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 fourth 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 at various venues throughout historic Charleston, South Carolina.

Assembling acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists to form the Colour of Music Orchestra, the four-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.

Maestro Marlon Daniel, Music Director of New York based Ensemble Du Monde, Artistic Director of Festival International Saint-Georges and Principal Guest Conductor of the Sofia Sinfonietta in Bulgaria, will once again serve as Music Director and conduct the Festival’s orchestra.

Festival Highlights | October 19-23, 2016

This year brings leading black artists from across the globe to Charleston with featured performers from France, Britain, Colombia, and the Caribbean. Highlights include the début of 18th century African-French composer Chevalier de Saint George’s only opera ever discovered, The Anonymous Lover, featuring Magali Léger, native of Saint George’s birthplace, the Isle of Guadeloupe, showcasing the Festival’s All Things French (Toutes Les Choses Françaises) motif.

Masterworks Series

Opening the Masterworks Series Thursday, October 20 The Anonymous Lover petit opera will make its world première in South Carolina featuring Léger and her considerable vocal athleticism and ringing high notes. Continuing the French musical motif, Maestro Daniel welcomes virtuoso French-born violinist Romuald Grimbert-Barré serving as guest Concertmaster and soloist performing Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 44 in G Minor.

Friday October 21, led by German-born and South American-based Concertmaster Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, the orchestra welcomes 17-year old piano virtuoso Clayton Stephenson, a founding competitor of the inaugural Van Cliburn Junior Competition, to perform Sergei Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major.

The Festival’s Saturday, October 22 black tie gala performance will be led by Roderick Cox, Associate Conductor of the renowned Minnesota Orchestra, conducting Carl Orff’s magnificent choral masterpiece Carmina Burana.

The Festival concludes October 23 with an Ode to the Emanuel-9, its survivors, and congregation with a moving performance of Johannes Brahms’ Schicksalslied, Op. 54 (Song of Destiny), and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem under the baton of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow. 

Chamber Series

The Chamber Series is highlighted by sensational British family, the Kanneh- Mason Trio, in a special chamber presentation, showcasing its three virtuoso classical musicians who are paving the way for three younger members of the family to début at a future Colour of Music Festival, and New York-based classical guitarist Thomas Flippin joins violinist Romuald Grimbert-Barre for a special intimate chamber performance of guitar and violin.