by Kay

In February we will be celebrating Black History Month. We always create some kind of flyer, poster, slide, advertisement. But have you ever wondered just what some of those images are that we use. Let's take a look at some of the images used in the making of our flyer for Black History Month 2017.

Joseph de Bologne Saint-Georges was born December 25, 1745 on a plantation near Basse-Terre, on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. His father was a nobleman by the name of George de Bologne de Saint-Georges and his mother was Anne Nanon, a black slave and mistress of George. Joseph was educated in France, where his father was a Gentleman of the King's Chamber. Joseph started fencing at the age of 13 and by the age of 17 he became Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
BHM Chevalier_de_Saint-Georges

Because of his fencing, Saint-Georges earned the nickname of "the god of arms." It was also at this time he became a skilled musician and composer. He played the harpsichord and violin, and he composed and conducted. His string quartets were among the first in France and were first performed 1772 and published starting in 1773, when he was became conductor of Le Concert des amateurs.

Not all was rosy for Saint-Georges, three female singers objected to a "mulatto" directing and he fell on hard times. However, he had friends in the Duke of Orléans and England’s George, Prince of Wales. He was friends with the Marquise de Montesson and Queen Marie-Antoinette. What's that saying about "with friends like that?" Maybe Joseph's timing was off because along came the French revolution and things fell apart. He then became the colonel of 1,000 volunteers of color and helped halt some treasonous activity during the French revolution. But, then again, his timing was off and he was imprisoned for 11 months on false charges, before being acquitted. At least he avoided the guillotine. He then returned to music and founded the orchestra of Le Cercle de L'Harmonie in 1797. He died on June 10, 1799.
 
Listen online to his musical compositions.

To read more about This fascinating man, read "Before There was Mozart: The story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George," by Lesa Cline-Ransome and "Monsieur de Saint-George : Virtuoso, Swordsman, Revolutionary, A Legendary Life Rediscovered," by Alain Guede.