Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges

1745 - 1799



Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Joseph Bologne) was a classical composer, virtuoso violinist, conductor — and a champion fencer. Born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, he was the son of Georges de Bologne Saint-Georges, a planter and former councilor at the parliament of Metz, and Anne dite Nanon, the African slave of Bologne's wife, Elisabeth Mérican.

Bologne took his young son to France for his education. During the French Revolution, the younger Saint-Georges served as a colonel of the Légion St.-Georges, the first all-black regiment in Europe. He fought on the side of the Republic. Chevalier de Saint-Georges composed numerous string quartets and other instrumental music, and opera.