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Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Country of origin: Guadeloupe
Birthday: December 25, 1745
Date of death: June 10, 1799

About Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Born in Guadeloupe to a black enslaved mother and white French father, then raised in France, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–99) came to be regarded not just as the finest fencer and swordsman in Europe, but also peerless as a boxer, marksman, ice-skater, huntsman, swimmer and dancer. He was a gendarme du roi for Louis XV, immersed in the heady world of the Palais Royal, seedbed of the Revolution, a prominent abolitionist and commander of the first black regiment in Europe. Amidst all this, Saint-Georges was also at the forefront of French musical life as a leading composer, violinist and conductor, writing works that are the epitome of French style galant. Long side-lined, recent years have seen Saint-Georges’ surviving music finally establishing a place in the repertoire, though much remains little known.

© 2023 Christopher Dingle