Anyango Yarbo-Davenport

CHARELESTON, NC — Coming off an incredible Nashville début presenting a multitude of classical programs, the Colour of Music Festival was enthusiastically received by the Nashville community November 6-9 at locations throughout the metro area including five days of education and community engagement in Nashville Metro School District Schools.

The Festival named its Tennessee Masterworks Series in honor of Mrs. Rosetta Miller Perry for championing the cause of showcasing Black classical talent in her beloved city of Nashville. “Saturday evening was one of the proudest moments of my life—the talent displayed on stage at Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music will be a picture I will never forget,” said Miller Perry. 

Festival Founder and Artistic Director, Lee Pringle, said, “There would be no Colour of Music Nashville event without Mrs. Miller Perry’s tireless efforts calling on friends and business associates to help bring this event to the city where Black music got its footing in North America as noted globally by Fisk University’s Jubilee Singers. I am honored to have her support and Mayor John Cooper’s who introduced the evening acknowledging Sen. Brenda Gilmore and Rep. Harold Love, Jr. as they too worked hard to assist the Festival launch in Nashville.” Pringle added, “The Nashville Convention and Visitor Corporation was first among city officials to embrace us and provide immeasurable support through its multicultural Community Relations division.”  

The Colour of Music Festival is also excited to announce, in addition to its title sponsorship of the 2019 celebration, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) has signed on as the Strategic Partner for the Festival’s return to Nashville in 2020.

“NMAAM is an institution committed to promoting and preserving the legacy of more than 50 genres and sub-genres of Black musical traditions,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, President and CEO of NMAAM. “We felt it was a natural fit to partner with the Colour of Music Festival to further promote our shared mission of celebrating the contributions of Black people to the American soundtrack.”

The National Museum of African American Music is slated to open in Nashville, Tennessee in the summer of 2020. 

2019 Festival highlights included a literary presentation, a symposium on Leontyne Price, and vocal, piano, and organ recitals throughout the four-day event. The all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under the leadership of Anyango Yarbo-Davenport and the Masterworks finale performance  Saturday evening at Ingram Hall were the Festival’s pinnacle as its large orchestra honored those lost during the Middle Passage showcasing John Christopher Wineglass’ momentous Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked (from CASOP: Requiem for Rice, Mvmt I) followed by a tribute to Alex Haley’s Roots, and the Nashville premiere of Jonathan Grimbert-Barre’s Tribal Triple Concerto for String Trio and Orchestra. Other highlights included the Festival’s homage to the late Jessye Norman and Congressman Elijah Cummings. 

The Colour of Music Festival returns home to Charleston, SC to present a new late-winter season January 30-February 1, 2020 with several spotlight performances in salon settings and grand spaces including the historic Edmonston-Alston House and Middleton Place’s architectural jewel, the Middleton Place indoor Pavilion.

Highlights will include the Festival’s all-female chamber orchestra under the direction of violinist, Anyango Yarbo-Davenport. Also débuting is an all-star Colour of Music Festival Octet, an elite group of eight black string instrumentalists performing Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-Flat Major, Op.20.  The festival will conclude with a Masterworks program at the historic Burk High School Performing Arts Center under the baton of Maestro Leslie B. Dunner.  

The Colour of Music Festival is very pleased to return in 2020 and planning is underway to solidify dates and venues. 

Based in Charleston, South Carolina and organized in 2013, the Colour of Music Festival, Inc. presents a diverse classical repertoire of baroque, classical, and 20th century music at the highest of musical standards to diverse audiences throughout the Lowcountry, regionally, and nationally.  The Festival has also presented performances in Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, Houston, TX,  Richmond, VA, Pittsburgh, PA and Nashville, TN.

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