Joseph Boulogne, known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was one of the most popular men in 18th century Europe.
Saint-Georges was a champion fencer, military officer, composer, virtuoso violinist and conductor of a leading Paris symphony of the time. He was also black.
His music is often compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s, which is how he became known as the “Black Mozart.”
“The Chevalier, this artist of color, has all the power and panache and aplomb that Parisian society can offer,” he says, “And Mozart is the one who needs his help.”
Despite his vast array of talents, Saint-Georges remains in the shadows of Mozart. “Because of his race, he was unable to marry into his class or have children so his legacy is left to the dustbins of history,” he says.
Listen to an interview with Bill Barclay on Chevalier de Saint-Georges.