coleridge-Taylor famous.

The Festival closes Sunday, October 22 under the baton of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow, with a memorial performance honoring black composers of our past and 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.

How to purchase tickets for the Colour of Music Festival  

  • In person: Gaillard Center Box Office, 95 Calhoun Street, Charleston
  • By phone: (843) 242-3099
  • Online:
  • At door: (credit card, cash or check) before each performance
  • Series packages with discounts up to 30 percent off available; all-inclusive packages for college professors/administrators, church groups, and groups of ten or more. $10 for schools/church youth groups.

Allison Savicz is publicist for the Colour of Music Festival Charleston.


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