Boston spotlight on African American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Posted on: September 27, 2017

On Thursday, Castle of Our Skins, a Boston-based classical and contemporary chamber music ensemble focusing on music by black American composers, will offer “an all-too-rare chance to hear Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s music in performance—in this case, parts of his String Quartet No. 1, composed in 1956,” writes Matthew Guerrieri in Wednesday’s (9/27) Boston Globe. “Named after the British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Perkinson (1932-2004) was marked for music from the start. The Quartet displays Perkinson’s thorough academic training…. [He conducted] ensembles and [arranged] for such jazz lions as Max Roach and Donald Byrd, joining Roach’s quintet as pianist for a crucial European tour. Perkinson lent his facility with strings, horn sections, and choirs to Melvin van Peebles, Harry Belafonte, and Marvin Gaye. He wrote for ballet and theater, film and television.… He helped start the Symphony of the New World, the first American orchestra featuring both black and white musicians; later he founded and conducted Chicago’s New Black Music Repertory Ensemble.… [In the] 1978 anthology ‘The Black Composer Speaks,’ he was asked about the black artist’s role in society. His answer? ‘To be excellent.’ ” Following Thursday’s performance of Perkinson’s quartet at Boston’s African Meeting House, Castle of Our Skins will perform it before the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s free concert in Franklin Park on Oct. 1.

Posted September 27, 2017