The UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts and the Office of the Provost to Host the Colour of Music Festival

Five-day festival will showcase musicians, composers, and classical-music scholars of African descent

Dean Antonio D. Tillis, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Dean Andrew Davis,
of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts are sponsoring this event with the support of
the Office of the Provost Paula Myrick Short.

The University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts and the Office of the Provost are proud to welcome the Colour of Music Festival September 12-16. The “Petit” version of the festival will feature black classical musicians from around the world performing organ, piano, vocal, chamber and orchestral works. Through live concerts and panel discussions, internationally recognized musicians and scholars will showcase the impact of black classical artists on American and world culture.

“I am delighted that the University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences has partnered with the Colour of Music Festival to recognize the talents and contributions by classical artists of African descent,” said Antonio D. Tillis, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. “This event will allow fans of classical music to experience new voices and perspectives and will highlight not only local artists, but also artists from around the world.”

Since 2013, the Colour of Music Festival has brought classically trained black musicians together so that the public can experience the talents of prodigiously gifted composers and performers of African descent. Leading black maestros Kirk Smith and David E. Morrow will serve as guest conductors to lead the Masterwork Series.

We are thrilled to collaborate with Dean Tillis and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to present the Colour of Music Festival,” said Dr. Andrew Davis, dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.

“The festival supports the vision of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts in leveraging music and the arts to make higher education accessible and relevant for the widest possible cross-section of our diverse Houston community. The festival will feature music and artists of the highest caliber in an event unlike any we have seen to date,” said Dr. Davis.

German violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport will lead an all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi in honor of 91-year-old opera sensation Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and a major contributor to black classical music’s advancement. In recognition of Price’s work with composer Samuel Barber, soprano Laquita Mitchell will perform Barber’s Hermit Songs.

The Paris-based Grimbert-Barré Trio, featuring brothers Romuald, Jonathan, and Maxence Grimbert-Barré, will make their Houston debut with Jonathan Grimbert-Barré's Triple Concerto for String Trio and Orchestra. A special program at the University of Houston’s Organ Recital Hall will feature organist Mickey Thomas Terry, tenor Rodrick Dixon and the Colour of Music Chorale performing Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee.

The festival’s opening Masterworks performance on Saturday, September 15, will feature Houston-based maestro Kirk Smith conducting Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s orchestral and choral masterpieces  The Song of Hiawatha’s Overture and  Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Under the direction of Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow on Sunday, September 16, the finale will recognize black composers of the past.

Families and individuals affected by the 2017 Houston floods will be honored with a performance of Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Houston-based composer John L. Cornelius II’s Judgement for String Orchestra will be presented in honor of enslaved Africans who perished during the Middle Passage.

The Colour of Music Festival will kick off with an “Ebony and Ivory Piano Spot Light Performance,” featuring internationally acclaimed pianist Gerard Aimontche on Sunday, September 9.

A two-day morning symposium series on September 13 & 15 at the UH Dudley Recital Hall will feature thought leaders and musicians which will highlight academic perspectives on the cultural contributions of black artists. Topics include “An Ode to Leontyne Price,” “The Legacy of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Revisited,” and a literary presentation on the life and legacy of tenor Roland Hayes. The festival will welcome the area’s K-12 schoolchildren with engaging educational activities.

“We eagerly look forward to reaching new musical heights in the international and culturally diverse city of Houston with talent from around the globe,” said festival founder and artistic director Lee Pringle.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost as part of Provost Paula Myrick Short’s commitment to fostering intellectual diversity and co-curricular collaboration across UH colleges. “Provost Myrick Short is a champion of educational innovation,” said Dean Tillis. “In helping to bring the Colour of Music Festival to the UH campus, the Office of the Provost has further affirmed its dedication to providing unique educational experiences that serve our diverse students and the larger community.”

Tickets and complete details are available online at or contact the Moores School of Music, Dudley Recital Hall at 713-743-3388 or 866-811-4111.