Michigan’s Holland Symphony revives score by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Posted on: March 25, 2022

“Can a small orchestra working on a shoestring budget make a global difference in the world of classical music?,” writes Shandra Martinez in Wednesday’s (3/24) Lakeshore (West Michigan). “One example might be the Holland Symphony Orchestra lifting up a once-renowned composition by 19th-century Black composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Not only did the orchestra introduce Coleridge-Taylor’s music to its small-town audience in a concert last fall, but it now is making the arrangement available for free to orchestras around the globe…. ‘It’s wonderful to see an important work like Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha Suite infuse orchestra programs,’ says Simon Woods, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. ‘[Music Director] Johannes Müller Stosch and the Holland Symphony Orchestra are providing a great service by helping to make this music accessible to the orchestra field.’… While [Coleridge-Taylor’s] music was wildly popular in its day, it didn’t make it across the centuries. With the exception of William Grant Still, few Black composers are … performed by today’s orchestras…. Stosch … credits the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Movement for creating interest in the classical music world in bringing diversity to programming. But for that to happen, these pieces need to be listed in anthologies and the parts need to be available.”