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 sixth 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.

The 2018 Festival takes place October 24-28 featuring leading black artists from France, Britain, Colombia, the Caribbean, and the United States performing orchestral and choral works, chamber, piano, organ, vocal recitals, and opportunities for community education. The COMF Baroque to Early Classical music theme this year is a perfect evolution for our growing Chamber Music Series. An impressive array of Baroque gems comprise our 2018 Festival.

2018 Colour of Music Festival Highlights

  • Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op 4., Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s Calvary String Quartet No. 1, and Felix Mendelssohn: Octet in E-flat major, op. 20, for strings.
  • J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 2 in B Minor, Georg Philipp Telemann Viola Concerto For Stings in G Major and a special presentation of Antonio Vivaldi Concerto for 2 horns.
  • A chamber finale presentation highlighting classical guitar (the Lute) a program of Vivaldi and Luigi Boccherini Quintet No. 1 for Guitar and Strings.
  • This year our Masterworks gala performance on Saturday, October 27, will be an evening of splendid Baroque and early classical compositions of George F. Handel’s Zadok the Priest: The Coronation Anthem, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Symphonie Op. 11, L’amant anonyme; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 and Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major.
  • The Festival concludes Sunday, October 28, with a matinee memorial performance – an Ode to black composers, presenting a moving performance of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat.