Avril Coleridge-Taylor


Avril Coleridge-Taylor was an English pianist, conductor and composer. She was born in South Norwood in London and was the daughter of composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. In 1915, she obtained a scholarship to study composition and piano at Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) with Gordon Jacob and Alec Rowley. Avril served as the first female conductor of the H. M. S. Royal Marines and was a frequent guest conductor for the BBC Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1952, Avril began a tour of South Africa. While she was initially neutral to the apartheid, she was not allowed to work as a composer and conductor in the country when the government learnt of her black heritage.


Image Credit: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, from Stephen Bourne's private collection