Tag Archive | "Black Musicians"

George Polgreen Bridgetower

George Polgreen Bridgetower

George Polgreen Bridgetower

George Polgreen Bridgetower  was a talented  African violin Prodigy.  Bridgetower was born in Biala, Poland on February 29, 1780.
He was one of the most celebrated black musicians in Europe during the eighteenth and early nineteenth Century.

His father, the African Prince was married to a German woman who is named in English documents as Mary Ann Bridgetown. They had two sons, who both became fine musicians. The younger brother, “Fredrick; ” was a cellist.

In 1789 An African Prince of the name Bridgetower, came to Windsor with a view of introducing his son, a most possessing lad of ten years old, and a fine violin player.

He was commanded by their majesties to perform at the Lodge, where he played a concerto of Viotti’s and a quartet of Haydn’s, whose pupil he was; both father and son pleased greatly. Noted for his talent and modest bearing, the other for his fascinating manner, elegance, expertness in all languages, beauty of person, and taste in dress. He seemed to win the good opinion of every one, and was courted by all.

from: – Court and Private Life in the Times of Queen Charlotte,
Being the Journals of Mrs. Papendiek assistant keeper of the wardrobe and reader to Her Majesty ( vol.4)

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetown. prodigy of the violin, patronized and into the musical establishment of the Prince of Wales at Brighton when he was just ten.In 1802 Bridgetower went to Europe where he was introduced to Beethoven in Vienna, by Prince Lichnowsky (the same Lichnowsky for whom the Pathetique Sonata for Piano is dedicated.)

George played in the Prince’s band at the Royal Pavilion Brighton for 14 years .He is best remembered today for his association with Ludwig van Beethoven who wrote the Kreutzer Sonata for the Afro-European violinist in 1803.

The title folio of Beethoven’s autograph copy of the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op.47, bears the inscription, "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer" reproduction in Joseph Schmidt-Gorg and Hans Schmidt. eds., Ludwig van Beethoven [New York, 1970] p. 140).

Beethoven and George Bridgetower first performed this work in Vienna at the Augarten on May 24, 1803. (The Musical Quarterly vol.,LXVI)Ludwig vanBeethoven, played in the houses of the nobility, in rivalry with other pianists, and performed in public with such visiting virtuosos as violinist George Bridgetower.

The British Library – George Polgreen Bridgetower

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BBC Drama to Feature Black Band in 1930s Britain

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Dancing On The Edge is an explosive new drama series for BBC Two set in the early 1930s following a black jazz band in London during times of extraordinary change.
Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff (The Lost Prince, Shooting The Past), the five-part series follows the Louis Lester Band as they find fame amongst the parties and performances of upper class society in the capital. Initially shocked by black musicians performing in polite society, many recoil, but London’s progressive socialites take the band under their wing.
When the band’s manager Wesley becomes too demanding to the hotel in which the band performs he is deported, forcing the rest to move on without him. The musicians play for the Prince of Wales who elevates their status to the heights of early pop fame. But they become entangled in the shadowy world of socialites, which results in the suspected murder of the band’s singer Jessie. The walls begin to close in on Louis and the other members until they realise that escape from England may be their only chance for safety.

If you love learning about music history, you may be interested in courses from online universities.

Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, says: “Stephen Poliakoff is a great distinctive talent and I’m thrilled to have his first long-form drama on BBC Two. In Dancing On The Edge I think you will see a very different voice from Stephen and I am delighted to be able to add this remarkable piece to the new dramas on the channel in 2012.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Following the huge success of The Shadow Line where every episode consolidated with over two million viewers, the channel will continue its commitment to original British drama in 2012. I am thrilled to welcome Stephen Poliakoff back to BBC Two with the first series ever he has both written and directed for television.”

Produced by Nicky Kentish Barnes (You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger, About A Boy) and executive produced by Alison Owen (Case Histories, Toast), and Paul Trijbits (Toast, Five Minutes Of Heaven). Dancing on the Edge is a Ruby Film and Television production, commissioned by Ben Stephenson, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning and Janice Hadlow, Controller BBC Two.

