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August 2013
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Getting to Know Chicago’s Composers

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Chicago Composers on Cedille Chicago Presents, Wednesday at 11:00 PM

The New York Times obituary read:

“His career took him from the concert halls of Europe to…Max Roach…he did arranging for Marvin Gaye, Harry Belafonte…”

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s musical life seemed to know no bounds. Perkinson was born into a musical family (he was named for the British black composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor), but initially entered NYU in hopes of becoming a public school teacher. Music won the day, however; he soon transferred to the Manhattan School of Music. He regularly lent his baritone voice to churches around Manhattan, he studied conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, composition at Princeton. He went on to do arrangements for Lou Rawls and write ballets for Alvin Ailey, and Dance Theater of Harlem. He even wrote scores for film and television, including the theme for “Room 222.” Eventually he landed in Chicago, becoming director of the performance program at Columbia College’s Center for Black Music Research.

Still, most of us need a refresher course on the music of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. You can hear works by this 20th century American original on Cedille Chicago Presents at 11:00 PM on Wednesday (a special time due to the live broadcast from Grant Park).

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