Live! Our Samuel Coleridge-Taylor exhibition

We are delighted to present "A Tremendous Ovation": Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at the Brighton Dome, our micro exhibition and film celebrating the groundbreaking composer and his connection to Brighton.

Read on to learn about the project and the wonderful reaction our film received during its recent screening at the Brighton Dome to complement Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective’s performance of Coleridge-Taylor’s chamber music.

A group of people standing and sitting in a room watching The Mixed Museum's film about Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Our film 'A Tremendous Ovation' being played at the Corn Exchange, 18 February 2024.

Restoring Coleridge-Taylor's legacy

The son of a Sierra Leonean father and English mother, Coleridge-Taylor was one of the most popular British composers of the early twentieth century. Though performances of his work fell out of favour post-WW2, today his music is increasingly being revived by a new cohort of musicians who are also advocating for wider recognition of his historical importance.

We are delighted to play a part in restoring public knowledge of Coleridge-Taylor through our micro-exhibition and short video exploring the composer’s connection to Brighton.

 Visit "A Tremendous Ovation": Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at the Brighton Dome" at this link.

Click below to watch the short film on YouTube.

About the exhibition

‘A Tremendous Ovation’ centres on Coleridge-Taylor’s 1908 appearance at the Brighton Dome, when he caused a sensation conducting his wildly popular Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast cantata to a rapturous Dome audience. A remastered version of this beautiful music - generously provided by Chris Goddard - can be heard througout the short film.

At the heart of the exhibition and film is the beautiful artwork and animation of Kinga Markus – our current Artist in Residence. While there are many wonderful images of Coleridge-Taylor, very few exist that show him on stage. Kinga’s illustrations help bring to life the excitement of the Dome’s audience at seeing the celebrated composer in real life, perhaps the first man of Black heritage most of the concertgoers had ever seen.

Coleridge-Taylor on the Brighton Dome's stage, 1908, as imagined by Kinga Markus. © Kinga Markus.
Coleridge-Taylor on the Brighton Dome's stage, 1908, as imagined by Kinga Markus. © Kinga Markus.

The exhibition also looks at the special relationship between Coleridge-Taylor and members of Brighton’s classical musical scene, as well as the popularity of Hiawatha at the Dome after Coleridge-Taylor’s death in 1912.

Through our project, we discovered that The Royal Albert Hall’s interwar Hiawatha productions - starring hundreds of singers and dancers and featuring the Native American singer Os-Ke-Non-Ton - were faithfully reproduced throughout the 1930s on the Dome’s newly refurbished stage. We are grateful to the Museum of Music History for allowing us access to their archives to learn more about these productions and to reproduce the photographs as part of our exhibition. 

Photograph of a production of Hiawatha at the Royal Albert Hall. The huge stage has a scenic North American backdrop and several teepees can be see. Chief Oskenonton s standing in the middle of the stage wearing traditional Native American clothing. He is surrounded by hundreds of performers - also in Native American dress - with their arms outstretched.
Chief Os-Ke-Non-Ton singing at the Wedding Feast (Act I). Reproduced by permission of the Museum of Music History.

Coleridge-Taylor’s return to the Dome’s stage

Pianist Tom Poster, violinist Elena Urioste and cellist Laura van der Heljden performing on stage at the Corn Exchange

With perfect timing, just after our exhibition launched, we discovered that Coleridge-Taylor’s music was returning to the Dome. On Sunday 18th February 2024, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective performed Coleridge-Taylor’s Piano Trio in E minor as part of their coffee morning concert at the newly refurbished Corn Exchange. To accompany the performance, the Dome screened our film at the Corn Exchange. Around 200 members of the audience viewed the film before the concert and during its interval.

Chamion Caballero and Laura Smith standing in front of a screen showing an image of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Chamion Caballero and Laura Smith at the screening of "A Tremendous Ovation" at the Corn Exchange, Brighton.
Laura Smith, Chamion Caballero, Elena Urioste and Laura van der Heijden smiling for the camera in the Brighton Corn Exchange.
Laura and Chamion with Elena Urioste and Laura van der Heijden from the Kaleidescope Chamber Collective.

Pianist Tom Poster also mentioned the film at the start of the concert, remarking how wonderful it was to learn about Coleridge-Taylor’s Brighton connections, and to return his work to the Dome. In 2022, Kaleidoscope – who are committed to celebrating diversity and unearthing lesser known works – released an album featuring three works written by Coleridge-Taylor when he was an eighteen-year-year old student at the Royal College of Music.

"A Tremendous Ovation" was funded as part of Brighton Dome’s Heritage Takes Centre Stage project. Arts and Heritage organisation Writing Our Legacy was responsible for choosing six projects to help find and share underrepresented histories of the venue as part of their Reveal commission, of which our roject was one.

Representatives from the projects also enjoyed Kaleidoscope’s concert, as well as a chance to meet up to discuss individual projects and possible collaborations.

A group of people standing on the stairs and posing for a photo at the Corn Exchange.
Chamion and Laura with (front row l-r) Alex Epps and Kyla Booth-Lucking from the Dome team and Amy Zamarippa Solis from Writing our Legacy, and (on stairs) other Reveal project members.

Members of the public have already been in touch with fascinating responses and information in response to "A Tremendous Ovation". Already, we are discussing ideas on how we might build on our Coleridge-Taylor Brighton project, including exploring new research avenues such as the positive impact of Hiawatha on amateur orchestras in Britain.

Learn more

Visit the digital exhibition or watch the short video.

Listen to the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective play the Piano Trio in E minor and other chamber music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor on Spotify.

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