Samantha Ege & Castle Of Our Skins | African Tales

SUNDAY 26 MAY - 7:30 PM

Download the concert programme

Undine Smith Moore Soweto for piano trio

Undine Smith Moore (1904–1989) was born in Jarratt, Virginia. The descendant of working-class parents and enslaved grandparents, she grew up subjected to segregation, fully aware of the discriminations around her and the hardships her ancestors endured. Soweto reacts to the horrors of apartheid. If the first two movements are about rage and chaos, the third is about remembrance and catharsis.

Bongani Ndodana Breen Safika: Three Tales of African Migration for piano quintet.

Bongani Ndodana-Breen (b. 1975) is a South African composer from the Xhosa ethnic group. Although his formative years were shaped under apartheid, his musical gifts were nurtured early on. He has since emerged as one of the most important composers in post-liberation South Africa, defying that which the agents of apartheid sought to preclude: the harmonious union of African and Western traditions. Safika depicts Black South Africans’ dispossession, migration, and translocation – ‘Safika’ means ‘we arrived’ in Xhosa and Zulu.

Lavell Blackwell On the Impulse to Move for string quartet

Lavell Blackwell is a composer whose work is performed all over the United States, combining diverse musical influences and techniques. On the Impulse to Move was commissioned by a consortium of 9 organisations in the United States comprising oboists, bass clarinettists and chamber ensembles. It takes inspiration from John Adams and Stevie Wonder, and draws from Blackwell’s experience as a musician, composer and lyricist. Led by Boston-based Winsor Music, the commissioners included Castle of our Skins.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Piano Quintet

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912) was the son of a Sierra Leonean father and English mother, and the face of a changing Britain. Many of his works embraced African continental and diasporic cultures, such as African Dances (1904) for violin and 24 Negro Melodies (1905) for solo piano, all of which inspired generations of African-descended classical practitioners to come. His Piano Quintet was premiered on 9 October 1893 in Croydon in a concert of works by the then 18-year-old composer, who also played the piano part.

Listen to the playlist:

African Tales shines light on classical works by three Black composers from Africa and the Diaspora.

Internationally acclaimed pianist and historian Samantha Ege is joined by the Castle of Our Skins quartet. Together, they perform a varied programme with works for piano quintet and piano trio.

Two powerful compositions by Bongani Ndodana-Breen and Undine Smith Moore respond to the harrowing history of apartheid. The programme closes with the Piano Quintet in G minor by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, an inspirational figure for many worldwide.

“Though many of the pieces will be unfamiliar to the majority of classical music lovers, the themes of fortitude, resistance, and hope will resonate deeply” Samantha Ege


FREE TICKETS FOR 8-25 YEAR OLDS TO SELECTED CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS Through the generous support of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, we are able to offer young people aged 8-25 the fantastic opportunity to experience selected concerts absolutely free.


Before the concert:

The Vibe Lounge: SUSO Strings 6.30pm
The Vibe are a team of passionate musicians from all over Southampton. Our exciting projects aim to reach young people, highlighting the amazing music scene in our city!

Tonight, we shine a light on the incredible works for string orchestra composed by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Talented musicians from SUSO, the University’s Symphony Orchestra, perform ahead of this evening’s African Tales recital.

Book your ticket


About Castle of Our Skins

Castle of our Skins (COOS) is a Boston-based educational series dedicated to celebrating Black artistry through music. From classrooms to concert halls, COOS invites explorations into Black heritage and culture, spotlighting both unsung and celebrated figures of the past and present. Violist Ashleigh Gordon and composer Anthony R. Green founded COOS in 2013 to address the lack of equity in composer representation on concert stages and the omission of important stories and figures in Black history. A decade on, the organisation still shines as a beacon for diversity in the arts.

About Samantha Ege 

Samantha Ege is a musicologist, pianist, and research fellow at the University of Southampton. Her research and repertoire tightly entwine, illuminating 20th-century composers of African descent and women in music. She has published extensively in these areas. As a concert pianist, she made her London debut at the London Festival of American Music in September 2021 and her Barbican debut soon after in November that year. Samantha has since proved a sought-after recitalist and concerto soloist with engagements across the UK, Europe, US, and Canada. Her collaborations with Castle of our Skins represent her first significant engagements as a chamber musician.

Samantha Ege piano, narrator

Castle of our Skins
Gabriela Díaz violin
Matthew Vera violin
Ashleigh Gordon viola
Francesca McNeeley cello


Under 18£10.00