The ‘Black Mozart’ Who Was So Good, Mozart Made Him His Nemesis

painting of  Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Alyssa Guznik
January 25, 2023

Funny how they can easily pronounce Tchaikovsky but have difficulty with Black names. And when it came to Joseph Bologne de Saint Georges, they tried to bury it and not pronounce it at all.

Born of an enslaved Guadalupe woman and her plantation owner, Saint Georges grew up with great privileges. He was educated at prominent schools in France and was a master fencer.

Saint-Georges earned the title of Chevalier when he became one of the first Black colonels in France's history and led Europe’s first all-Black army. It isn't known when he began studying music, but he was an accomplished violinist and wrote countless concertos, symphonies, operas, and sonatas.

Saint-Georges would go on to lead several prominent orchestras and was even employed by Marie Antoinette. He was so prolific that a little-known musician copied his style at the time. That musician was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Joseph Bologne, who was referred to as the "Black Mozart,” was relegated to the shadows. White musical historians tried to bury his talents and accomplishments, but the truth always comes out. Ne crois pas leurs mensonges.

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