Colour of Music


About the Festival

Few classical music enthusiasts are aware of the tremendous contributions of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer whose opera and classical masterpieces equaled or far exceeded those of his 18th-century contemporaries. Although his compositions are highly recognized overseas, they have gathered little notice in the United States. Today there are thousands of celebrated and prodigiously talented classical principals, composers and performers of African descent throughout the world. Yet, their opportunities to grace concert stages of major American orchestras are rare to non-existent. The Colour of Music Festival’s mission is reversing this trend.

Now in its fifth year, the Colour of Music Festival offers a musical kaleidoscope highlighting the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture. The annual Colour of Music Festival will take place at various venues throughout historic Charleston, South Carolina.

Assembling acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists to form the Colour of Music Orchestra, the five-day Festival showcases some of the top black classical musicians in the United States, trained at some of the most prestigious music schools, conservatories and universities in the world.

Highlights | October 18-22, 2017

This year brings leading black artists from across the globe to Charleston with featured performers from France, Britain, Colombia, and the Caribbean.

Again this year leading black artists from around the globe – from France, Britain, Colombia, and the Caribbean – will return and perform in Charleston. Highlights include an ode to Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and chronicled worldwide as one of the most incredible voices in modern times. Ms. Price celebrates her 90th birthday (February 10th) acknowledging her enormous contribution to black classical advancements. Leontyne. Price had a close professional relationship with Mr. Barber that spanned decades. His Hermit Songs  had their premiere in 1953 at the Library of Congress with soprano Leontyne Price and Barber himself as pianist.

The Festival will welcome the virtuoso Grimbert-Barré Trio, featuring brothers Romuald, Jonathan and Maxence Grimbert-Barré, debuting Jonathan Grimbert-Barrés’ Triple concerto for string trio and orchestra.

Masterworks Series

Opening the Festival’s Masterworks Series at the Saturday, October 21 black tie gala performance of 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 in the Wedding Feast – the movement that made Mr. Coleridge-Taylor famous for many years, extending the composer’s name throughout the world.

The Festival concludes October 22 with an Ode to the Emanuel-9, its survivors and congregation, with a moving performance of Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee, and the première performance of Trevor Weston’s Requiem For Rice under the baton of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow.

Chamber Series

The Chamber Series will highlight the sensational Paris-based Grimbert-Barré Trio, brothers Romuald, Jonathan and Maxence, in a special chamber presentation, showcasing the three virtuoso classical musicians, two of whom are world-class composers.