Tunde Jegede presents Emidy: He Who Dared to Dream

Emidy: He Who Dared To Dream tells the story of a 19th Century African composer who lived in Cornwall and traversed three continents in pursuit of his musical dreams. It is a story of survival, slavery and triumph of a composer and virtuoso violinist in the royal courts of Europe. We are hugely honoured to have this international company bringing this piece to The Lyric for two nights as well as a music masterclass.

It is a tale about one man’s journey to overcome insurmountable odds to become a legend in his time but forgotten in the annals of history. Told through dance, narration, film, theatre and music this show traverses three continents from Africa to South America and Europe and reveals a hidden history. Emidy: He Who Dared To Dream is a symphony of the art-forms and is an innovative contemporary work that draws inspiration from the dialogue between movement, image and music. This daring new work is a collaboration between Tunde Jegede, gifted young dancer and choreographer, Ishimwa Muhimanyi and the visual artist and filmmaker, Sunara Begum.

The story of Joseph Antonio Emidy is an extraordinary one. Aside from him being Britain’s first composer of the African Diaspora, he was also a violinist in the Lisbon Opera House and founder of several Orchestral Philharmonic societies.

Joseph Antonio Emidy was born in Guinea in 1775 and was taken as a slave to Brazil as a consequence of the triangular Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. As a young man he was brought to Portugal where he worked as a virtuoso violinist in the Lisbon Opera before being kidnapped by British Sailors during the Napoleonic wars. He subsequently spent the next four years as a ship’s fiddler under the celebrated Navel Admiral, Captain Pellow before being released at Falmouth in 1799. He spent the next 36 years living and working in Cornwall as a composer, teacher and virtuoso violinist writing chamber works, concertos and symphonies. He was one of the most celebrated and influential musical figures of early 19th century Cornwall, organising concerts and setting up harmonic societies, and he eventually became the leader of the Truro Philharmonic Orchestra. Joseph Antonio Emidy died in Truro on 23rd April 1835 and his tombstone lies in Kenwyn Churchyard. He had married in Cornwall and was survived by five children.

The Emidy team are also running a music workshop on Sunday 2nd July – details here.