Joseph Bologne

December 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799

Classical Period

Born in France

Joseph Bologne, also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was born in 1739 in Guadeloupe to a former French councilor in the Parlement at Metz and his slave. The family eventually moved to Paris where the young Saint-Georges not only developed his skill as a violinist and composer, but also in fencing! In fact, he was considered to be the best swordsman in Europe during his lifetime.

He studied music with Francois Gossec, and eventually took on his role as Director of the Concert des Amateurs, which was one of the leading orchestras in France. He is most remembered for his symphonies concertantes and other instrumental works.

During the Revolution, Saint-Georges was made Captain of the National Guard of Lille. He also formed and led an all-black regiment. Saint-Georges died in 1799. Unfortunately, he is a lesser-known composer today.