Saturday, February 20, 2021 18th Century Black Renaissance Man Chevalier de Saint-Georges

"Saint-Georges with Violin, watercolor for AfriClassical"
© Copyright 2020 AfriClassical; Artist: Olesia Panaseiko

Black Star News 

February 19, 2021

Joseph de Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges) was born December 25, 1745 on a plantation near Basse-Terre, on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

His mother was Anne Nanon, slave-mistress of his father, the nobleman George de Bologne de Saint-Georges. He was educated in France, where his father became Gentleman of the King’s Chamber.

At 13, he began 6 years at the fencing academy of Nicolas Texier de La Böessière. He excelled at fencing and sports. Joseph was 17 when he became Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges. He was also an Officer of the King’s Guard.

By age 19, Saint-Georges was called “the god of arms.” He suffered only one known defeat in a serious fencing match.

His skill on the harpsichord and violin earned him dedications from major composers, beginning with Antonio Lolli in 1764. He studied with the French composers François-Joseph Gossec and Jean-Marie Leclair, and became first violin, or concertmaster, of Le Concert des amateurs. His string quartets were among the first in France and were performed from 1772 and published from 1773, when he was became conductor of Le Concert des amateurs.

His bid to manage the Paris Opera failed when 3 women objected to working for “a mulatto,” but he then directed the prestigious musical theater of the Marquise de Montesson. He published two symphony concertantes in 1776 and two more in 1778. In 1777 he wrote three violin concertos and six string quartets. 


Dozens of CDs of his music are available, as is a DVD, Le Mozart Noir. 


Source: BlackPast

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