Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

Mayor Announces Support for "Colour of Music" Festival

August 9, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner announces support for the Colour of Music Festival debut of Color of Music Festival "Petit" Sept. 12-16, 2018 at the University of Houston with a $25,000 grant.

This five-day festival features black classical artists and scholars from France, Britain, Colombia, the Caribbean and the United States performing organ, piano, vocal, chamber and orchestral works showcasing the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture.

Funding for the grant is provided by City of Houston Hotel Occupancy Taxes, part of which are dedicated to the arts.

“It is a thrill today to celebrate the partnering of Colour of Music Festival and University of Houston to bring to Houston new voices and perspectives in classical music,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “As the most diverse city in the country, we welcome this international festival of the highest caliber as it shines a bring light on the City.”

The principal sponsors of the festival -- University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Katherine G. McGovern College of the Arts -- offer discounts and packages to attend the numerous concerts, with all UH students able to attend for free.

For more information and ticketing visit and

Highlights of the festival include:

  • An all-female COM Festival Virtuosi extends a year-long tribute to opera sensation Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and a major contributor to black classical music advancement, and in honor of her work with composer Samuel Barber, featuring soprano Laquita Mitchell performing Barber’s Hermit Songs (Sept. 12).
  • Opening of the festival’s Masterworks performance features Houston-based Maestro Kirk Smith conducting Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s magnificent orchestra and choral masterpiece The Song of Hiawatha’s Overture and Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast with soloist Rodrick Dixon (Sept. 15).
  • A two-day morning symposium featuring leading experts and musicians will highlight academic perspectives of the cultural contributions of black artists (Sept. 13 & 15).
  • Under the direction of Atlanta’s Morehouse College conductor David E. Morrow, the finale honors black composers of the past and the families and individuals affected by the 2017 Houston floods, featuring Franz Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Houston-based composer John L. Cornelius II’s Judgement for String Orchestra in memory of enslaved Africans who perished during the Middle Passage (Sept. 14).
  • In partnership with the Houston Independent School District, the festival will engage the area’s K-12 school children with in-school programs and free performances.

For more information on the City’s cultural programs, go to or follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook @HoustonMOCA.