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Coleridge-Taylor, Avril (1903—)

Coleridge-Taylor, Avril (1903—)

English conductor, composer, and pianist who founded and conducted two orchestras and composed numerous orchestral, chamber, piano, and vocal works. Born Avril Gwendolen Coleridge-Taylor in South Norwood, England, on March 18, 1903; daughter of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, distinguished African-British composer.

The daughter of noted composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Avril Coleridge-Taylor seemed destined to write music. Her first composition was penned at age 12, and she won a scholarship to attend the Trinity College of Music to study piano and composition the same year. Gordon Jacob and Alec Rowely taught her composition while she learned conducting from Sir Henry Wood, the famous founder of the Proms concerts. Coleridge-Taylor founded two orchestras—the Coleridge-Taylor Symphony Orchestra, which she conducted from 1946 until 1951, and the Malcolm Sargent Symphony Orchestra. She also founded and directed the New World Singers, a male voice ensemble. In addition, she frequently conducted. Coleridge-Taylor was the first woman to conduct the H.M. Royal Marine band. She also conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. During her conducting career, she continued to compose. Some of her works include Ceremonial March for Independence of Ghana (1957), Comet Prelude (1952), Symphonic Impression (1942), and a Piano Concerto in F-minor (1938).

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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