Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Known for his versatile talent across many musical genres, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson was an American composer.

Photo: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, https://www.classicsforkids.com/composers/composer_profile.php?id=173

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About

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson was an American composer born on June 14, 1932. He was named after African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He attended school in New York, studying at the High School of Music and Art. After graduating, he began his college studies at New York University, then later transferred to the Manhattan School of Music where he earned his bachelors and masters degree in composition. During this time, he had studied with many other great composers such as Vittorio Giannini, Charles Mills and Earl Kim. 

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson was a very versatile artist, expanding his work across many genres such as classical, pop, dance, film, television, and jazz. In 1965, he had co-founded the Symphony of the New World in New York, the first ever racially integrated orchestra in the United States, and had ultimately became the Musical Director. 

Perkinson had also made a name for himself in the dance world. He had worked with world renowned dancer Alvin Ailey, writing a ballet for him entitled For Bird, With Love. Perkinson would eventually work as the Music Director for three dance companies: Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, and Jerome Robbin’s American Theater Lab. 

Perkinson had developed a rich discography of musical works across multiple genres. He had composed five symphonies, his most well known being Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings and Fredome/Freedom for SATB Chorus and Piano (1970). Perkinson also has a large number of solo and instrumental works such as Blue/s Form for Solo Violin (1979) and Lamentations Black/Folk Song Suite for Solo Cello (1973).  In film, he composed works for A Warm December (1973), Thomasine & Bushrod (1972), The Education of Sonny Carson (1974), Montgomery to Memphis (1970), and many more. In popular music, Perkinson had written arrangements for major recording artists including Harry Belafonte and Marvin Gaye.

-Cristina Benn

This profile was created in 2021 as part of The Savvy Singer, an EXCEL Lab course at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a collaboration with the Hampsong Foundation via the Classic Song Research Initiative.

Bibliography:

Keiser Southern Music. “Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson – Keiser Southern Music.” Www.keisersouthernmusic.com, Keiser Southern Music, www.keisersouthernmusic.com/composers/coleridge-taylor-perkinson. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021. 

Moore, Carman, and Anya Laurence. “Perkinson, Coleridge-Taylor.” Oxford Music Online, 6 Feb. 2012, 10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.a2219404. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

The New York Public Library. “Archives.nypl.org — Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson Papers.” Archives.nypl.org, archives.nypl.org/mus/20417. Accessed 2021. 

Related Information

Songs

Videos

Recordings

Blues Dialogues: Music by Black Composers

(David N. Baker, Noel Da Costa, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, William Grant Still and Clarence Cameron White)

2018

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: A Celebration

(Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)

2005

Sheet Music

Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, Compiled by Willis C. Patterson

Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, Cecil Cohen, Noel de Costa, Mark Fax, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Eugene Hancock, Thomas Kerr, Jr., Charles Lloyd, Jr., Wendell Logan, Maurice McCall, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Smith Moore, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Florence Price, Hale Smith, William Grant Still, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Olly Wilson, John Work, Jr.

Song(s): For You There is No Song (H. Leslie Adams)
Early in the Mornin' (David Baker)
A Good Assassination Should Be Quiet (David Baker)
Status Symbol (David Baker)
Three Dream Portraits: Minstrel Man; Dream Variations; I, Too (Margaret Bonds)
The Barrier (Charles Brown)
Song Without Words (Charles Brown)
Death of an Old Seaman (Cecil Cohen)
Two Songs for Julie Ju (Noel da Costa)
Cassandra's Lullaby (Mark Fax)
Love (Mark Fax)
A Charm at Parting (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
I Loved You (Adolphus C. Hailstork)
Absalom (Eugene Hancock)
Nunc Dimittis (Eugene Hancock)
Riding to Town (Thomas Kerr, Jr.)
Compensation (Charles Lloyd, Jr.)
If There Be Sorrow (Wendell Logan)
Marrow of My Bone (Wendell Logan)
Chanson Triste (Maurice McCall)
Sweet Sorrow (Maurice McCall)
Weary Blues (Dorothy Rudd Moore)
Love Let the Wind Cry...How I Adore Thee (Undine Moore)
Faithful One (Robert Owens)
Genius Child (Robert Owens)
A Child's Grace (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
Melancholy (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
Night (Florence Price)
Song to the Dark Virgin (Florence Price)
Velvet Shoes (Hale Smith)
Grief (William Grant Still)
A Death Song (Howard Swanson)
I Will Lie Down in Autumn (Howard Swanson)
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Howard Swanson)
Lament (George Walker)
A Red, Red Rose (George Walker)
Wry Fragments (Olly Wilson)
Dancing in the Sun (John Work, Jr.)
Soliloquy (John Work, Jr.)