This is a five-part series with a 90-minute opening episode, expected to begin shooting in October 2011. The production is currently casting. Dancing On The Edge will join a raft of new drama series on BBC Two in 2012, including Paula Milne’s White Heat, Jed Mercurio’s Line Of Duty, Sir Tom Stoppard’s Parade’s End and Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake, as well as a major new cycle of Shakespeare’s four most acclaimed historical works as part of a season based on the Bard’s life and works.

Scheduled to air next year on BBC Two.

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Samuel Coleridge Taylor – Composer

Coleridge Taylor

Coleridge Taylor


Samuel Coleridge Taylor, not to be mistaken with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was, at the turn of the last Century one of Britain’s most outstanding Composers. Samuel Coleridge Taylor, not to be mistaken with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the writer, is today almost completely forgotten. However, he was, at the turn of the Century one of Britain’s most outstanding Composers.

His parents were African and English and Samuel was born in Holborn on August 15 1875. He excelled at the violin but late changed his studies to composition. After he graduated he went on to teach music at Trinity College London and at the Rochester Choral Society.

At the age of 22 he achieved fame by composing his most famous work: Hiawatha’s wedding feast. This piece of music was described by the royal college of music as ‘One of the most remarkable events in English musical history’. He was appointed a professor at the Crystal Palace School of Music and Art, he also conducted the Croydon Conservatory Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony.

He was also actively involved in promoting the cause of black people worldwide. He frequently traveled to America where he held workshops for black musicians and composers.

Related Links

Samuel Coleridge Taylor
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
BlackMahler.com – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Audio Article

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Evon Brennan – Black, Irish Singer/Songwriter


Evon Brennan

Evon Brennan


Evon Brennan is a singer songwriter from Donegal in Ireland. Now living in London, Evon has firmly established herself on the live circuit. A unique voice…inspired by

her many experiences. None more so than being Black and Irish and raised in a rural setting in Ireland. Her Mother was a Dublin girl.
Her Father a Ghanaian medical student
studying at Dublin University. She has a twin sister and was raised in an orphanage, by nuns. Evon eventually traced this man to Manchester, but unfortunately he had no recollection of the events described by Evon, and asked not to be contacted again.
Of both parents, it is her Mother Evon would most like to find. Having been raised in an orphanage by nuns, Evon has direct experience of being isolated within society, and often wonders what became of her mother, when at a time in Ireland, to give birth to an illegitimate child was bad enough, but to give birth to a black illegitimate child must have been the ultimate outcastable offence.
The first orphanage Evon and her sister were sent to, as babies, was Sisters of Mercy in Ballaghdreen, Western Ireland. The orphanage was demolished several years ago, along with any records that might indicate who placed the sisters there. Evon has very few memories of this first orphanage.
Over the following 10 years Evon and her sister Carol saw very little of life outside the school, occasionally being sent to stay with local families during the school holidays. With one or two exceptions these holiday breaks were not pleasant experiences. Often used as cheap labour the girls came to dread these periods. The families were never checked for their suitability and the girls never listened to when they had grievances. In some cases resulting in serious consequences.
Evon left the home with a blue suitcase and twenty pounds given to her by the Mother Superior. Evon and her sister were sent to Dublin and a place in a hostel organised, along with a cleaning job for Evon and work in a hospital for Carol. In time, Evon started to meet people, started to see and experience a life outside of the convent, eventually joining a band called the Rascals. Evon travelled around Ireland with the band, a time she values for the experience it gave her of not only playing to an audience, and gaining confidence in her abilities, but also the confidence in herself to pursue her dreams.
The musical seed was now sown and Evon soon moved to London. Involving herself at every opportunity with any thing to do with music, absorbing as much as possible from the vast, diverse, multi-cultural  environment she now found herself in. It was this period, in London that Evon became more aware of her African heritage. Discovering a side to herself she had never really looked at. A side that the nuns would only refer to in derogatory terms.
Related Links

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