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Great piece for this term by Caribbean composer Joseph Boulogne 'Chevalier de Saint-Georges'

Sinan and I are really looking forward to the autumn term, which starts on Tuesday September 20 at our usual venue (Raines School, Approach Road, Bethnal Green). It will be great to see you again and to welcome new members! As with last year, there will be the option to attend via Zoom if that works best for you. The additional, more advanced technique classes, will also continue to run online on Thursday evenings.

We have chosen some beautiful music to work on this term. One of the pieces is a complete symphony by Joseph Boulogne (also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges ) who lived from 1745 to 1799. Almost an exact contemporary of the most famous composer of the Classical period, Mozart.

Born in the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe, which was then under French rule, he was the child of a plantation owner and his African slave mistress “Nanon”.

After arriving in France with his parents, his talents as both a musician and athlete were soon recognised.

He gained fame as a composer, and as a violinist, with Europe’s top composers writing concertos for him to play. As a conductor he both commissioned and premiered Haydn’s Paris symphonies, and if this wasn’t enough, he also became a champion fencer and a soldier!

However, sadly he was to become the victim of racism, and was fortunate to survive two assassination attempts. Despite this, he continued to be a lead supporter of racial equality in both France and England and was actively involved in the anti-slavery movement.

Until relatively recently, the music of Chevalier de St-Georges lay largely

forgotten, but now his music has been rediscovered and his talents as a

composer rightly acknowledged!

This symphony number 2 in D major is a wonderful, uplifting piece of music, which will be a joy to play.

What else is on the programme for this term? It will be a contrasting piece, the

details of which we are keeping as a surprise!

Susanna and Sinan (Tutors)

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