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An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs - 60 Songs

Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David N. Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, H. T. Burleigh, Valerie Capers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Arthur Cunningham, Harriette Davison Watkins, William Dawson, Mark Fax, Bruce Forsythe, Antônio Carlos Gomes, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline Hairston, Maud Cuney Hare, Jeraldine Herbison, Jonathan Holland, Sylvia Hollifield, Langston Hughes, J. Rosamond Johnson, Thomas Kerr, Lena McLin, Undine Smith Moore, Andre Myers, Camille Nickerson, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Eurydice Osterman, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Zenobia Powell Perry, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, Dave Ragland, Nadine Shanti, Carlos Simon, Hale Smith, Irene Britton Smith, Brandon Spencer, Hilbert Stewart, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Aurelia Young

Song(s): Amazing Grace (H. Leslie Adams)
Christmas Lullaby (H. Leslie Adams)
Sence You Went Away (H. Leslie Adams)
The Heart of a Woman (H. Leslie Adams)
The Alarm Clock (David N. Baker)
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Margaret Bonds)
Caring (Charles Brown)
Desire (Charles Brown)
Your Eyes So Deep (H. T. Burleigh)
Your Lips Are Wine (H. T. Burleigh)
Autumn (Valerie Capers)
Elëanore (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
The Willow Song (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
Minakesh (Arthur Cunningham)
Stars (Harriette Davison Watkins)
Out in the Fields (William Dawson)
The Refused (Mark Fax)
With Rue My Heart Is Laden (Bruce Forsythe)
Suspiro d’alma (Antônio Carlos Gomes)
If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking (Adolphus Hailstork)
Longing (Adolphus Hailstork)
Loveliest of Trees (Adolphus Hailstork)
Dormi, Jesu (Jacqueline Hairston)
Gardé Piti Mulet Là (Maud Cuney Hare)
I’ll Not Forget (Jeraldine Herbison)
Little Elegy (Jonathan Holland)
In Time of Silver Rain (Sylvia Hollifield)
The Founding Fathers (Langston Hughes)
This is My Land (Langston Hughes)
L’il Gal (J. Rosamond Johnson)
Soliloquy (Thomas Kerr)
Amazing Grace (Lena McLin)
The Year’s at the Spring (Lena McLin)
I Am in Doubt (Undine Smith Moore)
I Want to Die While You Love Me (Undine Smith Moore)
For a Poet (Andre Myers)
Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi (Camille Nickerson)
Gué, Gué, Solingaie (Camille Nickerson)
Mshila (Fred Onovwerosuoke)
Entreaty (I Am the Rose of Sharon) (Eurydice Osterman)
Could I but Ride Indefinite (Robert Owens)
Die Nacht (Robert Owens)
From the Dark Tower (Robert Owens)
The Lynching (Robert Owens)
The Secret (Robert Owens)
Madrigal (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
O Children of Men (Zenobia Powell Perry)
I Want to Die While You Love Me (Rosephanye Powell)
Spring (Florence Price)
The Sum (Florence Price)
Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dave Ragland)
Mangez, Boulez (Eat, Drink, Be Merry) (Nadine Shanti)
Prayer (Carlos Simon)
Troubled Woman (Hale Smith)
Why Fades a Dream? (Irene Britton Smith)
Dream Variations (Brandon Spencer)
Spring Song (Hilbert Stewart)
One Day (Howard Swanson)
I Went to Heaven (George Walker)
Norris Swamp (Aurelia Young)

Voice Type: 36 Songs are for High Voice - Medium to High Voice
24 Songs are for Medium - Medium to Low Voice

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